Famous Tides of Fundy


Brief reference is made in nearly all schoolbooks to the Bay of Fundy and its remarkable tides, but in none is justice done to the most remarkable manifestation of its kind in the world. Most notable of all its features is the reversible falls of the St. John River, near St. John, N.B. Imagine a perfectly placid surface of water, so placid that it mirrors all the surrounding shores, suddenly converted into a raging current and tumbling waterfall. Go to St. John, N.B., cross to the Carleton shore, walk a short distance along the latter and you need not imagine this phenomenon. You can see it with your own eyes if you reach the spot just before the change of the tide, says an eastern exchange.

The St. John River, or, rather, the harbor, contracts here to a beautiful rocky gorge, spanned by two handsome suspension bridges. Above this gorge the river broadens out again. But during the twenty-four hours there are only four intervals of twenty minutes each when shipping can pass through the gorge. On each change of the tide there is at slack water a period of twenty minutes during which the water in the gorge is on a level with that of the harbor and the river and perfectly placid. During those twenty minutes the shipping hurries through.

Suddenly, without the slightest warning, without so much as a tremble or quiver of the surface, a streak of white flashes across it and a second later a roaring waterfall and cataract is pitching headlong into the harbor from under the bridges if the tide be running out, and into the river above if the tide be on the flood. Such are the reversing falls of St. John River. It is doubtful if a more dramatic change occurs with such unvarying regularity anywhere else in nature. It is made all the more impressive by the beauty of the landscape. The suddenness with which this landscape, as reflected in the placid water, disappears, is like the ruthless smashing of a mirror.

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The Drinking Orchid
December 12, 1901

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