Everyone should go to Hopewell Rocks on the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick to see the highest tides in the world. This is a big deal because the tides can rise as high as 16 m, which is the height of a four-story building. And they do this twice a day, every day. In other parts of the world, tides are usually one metre or less so it is understandable why the ones in the Bay of Fundy are considered to be a Wonder of the World.
Hopewell Rocks is the perfect place to see this phenomenon. When the tide is out you can walk on the ocean floor and wander around reddish rock formations that sort of look like flowerpots with trees perched high on top of them. When you return a few hours later the formations are surrounded by water because the tide has come in. Hopewell Rocks’ nickname is Flowerpot Rocks.
When you walk down to the beach, you’ll pass a big ‘Danger’ sign with two clocks beneath it. One clock gives you the current time and the other gives the time you should leave the beach so as not to be stranded as the tide moves in. You can also check the tide tables online. You can literally watch the tide rise at a rate of between 1.5 to 2 metres (4-6 feet) per hour.
When I first visited, many years ago, we were able to park very close to the stairs going down to the beach but they have since built an excellent Interpretive Centre and the walk is a little further although a shuttle service is available for a nominal fee. Do stop in at the Centre and learn how the gravitational pull of the sun and moon affect tides.
If you plan your visit sometime between mid-July and mid-August you will probably see another world wonder because that’s when hundreds of thousands of shorebirds stop here on their migration from their summer breeding grounds in the Arctic to their winter home in South America. The birds are on a 4,000 km trip and the Bay of Fundy is the only stopover and Hopewell Rocks is one of the best places to see them. They like it here because there are very nutritious mud shrimps. In the time that it takes you to watch the tides comes in and out, one of those little birds will have eaten as many as 20,000 of those shrimps.
Hopewell Rocks is in The Rocks Provincial Park, off Highway 114, 38 km south of Moncton.
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By Sylvia Fanjoy
Photo credits Sylvia Fanjoy
© Riding the buses 2015