Day 40 – Canada: Tides and Chocolates

Tuesday, July 14, 2009 – Day 40

Bay of Fundy Tidal Bores – the River’s Reversing Tides
As we had parked at the exact spot where the Truro tidal bores occur (across the street from a motel) we only had to wake up around 5:10 in the morning and walk out of our RV. Tidal Bores are when rivers which empty into the Bay of Fundy (where tides can reach 45 feet from low to high tide) change direction.

Rivers which empty into the Bay of Fundy will change direction at one moment in time when the tides change. We were told that this tide reversal for the particular day we were here would be around 5:27 am but that we should be prepared as it can vary by 10 minutes. These tidal bores occur 2 times per day and will vary depending on the tide times. While our 6 and 1 year old slept in the RV next to us, our four older children, my wife and I all prepared ourselves for this interesting phenomena. It happened fairly quickly. As we looked up the river we saw a ripple traveling upstream. It moved steadily up the river like a small wave. Within a minute this wave traveled up the river and around the bend beyond where we could see. That was about it. We headed back to our RV and just before driving off 30 minutes later the water level on the banks of the river had risen over 10 feet.
We were at a loss to find a place to look at the tides of the Bay of Fundy. We had thought to go to Fundy National Park in New Brunswick partly because of its name but after doing a little bit of research online, we found the place we wanted to go to. Only a few hours away was Hopewell Rocks. We did not realize this but we were only 10 minutes away from this location on day 28 of our trip when we went cave exploring with Baymount Outdoor Adventures. Had I known, I definitely would have visited then.

Hopewell Rocks
We arrived at Hopewell Rocks as the tide was going out. The best thing about this location was that we could not only see the drastic change in the tides, but we could also see the way these 45 foot tides carve into the sandstone cliffs of this coastline. The cliffs along this shore have been carved by these strong tides over thousands of years. As a result the cliffs are carved so that pillars stand alone on the beach in contorted shapes. The top halves are larger than the bottom half which is carved by the tides creating diamond shaped pillars that stand on the beach. Trees top many of these pillars giving them a rather hairy look. We spent hours roaming along the beach at low tide before it rose up and covered the beach we were walking along. We also searched out the pillars that looked like ET, a dinosaur, anteater and baby elephant. It added to the fun for the kids and got them to explore more of the coastline than I thought they would have otherwise seen. At high tide Baymount Outdoor Adventures conducts kayaking trips which circle around these rocky pillars. If we had the time I would have loved to kayak along this beautiful coastline.

Alma, New Brunswick
We drove through Fundy National Park and continued on to where we could have a lobster lunch in the fishing village of Alma, New Brunswick. It was a quaint little town where we could see the fishing boats at the bottom seabed along the docks of the bay. If you cannot stay for 6 hours to see both the low and high tide, visit during low tide. It is amazing to see how far out the tides actually go in this shallow harbour. There were plenty of choices for lobster lunches. At the wharf one could buy just lobsters or one could buy a meal at one of the many restaurants that lined the short streets of this town. We decided to have a sit down meal of fish, chips and lobster and were pleasantly surprised by the delicious feast we enjoyed. It was a simple little restaurant attached to a grocery store but the food was great.

St. Stephen’s Chocolate Museum
We had a limited amount of time to get to St. Stephen which was a few hours away and so we had to move on before the Chocolate Museum we wanted to visit closed at 7pm. It was a few hours away at the edge of New Brunswick, our last stop before crossing the river into the United States. We arrived with about 30 minutes to spare. The museum gave us a look at the over 100 year history of a family business that has helped develop the chocolate business in Canada. There were a number of interactive displays that kept the kids busy. They were able to time themselves on what it is like to package a box of chocolates and watch a video on the history of the rare hand dippers who train for 2 years on the art of hand dipping chocolate. Perhaps the kids’ favorite part was the chocolates that were located on trays throughout the exhibit. It was an all you can each chocolate extravaganza… and we ate probably more than we should have.

Goodbye Canada
It finally came time to say goodbye to Canada for a time. We spent 40 days exploring this wonderful country from Coast to Coast and it was a special treat for our family to see the various peoples and places that make this country the great place it is. The most common question we have receive is “What was your favorite place.” As you can see we have had many highlights and favorites. Perhaps the most unique part to our trip was the people we encountered along the way. While the landscapes, accents and landmarks changed from place to place we found a common friendship and friendliness wherever we went. It was a dream come true for us to visit our country and an opportunity for us to see places that we would like to visit again and explore a bit more in depth one place at a time.

The next 25 days will be devoted to places many Canadians can easily visit. Our return trip through the Northern and Central United States will bring us back home to Victoria, BC.

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