Paddling in the Bay of Fundy is always a hit and miss exercise. (rated as moderate) There are several variables to factor in. Tide (some of the highest in the world) and weather come to mind primarily. My recent trip to New Brunswick had my mind set on paddling among "the Pots" at Hopewell Rocks. On this day, we had the tides in our favour, but it was a bit windy, with choppy seas. For sea kayaking, it was typical conditions, so we knew this was going to be a go for our three boat crew.
We let in, just South of the park along an access road that takes you to the shore. Alternatively, you can find a guided outfitter (Baymount Outdoor Adventures) in the park itself. They also let you launch your own kayak in their space in the park. We crossed routes with a pod of about 15 boats, so it's a popular guided tour.
Our plan was to launch an hour or two before peak tide. (varies by 53 feet)This made launching our boats very easy, because once you rest your boat at the shore's edge, and get it, the water was lapping at the hull for an easy launch. High tide gives you access to the pots, and some fine rock garden paddling.
With sea chop ranging between 2-5 feet, it was challenging both to take pictures, and to weave among some of the sandstone formations. For the Bay of Fundy, I was surprised at how warm the water was. Never the less, these conditions were not for the inexperienced. Having three of us together, made for even safer paddling, providing a leader and a sweep.
Seeing the Hopewell Rocks ("The Pots") is an even cooler experience by kayak. (It's worth doing both.) You can explore shallow sea caves, and meander between small and huge outcroppings. The higher the tide, the easier it was. Given the direction of the winds and getting past the cape, we were able to access some protected waters and take pictures. Some of the sea stacks were getting pretty thin at their bases, and are due to topple in the next few years. Let's hope no one is around when that happens.
The tides in the region vary enough that you can walk around the base of the pots when it's low, or paddle around them when it's high. The park does a good job showing the dangers of being trapped in the boxed beach before tides creeping in. Lots of warning signs and chained off areas are visible when the tide recedes. At high tide, all those yellow signs are hidden under water, and the area is closed off.
This certainly was a highlight to my summer adventures.
East Coast editor
Hopewell Rocks Provincial Park is about 30 minutes from Moncton, along Route 114. We accessed our let in by passing the park, and taking an access road at the church. Follow it to the dykes to get 50 feet from the water.
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Posted By: BarbaraDale&Julia
- Sun Jul 19 02:35:57 UTC 2009
UpsideVery neat experience to move through the 'flower pot' formations... and experience the Bay of Fundy if the waters are calm DownsideVery dependent on tide and chop. Expensive to use the launch from within the park if you have your own gear. CommentWe were very lucky to have calm waters for our excursion here in Aug 08. The weather was overcast, though, and about halfway through our 2 hr paddle we heard this tremendous roar which I recognized as a rain deluge approaching from Nova Scotia. You could see the water turn inky black as the rain got closer. It poured heavily for about 3 minutes and then passed. Luckily we had our peaked ballcaps on so we still had some visibility. It was a little surreal - we felt like celebritities as all the tourists, who had taken cover in the park's stairwells to the beach, were snapping photos of us as we paddled around the rocks. Then, to add to the effect, as we were approaching the end of our paddle we saw another black mass approaching... this turned out to be a huge flock of shore birds that swarmed, on mass, around us for about 2 minutes - breathtaking!! I have posted some photos of this as well as other shots from our trip. We did use the launch from within the park so had to pay the admission fee... from our standpoint, having to make the tidal deadline ruled out going in search of an alternative - this tide truly waits for no-one.