Tuesday, July 31, 2007

How to 'see' the tides - 1 way

Speaking of questions from folks, this is probably the question Bay of Fundy-ites get asked the most: "Where can I go to 'see' the tides?". The answer to this question is more complicated than you may think. Over the next few days I will give you my best four answers to this single question.

1) Tidal Bore - even if you've never been here before, you'll probably have some pre-awarenss of the phenomenon known as the tidal bore: outflowing rivers flowing back upstream as the tide comes in. Folks who have never been to Fundy before tend to take our 50 foot tide measurement and combine it with the bore concept - then end up thinking that we have a 50 foot (think: tsunami!!) bore twice a day, which we do not. The actual rapids of a tidal bore range between about 10 to 12 feet which is still pretty cool.

Many rivers in the upper part of the Bay have tidal bores but, unless you're a local, you may have trouble finding them. Visitors usually like to visit those with some interpretation. Most of these are on the Nova Scotia side of the bay. I'd suggest:
1) the Maccan River about 10 minutes from Amherst where there are interpretive panels,
2) the tidal bore in Truro just out by the Palliser restaurant
2)the South Maitland Tidal Bore Lookoff where there is an interpretation centre and some panels.

Note that the bore time does not match either the high or low tide times listed on the tide chart for that community. The bore time varies depending on where you're perched to view it from the riverbank.

Personally, I think the best way to experience this tidal change is to go white water rafting in it...it's interesting to watch from the shore but it is hugely fun to raft in. If this is your kinda thing there are two companies I can recommend - I've gone with both: Shubenacadie River Runners and Shubenacadie Tidal Bore Rafting Park. They are located in the village of Maitland about 40 min from Hfx airport in the opposite direction from Halifax. so that'a about 1.5 hr from Halifax.

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