St. Martins Sea Caves, New Brunswick
The sea caves of St. Martins were one of the places recommended to me by the incredibly friendly people in the Saint Stephens visitor center. These shallow caves are being continually molded by the power of the Bay of Fundy, carved by each high tide cycle. This will come up again and again during the next few weeks of blog posts, but as an introduction, the Bay of Fundy has the highest recorded tides in the world: Over fifty vertical feet is recorded regularly along the bay. The tides here transform – in a very literal sense – the appearance of the shore twice a day, draining impossible volumes of water out to the Atlantic and leaving half mile stretches of ocean floor exposed before rushing back in twelve hours and twenty-five minutes later. Each tide cycle brings in 160 billion tons of water into the bay resulting in all sorts of uncommon phenomena such as tidal bores (walls of water), rapids, and tides that – near extremes – will change by a foot per minute. It is not only possible but common to watch the tide rise before your eyes. The power of the water in the Bay of Fundy is incredible and something I will be commenting on a lot since tides dictated many of my shoreline excursions.
At St. Martins, the force of the water has eroded both the Triassic red sandstone of the Honeycomb Formation as well as the coarse gray conglomerate Quaco formation, sculpting fantastic depressions in the rock. I visited about two and a half hours prior to low tide and was able to cross a stream to get inside the shallow caves; at or near high tide they become completely filled. It was pretty great being able to climb inside the caves and inspect the rocks and algae that spend half the time underwater. Examining the various rocks was really interesting and just walking on the beach and enjoying the view made it a fantastic stop.