Monday, October 3, 2011

The Dramatic Highs & Lows of the Bay of Fundy


I try to write about geographical locations I have visited and the Bay of Fundy is one of the best. On the coast of Maine, and north to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia in Canada, lies the Bay of Fundy and the highest tides in the world. The further in the bay goes, the higher the tide. It works like a bottle with the Atlantic ocean filling up the bottle from the southern wider end. Maine's coast and the coasts bordering the bay all have higher tides with the points furthest north reaching highs and lows of just under fifty feet.

The Bay of Fundy is one of the twenty eight finalists in the search for the New Seven Wonders of the World. This initiative ends November 2011.

The Fundy tides also produce a few other unusual sites due to the geological characteristics of the area.

First, The Saint John River sees its flow reversed at high tide, causing a series of rapids at the famous Reversing Falls. I'd show you video of that but unless you're familiar with the natural flow of the river, the opposite effect of the tide flooding in and reversing it is a little pointless. Besides the falls are actually underwater so a photo showing the surface is also pointless. The Saint John River Valley is beautiful however.


I could do a post just on the valley...Oh Saint John River, you are a plethora of beautiful sites and kitchy anthropomorphized potato sculptures marking roadside vegetable markets.


Second, Rivers in the upper Bay of Fundy have a smaller flow-rate than the Saint John, and a shallower slope. As a result, extensive mud flats are deposited throughout the tidal range of the rivers.

Many of the cities have rivers flowing through them and at low tide they are criss crossed with tiny chocolate brown streams flowing through a chocolate mud landscape. In Moncton, NB it gets pretty surreal.

Third and a pretty dramatic phenomenon which occurs in the rivers of the upper bay is a "tidal bore", where a wave front of water "bores" its way up a river against its normal flow.



This looks like a wave, but it is not. It is the incoming tide. Most tides gently swell in and ebb out but this is a foot of water, or more, relentlessly flooding inland without cresting. Naturally the narrower the channel, the more dramatic the bore. It is just a little awesome to witness.

Hopewell Cape is a group of flowerpot islands formed by the tidal action in the Bay. It's at this point that tides are reaching around forty-five feet. This is a still of Hopewell Cape, video follows.




Boat owners get accustomed to having their vessels sitting on their keels on the river bed at low tide. Docks are built to accommodate the rise and fall of the water.





Next up...Deer Island and the Old Sow

4 comments:

Heidi said...

That was cool. I like seeing stuff like that.

dirtydisher said...

But, have you ever been to Toad Holler? It's 3 miles from my house. They have a gas station.

iambriezy said...

That was way cool!

Tonya said...

Fucking Canada is the preening peacock hat sitting on the USA. Tone it down, Canada!!!

You wanna impress me? Find me a fucking slum.