Our visit to the Bay of Fundy and Hopewell Rocks

A highlight of our 2011 visit to the Canadian Maritimes was the Bay of Fundy and Hopewell Rocks. This area has always intrigued me because it has the highest tides in the world. It was on my bucket list of places to explore when we hit the east coast.

The Hopewell Rocks, also called the Flowerpot Rocks or simply The Rocks, are rock formations caused by tidal erosion in The Hopewell Rocks Ocean Tidal Exploration Site in New Brunswick. They stand between 40-70 feet tall.

They are located on the shores of the upper reaches of the Bay of Fundy at Hopewell Cape near Moncton, New Brunswick. Due to the extreme tidal range of the Bay of Fundy, the base of the formations are covered in water twice a day. However, it is possible to view the formations from ground level at low tide.

The formations consist of dark sedimentary conglomerate and sandstone rock. The large volume of water flowing in to and out of the Bay of Fundy modifies the landscape surrounding it. After the retreat of the glaciers in the region following the last ice age, surface water filtering through cracks in the cliff has eroded and separated the formations from the rest of the cliff face. Meanwhile, advancing and retreating tides and the associated waves have eroded the base of the rocks at a faster rate than the tops, resulting in their unusual shapes.

The vast sediment planes in the basin in Fundy support a variety of biological productivity. Various shorebirds are often seen flocking to nest and feed in the area. Visitors are advised to stay for a full tidal cycle to get a full appreciation of the tides and formations. Although the tides vary from day to day, the high tide can be as high as 16 metres (52 ft) giving The Hopewell Rocks one of the highest average tides in the world. – http://en.wikipedia.org/

We approached the area from the northwest from the city of Moncton, New Brunswick and found a nice RV Park called Ponderosa Pines to stay at while checking out the Bay of Fundy and Hopewell Rocks.  The RV park was decent enough with some nice shade and located only a mile or so from the Hopewell Rocks entrance.  At Hopewell Rocks there is a visitor center, restaurant and many trails to hike on with views of the Bay of Fundy but the real adventure is heading down and wandering the beach at low tide. First thing you notice when seeing the water is the brownish/red appearance. It’s not pollution but from the color of the sediment washed into the bay from the surrounding soils and the appropriately named Chocolate River. Smile

Bay of Fundy, Hopewell Rocks photo   Bay of Fundy, Hopewell Rocks photo

Due to the extreme tides there is a finite time limit you can stay on the beach, when the water comes in, it comes in fast! Tidal Bore!  If you were to get caught down there it would be a bad thing, mmkay! There are periods of several hours twice a day you can go down. Once down there, you’re free to wander around except for a few places where the sandy rock is getting loose and may fall. We had a great time and picked up some nice images. They have several rangers that will answer your questions and offer suggestions on where to go. The landscape really makes you feel small, I guess because you are! Look at the tiny people in the photos below.

Bay of Fundy, Hopewell Rocks photo  Bay of Fundy, Hopewell Rocks photo

Bay of Fundy, Hopewell Rocks photo  Bay of Fundy, Hopewell Rocks photo

After a few days at Hopewell Rocks we hooked up the trailer and travelled maybe an hour or so south to stay in Bay of Fundy National Park in the campground called Headquarters.  The campground is located right near the eastern entrance and gives easy access to the little fishing village of Alma.

Alma, is a seaside community on the Bay of Fundy, home to fishermen, loggers and shipbuilders over it’s many years. Fishing is still a big part of Alma and so is tourism, it’s the main service area for visitors to Fundy National Park, with it’s hotel, motels and cottages there are lots of places to choose from for your overnight stay. As well as restaurants, take outs for good meals and if you are camping, general stores to resupply your campsite. – http://www.fundyweb.com/fundy/alma.html

Other than great fresh seafood the amazing thing about Alma is the fishing boats sitting on the bottom of the Bay of Fundy each day.  The tide change is so drastic that the boats have special wooden boxes the fisherman have to place under as the tide recedes.

Seafood joint in Alma, New Brunswick  Alma Fishing Boat, Bay of Fundy

Alma Fishing Boat, Bay of Fundy  Alma Fishing Boat, Bay of Fundy

After a few days stuffing ourselves with great fresh seafood, strolling around Alma and exploring the Fundy National Park we were off to continue our trip but I will always cherish the memories of the big tides at the Bay of Fundy and Hopewell Rocks.

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