What to Expect
Customers are advised to be at base camp one hour before departure. A change of clothes is recommended, as you will get wet! Before the trip begins, each rafter will sign a waiver, be issued floatation vests, rain gear and boots if necessary. Rafters are then instructed as to where they will board the boats (wharf) and be divided into groups. The guides will then give safety instructions and a description of the trip. Before departure all safety gear will be checked.
As the tide begins to rise the current will increase, the boats will head up river ahead of the advancing tide to a narrow spot to wait for the tidal bore to form (the point where out flowing river water and incoming tide water meet) which can be a swell or breaking wave. The boats will meet this wave head on. When they hit the bore, the boat will rise up on top. How wet the customer gets, is dependent on how large the bore is at the time. After hitting and riding the bore the boat will wait a few minutes for the water to rise enough to cover the sand bars, which take up approximately 80% of the river bed on low tide. Usually Bald Eagles can be observed for these few quiet minutes.
Once the sand bars are covered, the speed of the water flowing over them causes great areas of rapids which can cover 100 acres at a time. The height of the rapids or waves can range from a calm few feet to well over 10 feet. these rapids are caused by sand bars, not rocks, the trips are very safe, if someone happens to fall over there are no rocks to get injured upon. There are 8-10 sets of these rapids which last about 15 minutes each. Once the water becomes more than 15 feet deep the sand bars do not influence or restrict the flow of water over them. Once one set of rapids begins to subside the boats will travel up river to another area where the tide is just beginning to rise and another set of rapids is forming. This cycle is repeated 8-10 times.
Between each set of rapids eagles nests can be observed and historic areas will be explained (i.e.: Acadian dykelands, North America’s first cantilever bridge, portion of the Shubenacadie Canal, native history, as well as the geological aspects of rock formations and the 200 foot sedimentary cliffs on each side).
Once most rapids have been encountered the boats will pull over to a sand bar so rafters can get out to stretch their legs on the hard packed sand in the center of the river, but only for a few minutes since the tide is still rising very fast. After their rest, the boats head back to the mouth of the river on the calm deep water of the incoming tide. The tide at this part of the Bay takes approximately 3 1/2 hours to rise up to 45 feet.
What to Bring: