|Burncoat Head - home of the five story tide - Tuesday, September 23
Our next destination is Halifax, and since Heinz and Heidi have already been there they drew up a nice map for us. They showed how to get to several of the places they enjoyed, and it will save us a lot of time and trouble when we get there. We had another nice visit with them before they left for the day, and they are so nice we were really sorry to see them go.
We spent another hour taking advantage of the campground’s WiFi, then we got on the road too and headed west. The plan was to drive along the south shore of Cobequid Bay, a body of water that branches off the end of the Bay of Fundy, and follow it west to the Avon River, then turn south and cross the peninsula to Halifax. The drive was easy and relaxing until Madolyn yelled “Turn right!” She had spotted the sign to Burncoat Head Lighthouse and Park.
I managed the turn without rolling the RV, and what should we see in the parking lot but a familiar white van which we recognized immediately. Looking toward the water we saw two figures walking along the cliffs and sure enough, one of them was wearing a bright red jacket. We took off for the cliffs ourselves, knowing it was only a matter of time until we ran into our friends from Hamburg again.
A word about why we are here:
Burncoat Head is the tide seeker’s Mecca. It is the place where the world’s highest recorded tides occur. Since August when we traveled the New Brunswick shores of the Bay of Fundy, we have been witnessing higher and higher tides, and ever greater and more interesting evidence of tidal phenomena. We’ve seen sea caves and reversing falls, Hopewell Rocks and ‘The Bore’ - but this is where you come for the ultimate ‘hydrological experience’. Here the tides reach an astounding 16.6 meters. For the metrically challenged that is about 54 feet or the height of a five story building!
Tidal action here is governed among other things, by the phases of the moon. Extreme tides (called spring tides) occur when the moon is either full or new. When the moon is mid phase, as it is now, the tides are lower and less spectacular. These are called neap tides, and are the tidal version of ‘the common man’.
Heinz has been a student of tidal action for years, and what began as a hobby has turned into a passion. He now teaches a class at the university, and while he is a modest and soft spoken man his knowledge and expertise on the subject are evident. At home Heidi accompanies him on visits to the tidal zones of the Elbe River, and she is a knowledgeable observer as well.
We explored the tidal zone of the head for nearly two hours. The tide that was outgoing when we got there finally slowed to a stop and began to flow once more. We took some pictures of each other on a low point, and by the time we had stood and talked for a few minutes the point was already beginning to flood. Heinz talked about his studies, and plans to build sand bars to slow the erosion on the Elbe. He explained the formation of the various sand patterns, and we were extremely fortunate to be in the company of such people as he and Heidi.
Back on top we said another goodbye, and each one gets harder. We will really miss Heinz and Heidi, and we are so grateful to have had the opportunity to share these adventures with such fine friends. They are flying home tomorrow, and we will say a little prayer for their safe return home.
We finally found a good cell signal in the Burncoat Head parking lot, and we called the Ford dealer in Halifax and made an appointment to have the RV serviced on Friday. That gives us two days to find something to do while we wait. We decided to continue on toward Halifax, knowing there will be plenty to do once we get there. The drive was a pleasant one, and we arrived at a nice campground in the little coastal town of Hubbards. We are still 30 kilometers from Halifax and near Peggy’s Cove which we want to explore tomorrow.
We are through with extreme tides for the moment. We'll come in contact with them again. In fact next week we will cross the Bay of Fundy on the ferry, but we have climbed the mountain and nothing we see in the future will equal the experience we had today.