The Bay of Fundy is home to the rare tidal bore phenomena, where tides overpower the stream of outflowing rivers. Twice a day, at high tide, a large volume of water floods from the Bay of Fundy into the rivers that feed it. The narrow river banks compress the rising waters in a spectacular surge and a visible standing wave, sometimes 1 meter (3 ft) in height! As the roaring and swirling water races upstream at speeds close to 15 km per hour (10 mph) it generates rapids in its wake that are between 3 and 3.5 meters (10-12 ft) high.
The majority of rivers flowing directly into the upper Bay of Fundy flanked by Nova Scotia and New Brunswick provide tidal bores. The majority of them are situated on the Nova Scotia side of the Bay of Fundy. However, you might have a hard time locating the right spots without the assistance of one or two local residents. A few unique sites to see a tidal bore are:
* The Petitcodiac River. Formerly the highest bore in North America at over 2 metres (6.6 ft); however, causeway construction and extensive silting reduced it to little more than a ripple, until the causeway gates were opened on April 14, 2010 as part of the Petitcodiac River Restoration project and the tidal bore began to grow again.
* The bore is fastest and strongest in some of the smaller sized rivers that flow into the Bay of Fundy including the River Hebert and Maccan River on Cumberland Basin (about 10 minutes out of Amherst), the St. Croix, Herbert and Kennetcook Rivers in the Minas Basin, and also the Salmon River in Truro.
People often love to look at the sites which include interpretation panels such as the ones located along the Maccan River and the Shubenacadie River close to the South Maitland Tidal Bore look-off. You’ll want to keep in mind that the bore time doesn’t necessarily match with the high tide periods posted on a tide graph or chart. The whole thing is dependent upon the place down the river you are standing, so it is advisable to talk with a few of the local outfitters upfront.
As fascinating as it is to observe the tidal bore from the riverbanks, it can be even more fun to try white water river rafting in it. This kind of adventure is exclusive to the Bay of Fundy given that the Shubenacadie River, located in Nova Scotia, is the only location across the world where you can enjoy tidal bore rafting. In the summer season, experienced guides bring visitors on a one-of-a-kind, upriver rafting experience. Tidal bore rafting could just be the ideal way to feel the Bay of Fundy tides first hand!