Kayaking the World’s Highest Tides in the Cape Chignecto Area

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Interested in kayaking the world’s highest tides? One place you can do that is on the Bay of Fundy in the Cape Chignecto area of Nova Scotia.

"Our put in at Spicer's Cove in Cape Chignecto Provincial Park"

Our put in at Spicer’s Cove in Cape Chignecto Provincial Park

The Cape Chignecto area is a wild, unspoiled landscape best appreciated from the water. The 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 Adventures  – 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.

My tour was leaving 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 meters (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.

"Our guide Anne explaining the route we would  take"

Our guide Anne explaining the route we would take

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.

"Kayaking past red cliffs and fantastic rock formations"

Kayaking past red cliffs and fantastic rock formations

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.

"Three Sisters rock formation"

Me and a young fellow having fun kayaking through the Three Sisters rock formation – Photo credit: Nova Shores Adventures

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.

"The view of our group from the top of the cliffs"

The view of our group from the top of the cliffs – Photo credit: Nova Shores Adventures

After a few hours of kayaking we pulled up onto a rocky beach to stretch our legs, explore, relax and have a picnic.

"The guides made the landings easy - and dry"

The guides made the landings easy – and dry

"Our lunch stop was a beautiful beach that got bigger and bigger because of a dropping tide"

Our lunch stop was a beautiful beach that got bigger and bigger because of a dropping tide

"pebbly beach"

Hard to walk on this stuff

"The view of our lunch spot from above"

The view of our lunch spot from above – Photo credit: Nova Shores Adventures

"Our two man kayaks pulled up on the beach"

Our two man kayaks pulled up on the beach

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.

"An amazing lunch time spread"

An amazing lunch time spread

"The lettuces were homegrown"

The lettuces were homegrown

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. Check out the difference in the photos below.

"Kayaking between the sisters at high tide"

Kayaking between the sisters at high tide – Photo credit: Nova Shores Adventures

"Kayaking past the Three Sisters"

Kayaking past the Three Sisters at low tide

"The rocks are majestic - almost otherworldly"

The rocks are majestic – almost otherworldly

"Hard not to be blown away by the shapes and size of the rock formations"

Hard not to be blown away by the shapes and size of the rock formations

"Waters are much calmer on the return with the tide dropping"

Waters are much calmer on the return with the tide dropping

"Interesting geology in this area - and not far from the Joggins Unesco site"

Interesting geology in this area – not surprising since it’s close the Joggins UNESCO World Heritage site

"This was like an amphitheater at high tide"

This was like an amphitheater at high tide

"The water is quite the colour in the sunshine"

The water is quite the colour in the sunshine

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.

"Thankfully wheels were provided for our return at low tide"

Thankfully wheels were provided for our return at low tide

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 $95 per person though I was lucky enough to receive a discount.

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.

Have you ever been kayaking on the Bay of Fundy? in Nova Scotia or in New Brunswick?

Other posts related to my Nova Scotia trip you might like:

Leigh McAdam

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