Hey! You have to see this…
Rafting the tidal bore was something I'd never heard of until a couple of weeks before our Nova Scotia trip. I still didn't quite understand what it was until we arrived at Wild Waters Rafting, but it turned out to be one of the highlights of an already amazing anniversary celebration!
What is the tidal bore?
The tides in the Bay of Fundy rise so high and fast that they flood into the Shubenacadie River twice each day with enough power to reverse the river's current. You can actually see the higher water of the tide flow into the lower water of the river. It's mind boggling. The tide's current and river's current hit each other and the river's sand bars to create huge rolling waves.
Here is a photo of the tide rolling in.
Rafting the Tidal Bore
Our raft had a motor and we didn't have to paddle. We rode to the mouth of the river and then followed the tide in to catch the waves. When we found a set of big waves, we rafted through them and then motored back to ride them again. We followed the tide down the river for about 3 hours, chasing the rapids.
Bald eagles nest all along the river and we spotted at least a dozen eagles during our trip.
Wild Waters is one of several rafting companies on the Shubenacadie River. Tours are booked during daylight hours depending on the timing of the tide. The full moon and new moon weeks have bigger tides and waves, which are marked on Wild Waters' tide calendar.
I was surprised that we were the only out-of-towners on our trip. The other groups – two couples and a family with kids around the same ages as ours – were all locals. Several of them had done it before and were excited to experience this unique rafting experience again.
Full trip vs Half trip
We were on the full trip. The difference is that the full trip is longer and goes farther down the river. By the end of the trip, everyone in our boat was exhausted, but happy. All trips include a BBQ meal of local, organic steak or chicken with tossed salad and roll at the end.
It was nearly 6 hours from the time we arrived to the time we left, with about an hour on both ends at Wild Waters HQ. We had plenty of time to change clothes and sign waivers at the beginning of the trip. At the end, we showered, changed and ate dinner at Wild Waters.
Don't miss the mud!
There is a mud bank near the bridge and observation deck for the Fundy Tidal Interpretive Centre in South Maitland. We stopped there to play in the mud for a few minutes just before our return. The mud is smooth, sticky and deep. It eats shoes and jewelry. When wet, it was like sliding on chocolate pudding into the river.
There was a family playing nearby and the kids were covered in mud from head to toe. They looked like bronze statues come to life.
What is the right age for kids?
Our guide told us that weight and attitude are more important than age. Fifty pounds is the minimum weight. The heavier you are, the steadier you and the raft will be. Good news for me!
An adventurous spirit is a must for all ages. Getting hit in the face with muddy water and hanging on for dear life isn't fun for everyone. Our guide had seen a 6-year-old who loved the big waves and a 12-year-old who hated them.
What to pack
You'll be soaked and muddy from head to toe by the end of the trip. Hats, sunglasses, shoes, jewelry or electronics that are not securely attached to your body and water proofed may be lost or damaged. Anything white will be stained. We both wore old t-shirts and swim trunks. We threw them all in the trash before we left Wild Waters.
Wild Waters will provide life jackets and rain gear. It was a warm day, so nobody used the rain gear on our trip.
Wild Waters has showers, flush toilets and changing rooms, so bring a towel, change of clothes, soap and shampoo for after the trip. Leave jewelry, electronics and valuables behind. Store your car keys behind the desk at Wild Waters.
Good to Know
Where: 3764 Riverside Road, Princeport, Nova Scotia. It's 20-30 minutes west of Truro, on a dirt road not far off the highway. They have signs and we had no trouble finding it, but make sure you give yourself a little extra time to find your way.
When: May-October. Tour times change daily, depending on the tide. Check the website for tour times.
How Much: Full trip – $95, Half trip – $72. Take $5 off for kids under age 12. Don't forget cash to tip your guide!
How Long: 3+ hours for full trip. 1.5+ hours for half trip.
Amenities: Restrooms, showers, changing rooms, parking, rain gear, life jackets, dinner included
Disclosure: Wild Waters Rafting hosted us on this trip for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own.
How else can we help?
Need a rental car? Unless you have a friend in Nova Scotia, you'll probably need a rental car. Wild Waters is 60-90 minutes' drive from the airport and Halifax. We used an early payment discount at Budget.
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