Bay of Fundy – St. Johns, New Brunswick

Location of the Bay of Fundy

A number of years ago on one of our trips out west while visiting our glorious national parks, my wife and I were fortunate enough to meet some very nice folks.  Since that time we’ve traveled with them on numerous occasions.  On the week of Oct 14, 2012, we all decided to take a cruise out of Boston, Massachusetts.  Its ports of call included Portland and Bar Harbor Maine, St. Johns New Brunswick, and Halifax Nova Scotia.  Since we were very close to peak foliage, these stops did make for a great backdrop for photographing.

During the stop in St. Johns, my wife had surprised me and had planned a photo excursion for me with a professional photographer.  He brought us to photograph numerous areas in St. John’s, one of which included the Bay of Fundy.  The Bay of Fundy is a bay on the Atlantic coast, on the northeast end of the Gulf of Maine between the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.  The Bay of Fundy is noted for having the highest tidal ranges in the world.  Tides can rise up to, and surpass, 40-50 feet.  Living in Rhode Island, we do experience tide changes daily, and even moon tide changes, which offer higher than normal tides; however, nothing like what occurs in the Bay of Fundy.  As a matter fact, I noted numerous areas where lobstering and fishing boats were lying on their sides because the docks that they were fastened to were not high (or tall) enough to accommodate the tide change.  When the tide went out, the boats would be leaning or lying on their side on the sea floor.  As the tide came in, the boats would begin to right themselves and float upright against the dock, ready to go to work.

The interesting thing is there are various areas throughout this coast where this bay touches, and where you can experience this tidal phenomenon.  Obviously, it would require a return visit during the same day to truly appreciate the differences between the tide levels.  Areas like Hopewell Rocks (the location of the famous formation “flower pot rocks”) or an area on the St. Johns River where you can visit the famous “reversing tides”.  On this excursion we were fortunate enough to visit these reversing falls.  We arrived early to observe the falls in action.  They were churning, cascading, rapidly rushing in the direction of the Bay as the tide was outgoing.  When we returned later that morning, the tide was beginning to change direction and we witnessed the water had almost stopped.  Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to see it reverse its direction fully, but I’m told that when it does, it can impact the river and its inlets 78 miles upstream.  A real tribute to the power of nature.