Betsy’s “Ferry Tale” – Saint John, NB

We left the USA on a bright sunny morning and crossed the Canada border once again. This is Betsy’s eighth crossing into Canada.  Because we were weaving in and out of Canada a lot while on our Alaskan adventure, we have taken to counting our border crossings.  Now we’re taking Betsy into Canada on the other side of the country.  The officer at the border asked us the usual questions, and after giving him the right answers we were on our way!

Calais, ME
Non-event crossing at the Canadian border

A few kilometers later, we were welcomed to the province of New Brunswick, where we began to teach our brains – think kilometers, meters, liters, celsius, pricey diesel and a little French – no problem!

New Brunswick, Welcome sign

We traveled a few scenic miles to our destination, Hardings Point Campground, where Betsy would endure a short ferry ride to get to the park.  Unlike riding on the Alaska Marine Highway ferry, this ferry ride is cable driven, no charge, and only took five minutes. 

Ferry Crossing
Another ferry ride for Betsy.  She looks a little wide here, has she gained some weight?

We were assigned a spot on top of a hill with a minimal view of the river.  To get internet access we had to walk down to the office.  Check Steve’s park review here.

Hardings Point Campground

Obviously, we were excited to be in Canada again and started to plan things to do.  We received lots of recommendations and tips from our blogger friends and we wanted to experience as much as possible while here.  We left early morning the following day to catch the low tide at the Reversing Falls at Saint John.  That required another ferry ride to cross the channel, since our campground was located at the tip of the Kingston Peninsula.  But it was easy with the car.

Sunrise at Hardings Point
Sunrise at Hardings Point

Our first stop was to be at the foot of the Saint John river, from which we could get a front-row seat to observe the reversing direction of the river.  They call this phenomenon the “reversing rapids”,  when the world’s highest tides push in, rushing up and over the river.  They collide and the river actually reverses flow in the face of the unstoppable natural power.   We were advised that the reversal is best viewed during two stages of one tide cycle – near low tide and near high tide – every 6 hours or so.

Reversing Falls Welcome Sign
Can you see me?

It was low tide when we got there, and we saw the river flow on its normal course – freely out to the bay.  The bay tides continue to fall below the level of the river until the low tide is complete.  At this point the tidal waters are 14 ½ feet lower than the river.

Reversing Falls
At low tide – the river is flowing freely into the bay

We didn’t want to hang around for several hours waiting for high tide, so we headed out and our first stop was at the Wolastoq Park, which is just across the street.  It has one of the best views of the Reversing Rapids, the inner harbour and the city skyline of Saint John.  As we strolled along the walking paths, we learned about the history of the city and saw the many statues of some of the historical Saint John figures that have helped shape the city.

Wolastoq Park
Historical wooden sculptures are displayed along the pathway.
Saint John Skyline
Saint John skyline viewed from Wolastoq Park up on the hill

After our stroll we headed downtown, to where the cruisers from a Carnival Cruise ship were in town.

Saint John Waterfront

Saint John, New Brunswick
Architecture in the uptown area
Saint John City Market
The roof of the City Market is built like a ship’s inverted hull.
Public Library
At the Market Square
Saint John, NB
Mixture of old and new architecture

Near high tide, we went back to the Reversing Falls and observed that the flow of the river had reversed.  The push of the bay’s tides continued to high tide, causing the water to create rapids going upstream and pushing the 450-mile long St John River backwards for a period of several hours.  Cool!

Reversing Falls
Its high tide now -note the flow of the river has been reversed as the tide is pushing in.  Amazing!

After running around all day we headed home, taking the ferry again…

Ferry Ride at Hardings Point

Then the tired driver grabbed his favorite book…

Hardings Point Campground
Relaxing at the park

… while I enjoyed a fiery sunset by the river!

Sunset at New Brunswick
Fiery sunset




  1. So glad you got to witness the reversing falls. The mid period is also cool because all is equal and it looks like a lake with no movement. Another different phase of this cycle.

    Can’t wait to see where you land next!

    • We hope to make it to Canada one day and will, but not just yet.

      We just became TX residences since they have easier homeschooling laws and great tax breaks from WV. We had to take a written test for our class B license and now are waiting for the driving portion. Other than that, it was easy to become a Texan.

      Then we are going to KY for a few months for Misty to work at Amazon during the Christmas rush.

      Then hopefully we can get out west, to Canada, and finally to Alaska.

      Your travel experiences will be very helpful to us in the future.

      Don Lively

  2. That reversing tide phenomena is quite interesting … have heard of the wedding of the waters, but not this. More stuff to put on our list of must-see list.

  3. We missed the reversing tides…might have to go back!
    I loved walking in downtown St. John. Your pictures brought back lots of memories!
    Betsy sure looked great on the ferry.
    What a beautiful sunset!

  4. You really make me regret moving in a westerly direction without exploring all these places that you two are enjoying! Great post! Very interesting and beautiful.

  5. Great photos! I particularly liked the City Market and your fiery sunset shots. I think we are just going to use your blog to plan our travels next year. You are making it too easy for us. 😉

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