Monday 15th August

A muddy, salty, thrilling day. 13 of the team travelled up to the Shubenacadie River in order to commit Tidal Bore Rafting. Having fortified ourselves with hearty breakfasts, we nearly left a team member behind, something to do with jalapeno peppers. He was informed that “time and tide wait for no man.”

We had been informed that we would get wet and possibly very muddy. Understatement. The river upon arrivalthough a deep mud colour and was a relatively calm animal. We boarded the inflatable dinghy by negotiating the very slippery, muddy bank down to the water. Some managed this in a rather more dignified manner than others. Logic dictates a careful, controlled descent in order to avoid acquiring too much mud. Instinct suggested using the mud as a slide. Far easier, but rather dirtier though!

Initially, we gently motored up river through some very shallow water, around various mudflats.

Our “guide”, briefing us about how the bore is formed and the figures involved. The Bay of Fundy, to the North of Nova Scotia has more water flowing in and out than all the rest of the world's tidal rivers combined. There was a full moon last night, so the rise in the bay was a mere 60', whilst the rise in the Shubenacadie river was 26', leading to the world's most impressive tidal bore activity.

We 'parked up' on a large sandbar and viewed the approaching bore. There were a number of other inflatable boats on the river, appearing from various differing points. With astonishing speed, the bore, and with it the choppy water was upon us. We had been instructed on how to sit on the sides, using the grab rope to minimize the chance of being washed overboard. Initially, the slight chop on the water left us wondering what all the fuss was about. Those of us in the “senior” boat chuckling wryly at the playful antics of those in the “junior” boat, splashing each other, just to get wet...

The plan of action is to “chase” the bore up river. As the river narrows, the chop inevitably gets rather more impressive. It soon became obvious what the fuss was all about and why unsinkable dinghies are used. The boat was 16' long – the whole length was often on the waves, so we were hanging on fairly tightly as our vessel rose and plunged in the rapids caused by salt water pushing up river and meeting with fresh water still trying to flow down river. Those of us up front, often whilst airborne, were frequently able to very briefly anticipate the sensation of an imminent salt water, muddy, soaking as walls of brown water broke across the bows and into the boat to soak the rest of the occupants. Oftentimes, team members were literally washed off their seats and left sitting on the floor of the dinghy. One of our number,and we can only guess why, recalled a recent shopping trip for cheese crackers in South Africa. Their brand name was “Salticrax”.

Having negotiated the 16 footers, we meandered further upriver, gathering our wits, beginning to dry out somewhat. Once again, we found the bore, the waves were only about 9' or 10'  high, but much closer together. We got even wetter. There was often as much water in the boat as out. The GBRT Captain was heard to utter one or two salty, old Anglo Saxon expressions, unrepeatable here. I believe one rhymed with “rowlocks”, a suitable exclamation given the nautical context, I am sure you will agree.

By the time we returned to where we had slid down the river bank to board our boat, the water level had risen significantly. It was, however not enough to ensure a dignified climb through the very slippery mud up to solid ground, so all the mud that had been washed off by the river was reapplied once again. Should various baths, basins and washing machines in the hotel malfunction due blockage, it will be no surprise.