My Canadian Experience – Part Three: Tidal Bore Rafting

I fully intended to place this article at the midpoint of the series. It’s just such an amazing story that it deserves to be the center.

The Bay of Fundy, which is between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, has the biggest tidal changes in the world, at about 50 feet. In other words, if McQuaid were standing on the ground at low tide, at high tide it would be over 10 feet underwater. So, when this surge of 115 billion tons of water rushes into the Shubenacadie river, fun stuff happens.


So. Much. Water.

That’s what happens.

Genius Canadians decided to take this massively dangerous trait at the mouth of the Shubenacadie and make it a tourist attraction. Don’t worry, they have only ever lost three people (or so they say). So these “tour guides” shove us onto these tiny pontoon boats and send us off into the mayhem and rapids to fend for ourselves. Not really. There is a driver who knows what (s)he’s doing. So, without further ado, here is how it all went down (or, in the case of the tide, went up).

My family and I drove to the mouth of the Shubenacadie river, where we met our tour guide. We were then plopped onto these boats and driven into the mouth at low tide. Then we were given a half-hour safety and history lecture as we waited for the tide to start coming in. We saw a small little curl of water, about three inches high, just running over the surface of the water. Usually, you don’t see a tide come in. Ever. Well, that is exactly what we were seeing. Do you know how much water it takes to make a bay rise three inches? The answer is a lot. This was our driver’s queue, and we moved farther into the river. The water rising around us, we made our way to a gigantic sandbar, about the size of three or four football fields. We were told we could get out and walk around if we so desired. I thought this would be fun, so I got out and walked around. I looked toward where we came from and saw the shoreline creeping up slowly. Cool, right?


The water is at my toes! Now my ankles! My shins! My knees! Oh, my . . . in thirty seconds flatI was in waist-deep water!

Our guide yelled “Get back to the boats!”

I always wanted someone to say that and have it be relevant. It felt really cool. I ended up dragging my mom back to the boat because she was “scared.”

As we got on the boats, I looked back at where the sandbar was. Keyword: was. Water had completely enveloped the sandbar. We embarked, and saw rapids. Well, sort of. See, there are rapids, and then there are these: absolutely gigantic waves caused by water running over divots in the sand. The mud in the water is never given a chance to settle, so the water looks like chocolate milk. As the boat entered the rapids, I can faithfully tell you that it was not. All I remember was water. Everywhere. The water was flooding the boat as we went through these rapids, the boat was underwater at some points, and there was no part of me not covered in mud. We continued through these rapids for a little while, and then our driver took us to another set of rapids, where we were again slammed by water. This process was repeated dozens of times. Constant drenching, overwhelming water, yucky water. It was the most exhilarating experience of my life.

After making our way back up the river, there were complimentary showers, hot chocolate, and cookies (which were kind of stale, but who cares?). I unsuccessfully removed all the mud from myself and got in the car, then went to get a donair. (Check that out in Part II.)

Overall, this was one of the best experiences in Canada. I was able to raft on one of the Seven Wonders of North America and have tons of muddy water shoved in my face. An all-around riot, if you ask me. If you ever have the opportunity to experience tidal bore rafting, I say do it. It’s worth it.

Next time: Cities!

About Lewis Nazarian 5 Articles
I am The Shield's Southern consultant. I was at McQuaid Jesuit for 4 1/2 years before moving to Charlotte, North Carolina. I'm now at Charlotte Catholic High School, but i will always be a McQuaid boy. get ready for crazy stories of the "deep" south!

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