For someone who is not a fan of water, I tend to do a lot of water sports. Dave loves the water, he’s a Pisces and can spend hours swimming in anything. He embraces high adrenaline sports like whitewater kayaking and river rafting while I tag along, swallowing my fear that has welled up like a lump in my throat. When we decided to go Tidal Bore Rafting in Nova Scotia, I knew it was something I’d love in the end, but I cannot lie, I was a bit nervous leading up to the event.
We were in Nova Scotia on a road trip around the Cabot Trail and along the Bay of Fundy. It is a beautiful part of the province. Last year we explored the South Coast and marvelled at Peggy’s Cove and Lunenburg and this year we were doubly excited to see the stunning cliffs and powerful force of the Bay of Fundy. One of the best things you can do to truly understand the power and magnitude of the world’s highest tides is to ride the waves as the tide comes in with brute force. And the way to do that is to go Tidal Bore Rafting.
Tidal Bore Rafting the Bay of Fundy
We arrived at the mouth of the Shubenacadie River at River Runner’s Tidal Bore Rafting adventures an hour early to prepare for our adventure ahead. They recommend showing up early to give plenty of time to change, sign your waivers, and gear up in rubber boots, rain gear and pfds (personal floatation devices). But most importantly, you couldn’t be late. The tide waits for no-one, so for those arriving even 15 minutes late, you’ll be left behind.
There was a large crowd gathering on the veranda and we were broken up into groups of eight where we followed our guide (aka zodiac captain) to the river where we got into the boats. We were heading down river to wait for the tide to come in. Our guide was Chelsea who has several years of experience tidal bore rafting and had a large and lovable personality. We knew we were in for an amazing time!
It started off calm enough. The tide comes in slowly at first so we made our way out to a sand bar where we walked in the centre of the river taking in the fact that within a few minute this will all be covered in water. We walked around for about 15 minutes before we were called back to our rafts for the thrill ride on the river.
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Once the water started covering the sand, it moved fast. Within minutes we were bouncing over our first set of rapids known as Giggles. It’s aptly named because as you bounce over the washing machine turbulent waters, you can’t help but giggle. We made pass after pass getting more and more wet as our laughter grew louder and louder.
Watch our Video of Tidal Bore Rafting
Tidal Bore Rafting wasn’t scary, it was pure fun! It was so much fun that I actually wanted bigger and faster waves to go through. I couldn’t wait to be bounced around more and more!
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Dave and I paddled earlier in the week on the Bay of Fundy and that water was cold. We were told that because 100 billion tons of water are churned up from the bottom of the bay twice a day every day, it never warms up. The freezing water from the lowest depths is always pulled up to the surface making swimming an unpleasant experience. I was a little worried about freezing on the river during our Tidal Bore Rafting experience, but the tide mixed with the warm river water and it was splendid.
I wasn’t cold at all. As a matter a fact, (I can’t believe I’m saying this) I was almost hoping we’d hit a rogue wave and go for an unexpected swim. Believe me, whenever we go whitewater rafting, the last thing I hope for is to fall out.
The cool thing about Tidal Bore rafting is that there are no rocks to worry about. Unlike whitewater rafting, if you fall in, you don’t have to worry about getting stuck on rocks, you can just float and enjoy the ride. Nobody fell in today though. Instead, we all had turns getting thoroughly soaked.
The tour went on for a couple of hours and definitely gave us our share of adrenaline. Each person took turns moving to the front of the zodiac to enjoy the rush of water from all directions. It was definitely more exciting up front. The murky water that is the colour of chocolate milk continually thrashes over the rubber edges giving you the soaking of your life. And a lot of gulping of salt water.
Chelsea navigated the river with ease, giving us directions to either move back closer to her to lighten the weigh up front, or to move forward once we made our way out of the churn and muck. We zipped around each bore again and again until the tide moved onto the next sand bar or obstacle. We followed the waves all the way up the river until we came to the bridge and the tide was fully in for the night.
After an exhilarating ride up river, we had the chance to relax on the way back, chat and take in the beautiful scenery as bald eagles flew overhead.
I have seen tidal bore rafting gain popularity in the past few years and always wanted to give it a try. I am so glad we did! When you go to Nova Scotia, you’ve gotta hop on the river too. Tidal bore rafting is fun for all ages. Whether you are an adrenaline junkie or a first time daredevil, this will give you the thrill you are looking for.
Tidal Bore Rafting can be booked at River Runner’s Tidal Bore Rafting
They offer accommodation in comfortable cottages close by, making for the perfect escape. You’re coming out of the tidal bore wet, covered in mud and sticky with salt water. While River Runner’s has hot showers and heated floors in their change rooms, there’s nothing better than taking the short two minute drive to your cottage where you can barbecue a fresh meal, enjoy a hot bath or shower and cozy up for the night under a thick blanket.
Our Tidal Bore Rafting Experience was courtesy of Nova Scotia Tourism who we went on assignment with to capture adventures and photography around Nova Scotia. Find out more about travel to Nova Scotia at VisitNovaScotia.com All opinions are our own.