Tuesday, September 4, 2018

We Went to Canada and Saw the World's Highest Tides in Fundy National Park!

Here's what we've done on our trip so far:

Here's our first stop at Steamtown National Historic Site.

After we drove back to our motel from Hopwell Rocks (finding the cars in the parking lot parked all in a completely different configuration and still no potable water), we dried off, ate more sandwiches and microwaved novelty foods, and then figured that if the rain hadn't necessarily stopped, per se, it had nearly enough done so, and if we made our move, we could mosey over to Alma Beach and watch the World's Highest Tide come rolling in.

So that's what we did!

The edge of those large cobbles is about the high tide line, and from that edge to as far as the camera can see is currently the tidal flats of low tide:

Here's the thing about the Bay of Fundy and the tides: the Bay of Fundy is partially enclosed, and its seiche happens to match the tides. The tide teams up with the seiche and amplifies the wave, so that high tides are higher, and low tides are lower than anywhere else in the world. At low tide here on Alma Beach, it's over a kilometer between the high tide line and the water. We had to hike waaaaay out to find the water's edge:

Found it!

In the video below, check out how even the ocean sounds different without any retreating waves, and check out how it makes almost an optical illusion out of simply looking out into the distance: even in the video you get the impression that you're gliding forward, although I stood in one spot the whole time, and that illusion was much more prominent in person--I felt a hint of vertigo if I focused on it too long!

Will was VERY focused on making sand castles (I'll show you why in a moment--it's pretty awesome!), and every now and then Syd would throw one up, too, but mostly she zoomed in and out, running waaaay out into the water, then back again, then out again, in absolute ecstasy:

Will has always been very much one to grub in the dirt, and she happily made herself a beautiful castle:

But then this happened:

The kids were both delighted, and built castles over and over and over again, watching them flood and then moving up the beach to build them anew:

Better go rinse off in the water!

Eventually, the tide chased us nearly back up to those rocks that I showed you in the first photographs:

Time to hike back to the motel, then, making sure that we don't have any shells in our pockets!

The next morning, fortunately, it was clearing up and looking to be a fine day--the finest of days to finally see the rest of Fundy National Park!

And will you look what we have here!

I'd been sharing online my map of national park sites with Junior Ranger programs, and a reader mentioned the Canadian national parks' Xplorers program. I'd seen the program listed for the parks we'd planned to explore, but the age range was too young for my kids so I'd written it off. This reader, though, assured me that the age range didn't matter, and the rangers would be happy to let the kids participate. Indeed it didn't matter, and indeed they were happy, and so were the kids!

I love these types of programs so much both because they keep the kids engaged in what we're seeing and doing, and because they encourage the whole family to see and do things that we otherwise wouldn't. Like THIS beautiful beach!

The kids make collections to look at, but we never keep them--we're in a national park!

After hiking back up to the car from the beach, we made sandwiches and retreated to a nearby picnic table to eat and rest. At another picnic table across the way was a family with two young children, and even though the day was hot and it looked like they'd just come from the beach, too, they were hosting some kind of Child Olympics for their children, consisting of getting them to run various races all around the picnic area. My two looked on in horror, and in between bites of sandwich, Will asked, "Why are they DOING that?!?"

"Probably because they're about to get in the car for a long drive and they want to wear them out," I replied. Parenting. It's universal!

Soon after, we stopped by the visitor's center so that the kids could receive their hard-earned rewards--

Xplorers get dog tags. I LOVE that idea!
--and then we got back into the car for our own long drive to Halifax, although wearing out the kids first was not required (frankly, I think all the hiking had done that job for me...).

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