The Bay of Fundy is famous for its high tides. These tides are caused by the continual narrowing of the Bay from its mouth near Digby to its upper reaches in the Cumberland Basin. This narrowing constricts the flow entering the Bay from the Atlantic Ocean, causing the water to rise as it is forced up the bay.
The fresh water flowing out of the Maccan River holds back the tide briefly, but the rising water reverses the River’s flow. This reversal, combined with the narrowing of the River, causes the wall of water – or tidal bore – to rush up the river ahead of the incoming tide.
Like the height of the tides, the height of the tidal bore is controlled by the gravitational pull of the moon. The highest bores occur when the moon is closest to Earth, usually at or shortly after the full moon.
During the high tides, the Maccan River will fill full in 1 hour 45 minutes, and raise about 17 feet or 5.18 metres. On the low tides, the river only fills half full in 1 hour 30 minutes, to about 8 feet or 2.44 metres.
The great heights of the Bay of Fundy tides can also be seen nearby at Joggins (34 to 45 feet) and Parrsboro (36 to 48 feet).
Watching the Bore
Here are a few tips to help guide your bore watching experience:
- At the Maccan Tidal Wetlands Park, the bore comes from the right around the curve and past the park.
- The tidal bore can be up to 20 minutes earlier or later than the posted times.
- The heavy rush of water that occurs up to 30 minutes after the bore is great to watch, as the currents and waves keep changing as the water flows faster.
- Some days the bore is very obvious, and some days it’s almost invisible! Check the schedule for High, Medium, and Low days.
- The Tidal Bore can also be seen from the River Hebert highway bridge 20 minutes before the Maccan bore times.