Saint John

Trip Start May 05, 2007
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Trip End Sep 02, 2007


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Where I stayed
Rockwood Park Campground

Flag of Canada  , New Brunswick,
Wednesday, July 25, 2007

After staying in the New River area the previous night I didn't have very far to travel and was inside the city fairly early in the day. However wanting to fully appreciate the reversing falls at both high and low tides I decided to hold off on this until the next day when I could work out the best times to see them and do other things in the waiting time between tides.
          I made my way to the Rockwood Park Campground which wasn't too far away from town and a short bike ride from the reversing falls.
Not wanting to do too much traveling in my RV, I planned to bike around the area for the majority of the activities. Seeing as I also had about a four hour window of opportunity when I was able to look between the tidal changes I held off on the activities downtown for the first day and planned them for when I was in the area.
This left me with an afternoon free to explore the immediate area surrounding the campground. Firstly though I sat down and planned the two days I was there for, making a call to the Moosehead breweries to see if I could arrange a free tour. I read in the 2007 edition of the CAA/AAA that they offered free tours of the brewery, but reservations were required. So thinking that this was a unique and free opportunity I planned to see this, however I got told that they had cancelled the tours four years ago. Apparently it had to do with the US department of homeland security wanting better quarantine for its imports, so facing not being able to export to the United States or improve better quarantine for the tour, Moosehead opted to close the tours.
A little disappointed in this new development, it meant however that I had more time to explore the city the next day. This also gave me the afternoon free to look around the immediate area, which was good because I was near Rockwood Park. Rockwood Park is an 870 hectare recreational area, with many lakes, biking/hiking trails, a golf course and at the top end a zoo!
 I thought bugger it, I'll go for a bike ride, it was hot enough and certainly close enough. I probably should have read some information about the park area beforehand, seeing as I charged off heading down a trail and continued to follow the trail before I knew where I was going. Turns out I chose the 15km trail with a one direction way, so I took a quick bike ride. It wasn't that bad, there was some really nice scenery and it was good to get out and bike in the sun (even if my legs and bike felt like it would explode - the bike isn't the best and constantly snaps up/down gears). I also saw some neat creatures, a snake, a froglet and a mole. After this I was ready to head for bed as I planned to get up and leave early to bike to the reversing falls to see the tide changes and downtown.
          The next morning I woke up around 07:30 to leave by 08:30 and see the high tide at 09:57. I wanted to get a look at both the high and low tides from the same area to put it in perspective. I underestimated how long it would take to get there without a map and I arrived in plenty of time (shortly after 9am). In this time I just hanged out at the Fallsview Park for half an hour or so to see what happened.
          To be truthful not a lot happened! The cormorants and gull herrings surfed the current, the water flowed through and the sun shone! High tide came and went and about 5mins before high tide the "Reversing Falls Jet Boat" carved it up. It looked pretty tame at this time, just skipping and turning on the inlet.
          After all the hype of seeing the reversing falls at high tide, I biked downtown to see the markets. The Saint John market place has an interior from 1876 and was modeled after a ship's hull. It also has fresh seafood, handmade crafts and eateries. Seeing as I was there around lunch time I couldn't pass up the opportunity of having a "jumbo" lobster roll. At $8.50 I thought it would be a little bigger than it was (especially considering it was called a jumbo roll, I'd hate to think what the regular size would be like).
          I continued to bike and look around the city before deciding to have a look at the place where the Moosehead breweries were located. I didn't get a chance to see the area where they brewed the beer, but they did have a gift shop which I had a look in. Satisfied in the fact that I gave it a go to look at the brewery (From my experience it is the only Canadian beer to be exported to Australia - CUB.) I headed back to the Fallsview Park area to see the low tide effects (after I had a traveler on the river though).
          Indeed the current had changed directions and there current was a lot faster and there were more rapids too! Again the jet boat was out and this time it was skipping across the water as well as plunging through the rapids and really going for it. After my long day of riding I was ready to head for the campground, however just before I left the area I thought to myself "bugger it" I won't get another chance like this for a while so I went on the jet boat. The ride lasted for a little over 20mins and at $38 it was a little expensive, but definitely worth it. Not only do you get to have insane fun that you probably wouldn't tempt yourself, but you get an informative explanation to what's going on.
          The quick run down for what occurs at the reversing falls is; at low tide the river descends into the ocean at a 137 wide gorge. For a period of twenty minutes during the transition between high and low tides a "slack tide" is created, this is when the river stops flowing and allows vessels to navigate through the area. At high tide the ocean rises upstream through the chasm and reversing the direction of the flow.
          That night I treated myself to an Atlantic salmon pâté with fresh cheeses and various meats, not a bad end after a long day of biking and baking in the sun (it feels so good and comforting to see it again!)
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