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Canada: Tidal Bore

This is it.  This is why I came to the Bay of Fundy to begin with:  To see the tide roll in like a huge wave.  Everywhere else in the world such a phenomenon might be called a tidal wave, but around the Bay of Fundy it’s called a tidal bore.  But by no means is it boring – and not only can one watch the event, one can actually participate by riding the bore!  And what fun it is!  Definitely worth the trip.
[Photographs at end]

The largest bores are up at the tip of the Bay in Moncton, NB and Truro, NS.  I was told that the bore is a bit more spectacular in Truro and opted to ride with the Shubenacadie River Runners.  They use 16 ft. Zodiacs carrying up to 8 passengers; each passenger sits on the side of the boat and hangs on to a rope “handrail” for dear life to keep from falling overboard.

All participants are warned that it will be an extremely wet ride:  Have a fresh, dry change of clothing ready after the trip and do not to bring any cameras or camcorders on the Zodiacs, because all electronics will be destroyed by the salt water.

Nevertheless I decided to take a chance, thinking these warnings represented only the usual legal disclaimers.  I placed an inexpensive digital camera in a sealed plastic bag underneath the full-body safety suit, and took it out only to take a few pictures and videos near the beginning of the journey.  The first time we encountered rapids, the camera got soaked and stopped working.  So I have very few pictures to share, and recommend that you bring along a waterproof camera for the trip.  Better yet, bring a waterproof video recorder.  I was able to take a short video of the tide stranding us on a sandbar in the middle of the river.  By the end of the trip, the water over the sandbar was many feet deep!  The camera died right after this video, but you can find a number of good photographs at


The ride was terrific.  Our guide estimated that we encountered Class 2 or 3 rapids on our adventure.  We would be riding the crest of one 5 foot wave when suddenly the bow would dip, dive, and completely submerge under the next wave.  Muddy water would pour in; the spray would drench all the occupants of the Zodiac, seeping down to the skin at the nape of the neck or on the chest.  The boat would completely fill with water (but being an inflatable would not sink), and may or may not empty before the next encounter with a wave.  Every stitch of clothing we wore was wet after the first few such encounters.

What an exhilarating ride!  As an added bonus, the passengers were invited to go swimming at the end of the adventure; most did.  The water temperature is actually a quite comfortable 55 – 60oF.  Upon returning to home base, we all took hot showers, changed into dry clothes, and continued on our journeys.


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