Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Day 49: Amherst to Woodstock

201 miles, 3 hours

The Reversing Falls at Saint John

In order to add interest to our trip west across New Brunswick, Captain Dan decided to go a bit out of our way in order to see the famous Reversing Falls in the town of Saint John.

Amherst, N.S. to Woodstock, N. B. via Saint John, N.B.
Bay of Fundy
"Reversing Falls" is a rather misleading term; it should be called "Reversing Rapids".  Just before it pours into the Bay of Fundy, the mighty Saint John river encounters a narrow gorge with boulders and ridges of rock that cause its rushing waters to swirl and tumble hazardously. This is an interesting place to observe the bay's tidal action because the tide rises and falls 28 1/2 feet. When the bay rises to its full height, it overwhelms both rocks and river, and creates a calm lake.

When we arrived around 12:30, the tide was rising, and the turbulent rapids were rushing upstream into the back bay. We watched jet boats swirling in the eddies from a viewpoint near a bridge over the river. Then we crossed the bridge to a nice little park with a closer observation deck. 

The rapids at Saint John about 2 hours before high tide
In order to observe the tidal flow longer, we returned to the side where we had parked and had lunch at the touristy fish restaurant. The food was terrible, but the view was swell.

When we left about 2:30, the water from the bay had covered the rapids and the water was temporarily becalmed. This is called "slack tide". We wish we could have stayed long enough to see the tide go out. 

The rapids at high tide
During this time, the weather went through changes from heavy clouds to floating fog to hot sunshine. The changes in the weather combined with the changes in the tide were fascinating. We could have spent the day there. Other viewpoints and various boat tours tempted us. We observed a massive cruise ship on the horizon, and Dan longed to investigate. But we still had miles to cover.

We had nice sunshine for the rest of the drive to Woodstock, but the wind was howling when we got here. This is our last night in Canada after four weeks of travel in this country.

Dan explored downtown Woodstock and enjoyed dinner at the Little Mediterranean Restaurant.