Walk on the bottom of the ocean? It sounds like a sci-fi movie, but it actually can be done if you visit the Hopewell Rocks on the Fundy Coast in New Brunswick, Canada.
The Bay of Fundy is a geographical wonder which boasts the highest tides in the world. The tidal waters, drawn by the moon and tide schedules, rush in twice a day to wash at the red sandstone rocks, carving them into unique formations also known as “Flowerpot rocks.”
The best part is that during low tides, for about six hours each day, you can walk down to the ocean floor which has been washed out. This is the same area where, a few hours later after the tide has rushed back in, you will be able to kayak on the surface of a deep ocean.
The park has a small visitor fee which is good for two days, so many people stay overnight in the area so that they can see high tide on one day, and then walk the ocean floor during low tide on the next day. Be aware that there is a long path (about 20 minutes walk) down to the ocean and then about 100 steps down to the muddy floor. There is a golf cart shuttle for those who need assistance walking down the path. Wear sturdy shoes, as the walking on the bottom is full of rocks and mud.
The entire Fundy Coast is full of striking vistas and craggy coasts, and a drive through the area is breathtaking. About an hour out of Moncton, the coastal drive is an easy way to dream the day away. There are countless hiking trails to explore, and for the less active there are areas to pull off and enjoy the long vistas of rocky clifts and rushing tides.
The first thing to do when you arrive at the Hopewell Rocks is to check the tide charts to see when the tides will rush back in. Friendly guides will “sweep” the floor area as the tides begin to rush in to ensure that no visitors are left on the floor when it fills with water. While the park allows visitors to explore the ocean floor during night hours, there are no lights.
Plan to spend a few hours walking the bottom of the ocean floor, but be careful to stay away from the areas of rocks that are marked as dangerous. Guides confirmed that there was a recent collapse of one area of a rock formation known as the “Big Elephant” during a heavy tide surge associated with a full moon.
After your visit to the rocks, drive slowly to the small fishing village of Alma (about 30 minutes) and have a coffee or lunch at the Octopus Cafe, which offers home made sweets and soup made from their garden.
The town of Saint John, New Brunswick, is about two hours from the rocks, and is a good area to explore the historical context of this area of Canada.