Reversing Falls at the Bay of Fundy

Filed in Gather Travel Essential by on October 14, 2011 0 Comments

Autumn came dancing through Canadian Woods

Paintbrush and palette in hand.

High on a ridge overlooking the Bay of Fundy,

She painted American Mountain ash berries red.
























Down a pathway to the Reversing Falls

She painted sugar maples a yellow orangy hue





Riding a tidal bore up the St. John river

She created whirlpools of white foam and grey.










Last week, Magi and I went on a seven day road trip with his brother Hans (from England) and his sister Alida and her mate Peter from Perth. One of the highlights of the trip was seeing the highest tides in the world at the Bay of Fundy. Over the course of twenty-four hours, we watched the tide ebb and flow.

Located in Canada, between the provinces of Nova Scotia and Brunswick, sits the Bay of Fundy, home to the world largest tidal variations. While the earth’s average hight variation in sea level from tides is three feet, the water level near Wolfville, in Nova Scotia’s Minas Basin can be as much as 53 feet (16 meters) higher than at low tide.

Tides along the Atlantic coast are basically semi-diurnal, meaning there are two significant high tides every 24 hours. Along the Atlantic coast side of Nova Scotia Atlantic coast, outside of the Bay of Fundy, the tidal range is from four to eight feet (1½-2½meters) and without much variation in the time of the high and low tides.

So, why is there such a large variation in the tide inside of the Bay of Fundy verses outside? It is because of the funnel shape and depth of the bay…and a little physics.

Liquid in a tank, or in this case a basin, will flow back and forth in a characteristic “oscillation” period and, if conditions are right, will rhythmically slosh back and forth. In essence, a standing wave develops. The natural period of oscillation in the Bay of Fundy is approximately 12 hours which is about the same length of time for one tidal oscillation (a high/low tide cycle). This coinciding of the tide cycle and the oscillation period of the bay result in the much larger tidal ranges observed in the bay verse what occurs outside of the bay.

The huge volume of tidal water flowing through of the bay fours times daily has created some unique features such as the “Old Sow” whirlpool (the largest whirlpool in the Western Hemisphere), the “Reversing Falls” (series of rapids on the Saint John River that reverse direction with each flood and ebb tide) and the Hopewell Rocks (rocky islands at high tide and a place where you can walk the beach and explore these formations along with the many caves cut into the cliff walls at low tide).”

From National Weather Service.

Photos by Magi and Bob.

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I am a child of the light, seeking truth beyond the horizon. I came of age during the late 60's and through my wanderings and explorations I discovered great truths about how I wanted to live my life. At the break of day, despite the wrinkles and liver s

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