Kayaking on the Hudson

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Hopewell Rocks, New Brunswick

My wife, Andrea, paddling Hopewell Rocks
We had heard about the tremendous 30 to 40 foot tides in the Bay of Fundy, so while we were vacationing in Maine, we decided to drive up to New Brunswick and see for ourselves.  Every brochure you’ll see for New Brunswick shows the Hopewell Rocks.  So, we decided we had to paddle them.  The Hopewell Rocks are a series of “flower pots” – very big, tall rocks that stand out in the water offshore and have arches and tunnels carved by the water.  The location is in a park with an interpretive center and nature trails.  This means that access is restricted so we did have to pay the entry fee for the park ($8 each).  I’m not one for paying to paddle, but this experience is definitely worth the price of admission.  

Paddling amongst the flower pots
Once we checked in and signed a waiver form, we were shown a nice little beach where we could launch from that was right next to the “rocks.”  We bumped into the guys from Baymount Outdoor Adventures- the local guide company.  They were extremely helpful and told us all about where we should launch, the tides, conditions, etc.  They even offered the use of their hose to clean our boats when we were done! Everyone in Canada is so nice!    We launched just before high tide.  The tide is so severe that while we were getting in our boats, the tide crept about 15 feet up the beach- in just 10 minutes!  We paddled out to the Hopewell Rocks, and we were not disappointed.  Paddling among these giant rocks, we ducked into caves and crevices –some so narrow that we had to use our hands to push along the rocks. 

 After about an hour, we returned to find the beach was completely gone!  As we landed among the sea grass on the shore we were treated to the sight of several hundred thousand shore birds flocking on the shore.  At first we thought the crowds of people with cameras were watching us, until we found out that we had inadvertently planned our paddling on the peak day of the birds’ migration.  We also managed to be there for the highest tide of the year.  How’s that for a lucky break?  

 Of course, if you paddle the Hopewell Rocks, you have to go back and see them at low tide.  Since the admission to the park is good for two days, we came back the next morning (the lowest tide of the year) and walked on the ocean floor – looking up some 20 feet at where we had paddled the day before! 

This trip is a very easy paddle, unless the wind kicks up.  The distance is very short, but you could spend hours exploring the coast line.  It’s definitely worth the trip and it is only ½ hour drive from Fundy National Park.

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