and the campground itself is hard to get hold of by phone from the states and they don't have much in the way of directions on their webpage and we think this is a terrible way to do business but after looking around and around and around for a LONG time, we find the campground and it turns out that it just doesn't occur to them to have maps or directions or anything because they are full to capacity nearly every night with people who are regulars.
in the morning for the first time on the trip we do not have to strike camp but instead just go out for the day.
out for the day, in this case, means going on the guided kayak tour at hopewell rocks provincial park. they have these incredible rock formations that are casued by tidal erosion and they also have that incredicble bay of fundy tide.
here's a cool timelapse of the tide at the park.
the kayak tour takes you through the rock formations at high tide, which is pretty amazing.
if you want, you can wander around on the ocean floor during the time is out if you're at the park that long. some people come in on tour busses to the lower parking lot, spend two minutes looking over the railing and then move on. they check it off their list, i guess.
i don't get that.
then again, i have been known to lie in a rest area parking lot for an hour to get just the right picture of a periwinkle because that's just as good a use of my time as rushing from place to place.
anyway, we get into the park and get our bearings and have time to look around a little bit but mostly we just check in at the kayak tour operator. i've seen pictures from this tour and put it on my list of cool things i'll never get to do, but at $60 a person it's affordable and yes, it is every bit as spectacular as you might have heard.
no, wait. it is MORE spectacular.
and the guides are very pleasant and super competent. barb and i are paddlers, but we mostly paddle flatwater or small rapids on small rivers. we have never been in a sea kayak, nor paddled on the ocean.
the tour, however, is designed so that anyone who can get in the boat and follow instructions can do it.
after a little paddle instruction, they take you down to the beach and tell you to sit in the boats. at first i think we are just trying out the boats and that we will be getting out again to launch them, but then i realize: by the time the guides get done with their instructions, the tide will have come in and WE WILL BE AFLOAT!
the guides are expert in shepherding people along and they will give very specific instructions if they have to ("left paddle! left foot!"). mostly, though, you don't notice the closeness of their supervision, which is a real art in the adventure guiding business.
after the tour we talk for a while with the tour operator and he tells us about his business philosophy, which attempts to balance adventure for fit people with making sporting adventures available to people who are not yet or not anymore fit. his background is in physical education, so that makes sense.
if you can provide a sporting adventure that average joes and janes can do, a couple of different things will happen. one of those things is that you have a potential of selling more tickets. the other is that you have the ability to get average joes and janes interested in this lansdcape, this sport, and maybe take this spark of interest home with them.
the tour operator also tells us where good mountain biking is to be had (which it turns out we do not have time for) and in the tour shack they give us advice about where to go for dinner and where to go to see the tidal bore.
we go have lunch in the park and wash up and change shoes (the park is full of baths where you can wash your feet or shoes) and then after a little while the stairs open up and we can walk along the beach.
|in the sea cave|
it's like being explorers on new land, because as the tide recedes little by little there is new beach you can walk on. if you are brave and don't mind wading into the outgoing tide, you can look into the next cove that will open up before anyone else gets there.
the one beach by the stairs is always the most crowded, and as the tide goes out the people begin to spread out to the other coves.
there's a sea cave in some of the rocks and you have to climb up and squeeze in to find it. i'm sure it gets "found" every time the tide goes out but it is like a brand new discovery.
we "discover" all the coves around to the escape tower and we walk back up to the visitor center by way of demoiselle beach, and head off to dinner.
in case you haven't seen it, or want to see it again, the full photo set is here.