We're eight kilometres into a 290-kilometre canoe trip in northern Saskatchewan and I'm already wondering…
Interested in kayaking the Bay of Fundy, home to the world’s highest tides? The Cape Chignecto area of Nova Scotia is a great place to experience the tides. It’s a beautiful, wild, unspoiled landscape best appreciated from the water.
Over three to four hours kayaking the Bay of Fundy, you can see the massive variation in the tides. But if you’ve got the time you can also sign up for a scenic three day trip to explore this beautiful part of Nova Scotia at a more relaxed pace.
Kayaking the Bay of Fundy
Kayaking allows you to get close to rock spires, including the legendary Three Sisters, arches, cliffs and even rock amphitheaters. There are rocky beaches too – perfect for picnics or for camping if you’re lucky enough to have the time to do a longer trip.
I’d booked an excursion with Nova Shores – an outfit operating out of Advocate Harbour – a little bit of a place located right on the shores of the Bay of Fundy and very much off the beaten track. It’s reasonably close to Truro, Nova Scotia if that’s any help.
Kayaking tours are dictated by the tides
My tour left at 12:30 PM. The tour departure time is strictly dictated by the tides – tides that are the highest in the world and are to be respected. In the Cape Chignecto area the difference between low and high tide is over 12 metres (39 feet).
After signing the usual liability forms and picking up a life jacket and spray skirt in Advocate Harbour I was back in the car and driving with the aid of a detailed map to the put in point at Spicer’s Cove, about a half hour away.
Fortunately the weather was cooperative – mostly sunny but more importantly the winds were manageable. This is an area where the winds can blow up and make any sort of outing very treacherous.
Why you want to leave on a high tide
By leaving at high tide not only can you take advantage of kayaking in and around the Three Sisters on the way to the picnic spot – but in the face of a building wind the chances of waves getting any bigger and therefore more dangerous are slim.
On the return the wind is typically at your back and seas are generally calmer with a falling tide.
The kayaking tour is geared to people of all levels. The kayaks are extremely stable and the chances of tipping are remote. Our group was made up of a family of four, a family of three, a couple and me along with two guides.
The tour does take you around some headlands – an area that can be tough to paddle on windy days or if the current is especially strong but it was easy going on the day of my trip.
On the way to our picnic spot we paddled into an amphitheater and then repeatedly – as it was so much fun – kayaked the waves around the Three Sisters.
After a few hours of kayaking we pulled up onto a rocky beach to stretch our legs, explore, relax and have a picnic.
Our late lunch was delicious – oatmeal bread, muffins, a beautiful salad prepared with home grown greens, fresh fruit and hot drinks. Add sunshine and it really doesn’t get much better than this.
The return to Spicer’s Cove
The return to Spicer’s Cove was leisurely and almost effortless – especially since the wind had completely died down and there were no waves to fight. The Three Sisters on the return trip were now accessible only on foot.
By the time we got back to Spicer’s Cove the tide had dropped substantially and what had been water was now beach – so it was a long way up to where we’d put in. A kayak cart was provided so we didn’t have to carry the kayaks, a treat considering how heavy a double kayak can be.
Camping and kayaking on the Bay of Fundy
The afternoon was thoroughly enjoyable and an excellent way to see parts of Cape Chignecto Provincial Park that are otherwise accessible only via a long hike. If you have more time it’s possible to kayak from Spicer’s Cove all the way back to Advocate Harbour over a three day period – camping at remote beaches along the way.
Prices for the Fundy Explorer trip are $119 + tax per person (2019 prices).
Although it’s possible to do this trip on your own – should you have access to kayaks – this is an area where local knowledge really comes in handy because of the huge fluctuation in tides.
Further reading on things to do in Nova Scotia
- Lobster and Beaches in Halls Harbour, Nova Scotia
- One of Nova Scotia’s Great Day Hikes: The Hike to Cape Split
- A 3 Day Hike on the Coastal Trail in Cape Chignecto Provincial Park
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