Original story posted on Travel Martimes, September 2016.
Do you consider yourself an adrenaline junkie? Would you sit in a dinghy on a river that looks like chocolate milk while 30 km/h waves come rushing towards you? What if I told you the river basin held the world’s largest recorded tides? Would you crash through them and sail on the tips of the tidal bore as you float into shore, or pee your pants? For as little as an hour’s drive from Nova Scotia’s capital, you can marvel at one of the 7 Wonders of North America; here lies the Shubenacadie River and the mouth of the Bay of Fundy.
The Bay is located halfway between the equator and the North Pole and is one of the most beautiful coastal areas in the province. The tidal bore reflects the patterns of the moon, the day I tackled them with Fundy Tidal Bore Adventures, it was a full moon, meaning the waves were extreme and packed even more rock and roll!
The water from the Bay gets funnelled into the Shubenacadie River creating a surge of water. The front of this surge is called the tidal bore; there’s nowhere else like it. Once the tidal bore has passed, the chestnut river switches directions and starts rushing towards land at a speed of nearly 30 km/h! That’s where the fun begins.
When the water levels rose, our guide took us up towards the mouth of the river where we were cradled between high red clay and slate cliffs and dropped us alongside a mud flat where spontaneous mud fights erupted in the squishy, butter-like clay! Some people pay for mud spa services, here you get it included!
We washed off in the muddy water (a but redundant but nonetheless), and headed towards a sand bar where our feet touched land for the last time. Our guides scoped out the waves with their expert eyes waiting for the surge. I was scanning around trying to find what this tidal bore looked like, surely 56 feet of waves would come roaring in! All I could see was this tiny ripple on the horizon, coming around the bend of the sandbar.
Just then, our guide tells us to jump quickly back into the boat; the waves are coming. Within minutes, the sandbar had submerged. Just as fast as the waves had come in, my adrenaline was on full alert. Bring on the tides.
Gripping onto the ropes of the boat, we cruised down the water like maniac thrill-seekers, hunting out the waves. The water doubled and tripled in size; If you’re not paying attention, you’d get a mouthful of salty water when the waves break onto the dinghy.
Your body tenses as you brace for the next round of sparring. It feels like an hour of never-ending nautical thrill hills! As a child of the ocean, I was in my element. I felt so alive; the power of Mother Nature is unrivalled. Seabirds and eagles soaring overhead, it was the perfect day. We conquered the mighty bore.
Watch my GoPro video of getting thrashed by the waves!
Have you heard of the Bay of Fundy before? Is this something you’d be interested in doing? Post your thoughts in the comments below!
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