Thursday, August 02, 2007

How to 'see' the tides - 2nd way

Here's another way to 'see' the tides...

2) Horizontal Tidal Effect - this phenomenon occurs in many locations in the upper part of the Bay of Fundy but you need to allow 6 hours to appreciate it. Basically, it involves going to the same beach at both high and low tide to see the difference. If you are accustomed to the 1-6 foot tides in the rest of the world, this may not sound very impressive. However, with the volume of water we have moving in & out of the Bay (100 billion tonnes each tide, 50 ft tides) the horizontal effect can be a truly an amazing sight!

At low tide a vast expanse of the ocean floor is exposed. In the upper part of the Bay the tide can be a few miles away from where it was at high tide. And, of course, there is nothing like sea kayaking at high tide over where you were previously walking at low (see links).

Here are a few of my favourite places to explore the horizontal effect:
In New Brunswick...

  • St Martins - eat 'world's best chowder' at the waterfront restaurant, explore the ocean floor and sea caves at low tide. Seakayaking available. You can also get out onto the beach at the Fundy Trail or at least see the intertidal zone from its various accessible lookoffs.
  • Alma - explore the intertidal zone (that's what we call the exposed ocean floor) carefully on your own or take in a program there at Fundy National Park. Sea kayaking.
  • Hopewell Rocks - the Rocks (as we locals call 'em) are probably the most photographed image of the Bay of Fundy. There is a great interp centre here as well as many acccessible lookoffs and, of course, access to the ocean floor and the famous 'flower pot' sea stacks. Seakayaking here too.
On the Nova Scotia side of the bay...
  • Joggins - one of the coolest things about low tide at Joggins is the exposure of a vast expanse of fossils and geological reefs. Previous blog readers may remember me mentioning that the Joggins Fossil Cliffs will soon receive UNESCO world heritage site status. There is a fabulous new interpretive centre under construction there - should be open this fall. There is still beach access there now but it kinda helps to be with staff so you know what you are looking at! Kayaking in nearby Advocate.
  • Five Islands - the stretch of Route 2 from the village of Economy, through Five Islands then to Parrsboro is one of the best places to see the vast intertidal zone. Here both Five Islands Provincial Park and Two Islands (near Parrsboro) are not surrounded by water at low tide. Recent readers will recall me mentioning the 'new' Not Since Moses' running event around the Five Islands at low tide. Don't try this without a guide!
  • Grand Pre - One of the most easily accessible Bay beaches Evangeline Beach near Grand Pre, Nova Scotia. Grand Pre is the village near Wolfville. The nice thing about visiting Grand Pre is that during the 6 hr interval there is lots to do in the area. There is a national historic site in the village of Grand Pre itself - recalling the history of the Acadians (our French settlers who were expelled in the 1780s). This is also Nova Scotia wine country; there are several wineries in the area - one , the Grand Pre Winery, right in Grand Pre.
(added photo on Aug 10 - Five Islands at low tide)


Pelipper said...

I discovered your blog shortly before my husband and I went to Nova Scotia for two weeks last September, and you helped us with one of our questions which was how to experience the Bay of Fundy tides.

We followed your suggestions and saw the 'horizontal effect' at Evangeline Beach in Grand Pre and the 'vertical effect' at Hall's Harbour. Who would've thought that tides could be so cool???

I have some photos and descriptions posted online:

I enjoy your blog! I'm still reading it, even though our trip was several months ago. Nova Scotia, and the Bay of Fundy area in particular, is really beautiful. I hope to visit again soon!

Terri said...

Hey that's great, Pam... I am so glad that the info was helpful. Now that you've been here you can probably appreciate that the whole tide 'thing' is difficult to describe for those of us who see it every day. I'm delighted that you had a good vacation and that you've caught the Fundy 'bug' and are still as enchanted by the bay as we are!!