High Rollers

The tides in the Bay of Fundy, the waterway between the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, are the highest in the world, with an estimated 100 billion tons of water rolling in and out of the bay twice daily.

One of the best places to see this phenomenon in action is Hopewell Rocks Park.  These “flowerpot” rocks are tree-topped rocks only partially visible at high tide.  Low tide reveals their delicate, sculpted bases.  During low tide it is possible to actually walk on the revealed sea floor.  As the tide comes in, footprints left on the flats literally disappear before people’s eyes as the water rises six to eight feet per hour.  In some parts of the bay the difference between high and low tide can be as much as 46 feet (14 m).

Whale enthusiasts will appreciate the bay area for the variety of marine mammals attracted to its krill-rich waters during the summer months.  Up to fifteen different species of toothed and baleen whales make their summer home in the waters just outside the bay.  Whale-watching tours depart daily from June to October each year.

For a glimpse into the planetary past, make a trip up the bay to the Joggins Fossil Cliffs.  These sandstone cliffs are rich with 300 million year-old fossils of everything from invertebrates to lizards and the trees of the primordial forest they lived in.  The powerful tides in the Bay of Fundy are constantly eroding the cliffs, constantly revealing more fossils.

No visit to the Bay of Fundy would be complete without seeing the Reversing Falls of St. John.  The St. John River flows into the bay through a series of rapids.  When the bay’s legendary high tide occurs, the flow of sea water forces the river water back up its course, reversing the direction of the falls.