A gargantuan flower pot shaped rock with trees on top instead of flowers?
Rivers that – I know this sounds crazy – flow backwards.
Sea caves carved out of cliffs by thousands of years of high tides and weather erosion?
I mean, I was looking forward to fabulous lobster in this Maritime province but couldn’t have imagined the surreal things that exist here because of the supernatural high tides.
In fact, it’s difficult to get my head around the many unusual natural occurrences that take place along the Fundy Bay.
Why here? Mainly it’s because of the crazy tidal events that occur twice a day – activated by the sheer size of the Atlantic Ocean and the gravitational pull of the moon.
Kevin Snair, Interpretive Guide at the Hopewell Rocks, tells Metro.co.uk: ‘Not many know that 160 billion tonnes of water flow into this closed bay, with no way of escape at the end. And then flow back out at every tide – this is the equivalent of every drop of water that goes over Niagara Falls in one year and nine months.’
This amount of water creates a tidal rise of well over 30 feet and happens every 12-hours and 26 minutes. So, beachcombing at Cape Hopewell at low tide is where you see how water, wind, and rain have eroded the rock. There are beautiful, twisted and strange shapes all created by the sculpting of water and weather.
The other beauty of Cape Hopewell is that it’s been named a Dark Sky Reserve. Multi-talented Kevin also teaches night photography at this very special spot, teaching people to capture great spectacles like the Milky Way and Northern Lights.
But, honestly, how can you beat kayaking in, out and around carved-out sea caves? Kayaking anywhere is awesome because of being able to view everything from the perspective of a duck.
Paddling is organised from St. Martins by the brilliant Red Rock Adventure. Setting out from the harbour is incredibly relaxing. Once out at sea, it is mesmerising to take in the gorgeous red sandstone cliffs but even more fun to actually navigate into the caves. However, you should be prepared for water to drip on your head.
Moose Cove, where we stop for a break, was given this name by the First Nations people. It refers to the story of a mother moose giving birth at low tide, then being carried up to the shore with her newborn during high tide. A natural fairy tale of sorts.
St. Martins was formerly famous for its ship-building (learn more at the tiny Quaco Museum) and is also located near the beginning of the Fundy Trail. There are hikes along the length of the trail which entail three days of trekking. Tiring perhaps, but a magnificent way to explore this incredible coast.
The popular cruise port of St. John has a bit of magic about it, too. The St. John River flows to the sea but, at the start of high tide, appears to actually flow backwards. So much water is flooding in from the ocean, and going in the opposite direction of the river, it reverses the rivers natural flow.
This phenomenon has been given the name Reversing Rapids. The spot where this occurs was once a waterfall in days gone by but, as water levels are now higher, is submerged and creates freaky whirlpools.
Whale watching is something else that is extraordinary in the Bay of Fundy. Cold deep waters attract many species of sea life which, in turn, attract humpback whales, minke whales and even the endangered North Atlantic Right Whale.
Try whale watching from St. Andrews Harbor, located within shouting distance of the state of Maine and famous for being a refuge for loyalists escaping the Revolutionary Way. Tour operators take participants out in zodiacs to get up close and personal with these amazing creatures of the
deep. It is an adventure of gigantic proportions.
Speaking of marine creatures; fishing, particularly for salmon, is big in a province with so many rivers.
Fly fishing is a tricky business to learn, so I booked myself in for a lesson on the Miramichi River. If you have a great instructor, like I did, it’s great fun.
Steve Smith, Master Fly Casting Instructor, took me through the paces and even taught the knots needed for tying the fly and hook onto the line. It was really exciting to have a go in the river, even if I am not good enough to catch a fish.
There are loads of moose in the Miramichi area so visitors should keep their eyes peeled when anywhere near marshy, lowland areas. These solitary animals are amazing to see up close if for nothing else than their size.
What to eat while you’re there
Foraging is a ‘slow’ experience that is rising in popularity in vast, forested areas like New Brunswick. This ultra-fresh food perfectly complements newly caught lobster and seafood.
Chris Aerni, head chef at the Rossmount Inn located in the Chamcook Mountains, is quite a fan of all things fresh. During spring he gathers fiddleheads, chickweed, violets and more. Everything found is then used for that night’s meal.
Try the inn’s naked lobster (poached) or the blue fin tuna which is barely cooked. For those who have never eaten fiddleheads (curled fronds of a young fern), you must have them floating in butter with a bit of pepper.
At Grand Manan Island’s Dark Harbor they harvest a sweet seaweed called Dulce. It is turned into seasoning which is used liberally on most things in this province.
Where to stay and how to get there
There are direct flights to Halifax, Nova Scotia with several airlines. It is about a two-hour drive
from Halifax to New Brunswick and the Bay of Fundy.
I stayed at the St Martins Country Inn, formerly the Vaughan shipbuilding family’s mansion. The Victorian decor is divine, and the grounds are stunning with spectacular gardens.
Frontier Canada offers seven nights in New Brunswick from £1,255 pp with returns flights on WestJet from London Gatwick, including two nights at St Martins Country Inn, two nights at the Hopewell Rocks, two nights at St Andrews, one night in Halifax and one night in Miramichi plus car rental, GPS and one tank of fuel.
For more information visit: www.tourismnewbrunswick.ca and www.destinationcanada.com.
by – metro.co.uk