A couple of summers ago my wife and I went back to her home town of Stewiacke, Nova Scotia to visit her parents. We went on July 4th weekend and it was a nice break from the Carolina heat. I think the highs up there were somewhere in the low 80's, Fahrenheit, of course. Nova Scotia is a beautiful place. There is a lot of untouched nature up there and that also lends itself to some good outdoor adventures.
Here’s a fun fact about Nova Scotia, they have the highest
tides in the world! Their
tides in the Bay of Fundy can range from 11 – 53 feet. They actually have
people who walk too far out and the tide comes in quicker than they can get
back. These poor souls will either be stranded on a sand bar or drown trying to
make it back. It is a force of nature and awesome to witness. Even more awesome
There are several tour operators that specialize in tidal bore rafting. We chose to use Tidal Bore Rafting Park & Cottages. If you decide to try your hand at tidal bore rafting you will need to make reservations and understand that your time to ride will be dictated by the tide schedule. You will also need to wear old clothes and shoes. They WILL be stained after this little adventure.
After we paid our money we got our life jackets and waited a little bit before loading up. We had a short walk down to the river bank where we boarded a zodiac boat with a 40 hp Yamaha on the back. I know, I know, river rafts don’t have boat motors, but you will understand soon.
View Tidal Bore Rafting in a larger map
If you look on the map you will see three markers. The middle marker is where we started from. We motored north toward the mouth of the river to the top marker. When we got there we pulled over on this huge sand bar. It was several acres and the raft captain let us out to explore. It was mostly just mushy dirt. After about 20 minutes the captain called us back. By the time we had loaded up in the raft this whole sand bar was disappearing! The tide was rolling in fast! We rode a few ripples so everybody in the boat could get the feel for the water. Then we headed over to the rapids!
The rapids were 2 – 3 feet for our first run. Then we used our handy dandy 40 hp Yamaha to run back up the river to make another pass. Keep in mind the tide is still coming in so the rapids kind of move around as the water level changes. We made another pass and these waves were probably 6 – 8 feet high. It was starting to get pretty fun and then woosh, a fellow passenger washed out of our boat! The captain pulled the kill switch and quickly got her back in.
The lady that washed out was in the front of the boat. After
that, she decided she wanted to be in the middle of the boat and so did her
friend. Awesome! That meant me and my Father-in-law could move up to the front!
After we got in the front it really got fun. It was tough to hang on and water
would just wash through the boat. There was plenty of times where we were just
floating and nothing but sheer will kept us in that boat.
We turned around to make another pass and while we were riding in the smooth water on the edge we could see the other rafts. Then the other rafts would completely disappear behind the waves and come back on top of them. During our second pass the waves had grown to about 15 – 17 foot swells. These were the biggest waves I have even seen and we were about to make our third pass through them! As the waves got bigger the runs got longer. The third run has us whipped. We were going completely underwater and then back up again.
After the rapids calmed down the Shubenacadie River was very peaceful. We pulled over to fill the boat with gas and then drifted down the river to the southernmost marker on the map. If you zoom in you can see a muddy bank on the point. This was literally a mudslide. We didn’t actually get out and slide because we didn’t have a change of clothes. It was a lot of fun to watch people slide in the slimy gray goo. The people walking up the hill were miring up half way to their knees. In hind sight, I would have gotten out.
After the mudslide we went about half way back to the landing and everybody bailed out and spent the rest of our trip floating in the river. There would have been plenty of opportunity to wash the mud off. If only I had known.
After drifting for about 30 or 40 minutes we loaded up and headed back. We were filthy, exhausted, and pumped! There is only one place in the world where you can ride the highest tides the Earth has to offer and we have been there and done that.
What I Learned:
- The tides in Nova Scotia come in quickly and if you go exploring the coast it is important to keep that in mind.
- White water rafting is very fun. I thoroughly enjoyed my first rafting trip.
Ecclesiastes 3:13 NIV “That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil – this is the gift of God.
It was a great experience to raft the highest tides in the world. The rafting trip also provided an opportunity for me and my Father-in-law to share an adventure and make some new stories to tell. God has granted us the gift of life and according to this verse he wants us to find satisfaction in our life. Are you enjoying life and finding satisfaction? If not, what changes can be made to help you find more satisfaction?