We went to sleep last night knowing that we didn’t have to get up for ANYTHING today, so we slept in. Bob made us our usual Sunday breakfast of eggs and we made plans to go to Maitland today. Maitland/East Hants is the home of the world’s highest recorded tides.
We are getting to be quite the Tidal Bore groupies.
This would be the third tidal bore that we’ve witnessed and each one so far is so different. We’ve determined that the shape of the river banks and how deep it is really changes the makeup of the bore. We find it very fascinating. So we left about 10:30 to check out this one. The tidal bore at Maitland is on the Shubenacadie River which is the largest river in Nova Scotia and flows from the Bay of Fundy south to Halifax on the Atlantic Ocean–about 145 miles. We arrived in plenty of time to see it. In fact, we were way early because Bob had the tide times for yesterday instead of today. That was all right. We got to soak up all the beauty of the area and the size of this river.
We visited with the others who came to watch. We also got to check out the tourists who would be riding the rapids today on the tidal bore with the rafting company next door. About 77 tourists arrived by bus at the Shubenacadie River Runners operation next door to where we were. We watched as they brought the Zodiac boats to the water along a planked walkway.
There were 11 boats that would be doing the “three hour tour” down the river following the tidal bore and running the rapids that follow it.
The tourists finally headed down to the boats about 15 minutes before the tidal bore was to arrive, donned in rainsuits and boots for the wet ride.
When we could see evidence of the tidal bore moving toward us, they started heading out in their boats to the middle of the river and waited.
The tidal bore today was not very impressive due to the sheer size of the river here. We were near the mouth of the river, not far from the Bay of Fundy, and it was very wide with lots of mud flats. This caused the bore to weave in and out of the flats and not make a very distinctive wave. Oh well…..at least we had some entertainment with the tourists. We decided to leave there and go to the other viewing area in South Maitland, about 10 miles back towards our campground. The river was narrower at that particular spot and we might have a more distinctive bore there. The tidal bore time for the S. Maitland spot was 50 minutes later so we would have plenty of time to get there. We got to our second location with about 15 minutes to spare and joined many other people on the platform viewing area, overlooking the river.
We were standing on this metal bridge to watch the bore come down the river.
The tidal bore was a little late today, so there were some high school volunteers who were there to make our time go faster. They provided information about the area, the bore itself, pointed out eagle nest and eagles flying overhead, and answered questions. We found out that “bore” is Norse for “wave” and that Nova Scotia has the highest concentration of eagles in the world. From our vantage point above the river, we could see lots of people across the way doing the “mud slide”.
They would pour some water down the muddy hillside, get a running start, and slide on their butts down the hill. They were full of dark brown mud by the time they hit the water below. It looked like a blast! Time went by quickly and it wasn’t long before the bore appeared. It started out as a small wave far off in the distance, but by the time it got to us it was just lots of rushing water.
When the swimmers down below us, heard that the bore was coming, they all sat in the water in one of the branches of the river, waiting for the wave to arrive.
The volunteers told us to pick out a landmark in the river or along the shore and watch to see how long it took for the water to completely submerge it. I did that with this mud flat down the river a bit. It was completely covered in less than 10 minutes.
That was the before picture and this is the after picture of the same area.
The water was moving very quickly and the longer we waited the faster it moved.
You can tell by how much water is moving past these bridge abutments. Before the bore, there was no movement at all. After about 15 minutes, those boats that we had seen up in Maitland were coming down the river too. They followed the tidal bore and rode the rapids that came after it.
As they passed below us and waved, I couldn’t help but notice how many of them were wet. Must have been a fun ride.
Among all the boats was someone in a canoe who was trying to ride the rapids as well. I hope someone is going to pick him up at the end. It would be a heck of a hard paddle back upstream!
After we watched all the boats come past us, we went over to watch the people that were sliding down the hill on the mud.
We drove over to the other side and watched a few guys pour water down the groove in the mud. Then they would run and slide down the hill. It was a little slippery trying to climb back up, but hey were having a great time!
By this time the river was really running swiftly.
We drove back to our camp at 3:30 and relaxed after a long day chasing the tidal bore. I’m sure it won’t be our last! We had some time to discuss our plans for the next few days and program the GPS for our drive tomorrow. Bob decided to wash the truck in the shade while he had the chance and we had cocktails before dinner. A lot of the campground was empty now as the weekenders had all gone home. It will be a nice, quiet evening and hopefully we’ll try to check out the stars again tonight…..if we can stay awake that long.