Friday, May 18, 2012
Primal Wilderness Rambling From Fundy Bay
The Bay of Fundy is out on the Atlantic Coast, nestled between the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. It has the greatest tidal range in the world. At times, the difference between low and high tide can be over fifty feet. Twice a day, billions of tonnes of water flow in and out of the bay. The topography of the ocean floor, the shape of the bay, the currents of the ocean, and the gravitational effect of the Moon all influence the extreme tidal range in the bay.
At high tide, rivers emptying into the bay have their flow reversed, most particularly the Saint John River, where a spot called the Reversing Falls becomes a foaming rapid twice each day, offering whitewater kayakers a formidable challenge.
The rocks are submerged by water at high tide, up to a point (you can see where the high-water marks are at low tide). How high the water gets depends on the time of year. At low tide, you can go down to the bottom, then walk among the rocks and along the beaches. Just as long as you keep in mind that the tide will be coming back in. Otherwise you may have yourself a rough day.
The beaches are a lovely spot, so there were couples down there walking hand in hand on the warm summer day. If you’re looking for an offbeat-but-nice romantic stroll setting for characters in a book, this is it. Trust me. On my second visit, it was a cooler, overcast day in the fall, so the walk down on the flats had a more sentimental and foreboding feel.
To this day, I’m surprised that my father never mentioned leaving. He's normally one for getting back on the road during a trip. Spending more than six hours watching the tide didn’t seem like the sort of thing he’d be interested in doing. Still, there wasn’t a word of impatience out of him while we were there. Instead, he found the place just as fascinating as I did. On the second trip, my friends and I stayed to watch the progression from low to high tide. Of the five of us, two had been there before.
William Kendall is a writer, photographer and rock climber from the Ottawa Valley. When he's not working on his world domination scheme (no golfers allowed), he can be found writing the forthcoming Heaven & Hell, plus his personal blog Speak Of The Devil.