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World’s Highest Tides Explained

Updated: Apr 28, 2023

Having grown up spending our summers playing on the beaches here, it’s always funny to see these words: The Bay of Fundy is a natural wonder. To us it was our beach, but to the rest of the world…natural wonder! Who knew?

It’s like having a childhood friend who becomes Brad Pitt. But now, as an adult, I am as awed by our incredible tides as is the rest of the world.

Allow me to unravel just how much of a wonder it is and why.

Bay of Fundy Basics

Located on Canada’s Atlantic coast, the Bay of Fundy spans the provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and a small part of Maine in the United States.

Its tidal ranges are a staggering 6 times higher than the average tidal range elsewhere in the world. With ranges of up to 10 meters (that’s 32 feet for Americans reading this)

Why Are the Bay of Fundy Tides So High?

According to science, the Bay of Fundy's tides are caused by a combination of three factors.

Factor 1

1. The bay's funnel-like shape causes water to be forced into a narrower area, creating a tidal bore which rises and falls five feet every hour. 160 billion tons of seawater to be precise. That’s more than the combined flow of all the rivers on the planet and if you want another visual, close your eyes and imagine the Grand Canyon full of water, it’s more than that.

Factor 2

2. The area’s geography also plays a part.

The bay is bounded by steep cliffs and rocky shores, which create natural barriers that trap the water in the bay. As the tide rises, the water is forced into a smaller and smaller area, causing it to rise even higher. This process, known as resonance, amplifies the height of the tides, making them much higher than they would be otherwise.

Factor 3

3. And finally, the bay's location on the Atlantic coast means that it is subject to the ocean's gravitational pull, which causes tides to rise and fall twice a day.

Ecosystem Impact

The Bay of Fundy's tides have a significant impact on the surrounding ecosystem. The rise and fall of the tides create a unique intertidal zone, where marine life has adapted to survive in constantly changing conditions.

This zone is home to a wide variety of plants and animals, including seals, crabs, sea stars and seaweeds.

The bay is also an important feeding ground for migratory birds and marine mammals, such as whales and dolphins.

How To Experience The Bay of Fundy

There are many ways to experience the tides, including kayaking, whale watching, hiking along the bay's many trails, or by enjoying our favorite spot: St. Martins. The tide is constantly shifting in our little village providing a look at the tides all day long.

The Fundy Trail Parkway and its many impressive overlooks and gorgeous hikes is a ten-minute drive from our inn and is a superb way to experience to see the tides in action.

Many of our guests simply spend their time walking St. Martins’ crescent beach and exploring our undiscovered coastline, ending the day with their feet up at one of our fire pits with a cocktail in hand.

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