As soon as I got out of the car I was hypnotized by a strong desire to walk towards the sea cliffs. Forward I went- my eyes toggling back and forth between my next step on the rocky footing and the prize up ahead. It isn’t a far trek, perhaps 10 to 15 minutes at the most, but at one point it felt like a mirage. ” I should be there by now, why is it so far away?”
Myself and two of my friends are taking advantage of a beautiful spring day to visit the famous St. Martins sea caves. Tracy has brought along her son, and they are way out in front of us cruising, over the beach without a care. I carpooled with Krista, who is currently struggling with the stones sliding under her sandals, she has also broken out in goosebumps. We lost 10 degrees of temperature when we arrived on the coast. She heard “beach” and has worn shorts and no jacket. Having been here many times myself, I knew to wear sturdy shoes and to wear layers. In our rush to depart, I hadn’t though to bring up the subject of attire.
If I use the people that are already standing at the caves entrance as scale, they are dwarfed by the sea cliff height. Being born and raised Maritimer, I have explored most of its expanse including to Burntcoat Head Park, Nova Scotia, and Joggins fossil cliffs- UNESCO WHS so I shouldn’t be surprised at the wonder of the receding tide, but does a person ever fully grasp the worlds highest tides of the Bay of Fundy?
Just when you think you are within reach of the caves and unforeseen obstacle appears- a stream flowing towards the bay from the run-off of a small waterfall that trickles from the top of the headlands. I knew about it and I had told the ladies we would have to cross a brook. How difficult it is depends on how much rain has fallen lately, in this case, it has been our first sunny day in a week so there is a steady flow to conquer. Tracy and Reed are walking the brook edge looking for a narrow area to cross, At this point Krista’s footwear is an advantage and she plows right through and reaches the bank in three or four strides.
I decide to remove my socks and shoes and wade in . Yup it is cold, but tolerable as it is only a short ford to the other side. Tracy holds her shoes and winces a bit at either the cold flow or the painful rocks underfoot but crosses with grace. Her son goes next and she watches him only to realize he has left a sock on the other bank and must return to retrieve it.
Onward we go. This next section is the ocean floor at high tide so it is mucky and slippery. Unfortunately a lady with a baby in a chest carrier slips and falls, She quick to get up but her clothing and hands are stained from the impact. Krista and I ask if she is ok. She says yes, she and the child are unhurt but realizes her mistake in bringing the infant out here. She walks back towards the parking lot.
This is a beautiful view: a backdrop of red sand cliff out to the Bay of Fundy.
Tracy and her son explore the upper cliff wall. Krista watches over her pups but doesn’t venture too far. She is cold and says she is returning to the car. But not before I get her to take a photo of me in the mouth of cave.
When we are all satisfied we have explored the site we again remove our shoes and cross the steam and hike back to the parking lot.
Before you leave home be sure to check the tides. The village of Saint Martin’s has several attractions including Quaco Museum, a light house, two covered bridges and the The Fundy Trail Parkway, is only another 6kms down the road. Here are a few links of interest
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Happy Travels from Maritime Mac
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Until you have walked the shoreline at low tide, you can’t understand how incredibly high the waters of the Fundy rise. I was reading a hikers blog recently and a tourist from “away” asked if there was any place on the Fundy, you can camp on the beach? I didn’t weigh- in with an answer on this question, because I have not been to every beach on the Fundy coast line but I have been to quite a few. So my answer is Yes, But….. It is tricky to explain to people that have never experience a 15 m ( 50 foot) tide, that the beaches here are part of the ocean floor at high tide and will be accessible for a stroll 6 hrs later at low tide. So the most direct answer is: you better know your beach and the tidal charts before you pitch that tent or you’ll drowned.
One of the many excellent places to experience the tidal changes of the Fundy is in St Martins, New Brunswick. (Average 27 ft high tides)Last spring a co-worker and I went kayaking out of harbour in the village of St martins, New Brunswick. In our Tandem Kayak we paddled in to the cliff walls caves and that took on a whole new look. These walls aren’t flush but scooped out and hollowed. Geology physics mathematical, I am sure there are numerous equations of force, plus pressure and angles that can explain the “how” the caves are formed, but most of us just gawk in awe and think, it is remarkable.