The Hopewell Rocks in New Brunswick
Not everyone knows their name, but they may already have seen most of you - at least in one photo: the Hopewell Rocks at the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick. One of Canada's best-known landmarks in the Atlantic Province, they are a symbol of the world's highest tidal range, which day after day drains the entire bay between the two Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Twice a day, at low tide, seawater disappears into the bay, between the north shore of the bay and its southern shore on the Nova Scotia side, taking with it the waters of most of the rivers and streams that flow into this inlet. An impressive spectacle that has been going on here for millennia. With a tidal difference of up to 14 meters, the amount of water transported daily from the end of the bay to the Atlantic and back is considerable. It takes six hours and thirteen minutes for the entire Bay of Fundy to be refilled at high tide. And that is exactly what the visitor, who wants to take the opportunity to walk on the sea floor at the Hopewell Rocks, wants: three hours before the peak of the ebb, three hours later.
We are here when the tide is already coming back and we can see the reddish-brown waters of the Bay of Fundy slowly narrowing the area we walk between the rock formations on the sea floor. The bases of the rocky outcrops are still clear of the water, but the shell-covered, algae-clad rocky pillars clearly show how high the water will rise - far beyond our heads.
We are still standing in a rocky outcrop on dry ground, looking out at imposing boulders that show the traces of seawater that has been working on its pedestal for thousands of years. In fact, it's amazing that they have not been washed away by the waters that gnaw on them daily.
We observe how the water flowing from here drives the visitors back from their trip at the bottom of the sea to the coast. Slowly it is getting fuller before the stairs that lead up to the safe top of the cliffs. The area of dry seabed is getting smaller and smaller, and people are pushing back to the stairs that lead up and to safety. This is not always possible for everyone, as the tide comes swiftly into these waters, and it happens a few times each year that Watt walkers notice the approach of the tide too late and are forced to swim ashore.
We do not want to take the risk and join the other mudflats as they climb back to the top of the cliffs. On the way, we take another look through the narrow gorges created by the sea, onto the rock columns, where it has been gnawing and working continuously for millennia.
The best way to experience the Hopewell Rocks, when you see them at low tide. For this reason, the ticket to this natural spectacle is valid for two days, and you can choose the right time.
Parking at the airport
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Source: own site research courtesy of Tourism New Brunswick and the Canadian Tourism Commission
Text: © Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline
Photos: © Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline
Video: © Petar Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline