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Old 25-03-2019, 08:35   #1
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Experiences with St. John Reversing Falls, Bay of Fundy

Hello All,

I'm looking for some supplementary knowledge regarding transit of the St. John Reversing Falls (in the Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick, Canada). I have a good cruising guide and the sailing directions and I've sailed in the Bay of Fundy multiple times before, just never into the St. John River. We're coming from New York in July, stopping in Nantucket or Provincetown, then across the Gulf of Maine to Grand Manan where we'll clear customs, then heading to St. John to wait for the right moment for transit. We'll contact Fundy Traffic for the latest schedule of slack at the falls, but I still have some general questions...

-Most resources mention going through at the slack following low tide, during flood. Is there any reason that the slack on the ebb is not as advisable?

-The docks at Market Square sound pretty bad and might be either filled up or too small for me to get a safe spot. Any other options that people know of for a place to wait, other than circling around for hours in the harbor?

-Any recommendations for good spots once we're inside on the St. John River? At some point we'll need groceries, laundry, and maybe a place for someone catch a cab to the airport. But most of all we want some beautiful spots to make the visit worth the trouble. We'll probably spend about 5 days in there. I don't want to rush so we probably won't get up as far as Grand Lake.

Any experiences, tips, favorite spots, contacts, or anything else would be most greatly appreciated!

Jack
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Old 25-03-2019, 10:51   #2
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Re: Experiences with St. John Reversing Falls, Bay of Fundy

I’ve not cruised on the St. John river but I have some experience with the area. Both the Royal Kennebeccasis Yacht Club and the Rothsay Yacht Club are pretty close to the the city and grocery stores. Easy cab ride. The airport is a little further but not too bad. It’s not a big city.
I’ve never made the passage over the falls but I’d want to have the water rising and giving me a push than the other options. It’s rather nasty in the “off”times!
I think Gagetown would be a nice stop. It’s a very small and quaint village with a spot to tie up or anchor. It’s got a nice pub.
Hopefully more experienced locals will show up to offer more. Good luck!
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Old 25-03-2019, 11:57   #3
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Re: Experiences with St. John Reversing Falls, Bay of Fundy

Market Square wharf is fine, just tie up anticipating the 14' tide swing. Theodore the Tugboat may be taking up a lot of room if it's back this summer. Grand Bay, once inside falls and upstream beyond channel, offers several places to stop. Pushing upstream to Gagetown is a long day of motoring. Just inside the falls is the power boat squadron where you can wait for tide change on way back out. Since I only sail inside the bay I'll let others pipe up on best transit time, it's done on ebb or flow. It's not a physical waterfall, rocks etc, it's out rush over in rush or vice versa that creates the waterfall effect.
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Old 26-03-2019, 02:57   #4
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Re: Experiences with St. John Reversing Falls, Bay of Fundy

I wasn’t suggesting Gagetown as a first stop; it was in reference to the OP’s request for suggested spots to see.
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Old 26-03-2019, 09:16   #5
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Re: Experiences with St. John Reversing Falls, Bay of Fundy

We spent 10 days up in the St John river last summer and it was wonderful. Highly recommend it. Don't miss Kingston Creek as a stopover.
Regarding the reversing falls, just listen to the Fundy Traffic vhf channel and go when they tell you. You have 20-30 minutes of easy passage time and it takes 5-10 minutes to from the harbor to the falls.
KBYC is the best stop, especially on Thursday night when they have the buffet.
Happy Sailing.
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Old 26-03-2019, 09:29   #6
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Re: Experiences with St. John Reversing Falls, Bay of Fundy

Second the suggestion for Kingston Creek in Belle Isle Bay as a great stop after the RKYC. Also dinner ashore at Gullivers in Gagetown.
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Old 26-03-2019, 12:00   #7
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Re: Experiences with St. John Reversing Falls, Bay of Fundy

This is great info, thanks all. Gagetown could be a good final destination given our time frame, and I'd heard good things about RKYC so it's good to have that confirmed.

As shoalcove pointed out, it would be nice to go in on the flood since it would give us a push after we're through rather than suck us back out (if we're behind schedule). But since we're coming from the south (about 40 miles from Grand Manan) we'll be riding the flood tide up there, presumably getting to the harbor around high tide, and the next slack would be on the ebb. Based on CaptainLen's stated timing, it shouldn't be a problem regardless and I don't mind staying the night at Market Square, but I want to know what my options are before getting there. Plus I just looked up a picture of Theodore the Tug and I can't imagine a friendlier looking boat to raft up with
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Old 26-03-2019, 12:21   #8
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Talking Re: Experiences with St. John Reversing Falls, Bay of Fundy

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This Rev.Falls slacks table link will start working later in the spring.
7 days Tidal Predictions - Tides, Currents, and Water Levels


Tide Tables for Grand Manan & Saint John. (Locals use SJ tables for G.M. as there is only 13min.difference)
http://www.waterlevels.gc.ca/eng/station?sid=65




http://www.smartatlantic.ca/saintjohn/buoy.php




Plan on departing North Head,G.M. 2 hrs. before low tide. This gives you less than the last two hrs. of Fundy ebb to buck & a full 6hrs of flood to assist you. The distance from N.H. to Market Slip is approx. 50nm. It takes me 7hrs to make the trip. Don't bother to try to run a XTE line. The flood tide will set you northward towards the N.B. shore some. The tide runs faster in that sweep.
Plan on motoring the whole trip,or motorsailing. The prevailing SW breeze doesn't start til near 11AM.

Just set your course from Swallowtail Light directly to the S.J. Fairway buoy & the tide will look after the rest.

When you reach the western edge of the harbour(off Lorneville),you can save time by cutting across the large "anchorage" & making directly for the channel just east of Partridge Isl.


Market Slip is OK during during daylight & it is accepted practice to raft against other boats at the floating slip,while waiting for slack,or you can just drift in the harbour-it's not normally busy.



It is sad that the city doesn't provide some yacht facilities along that waterfront.Market Slip is central to the bars,market & uptown SJ. Oh well.


You can go thru the Falls up to an hr. or so after slack-IF the current is running WITH you. It's "interesting".


Remember-If you are late leaving G.M.I. & late for the slack,you will be waiting for another 6 hrs.


The trip back from S.J. to G.M. should be made on the Fundy ebb if possible. I have managed that in 6hrs (speeds over 10kts in my 6kt hull).
If you make the return in the afternoon,expect up 15- 25kts on the nose-wet but kinda fun-or you can come down along the N.B. shore & duck into Dipper or Beaver Hbr.
Expect some nasty wind & tide stuff off Pt. Lepreau if you follow the N.B. shore.


Tel # for berth @ N.H. 506-662-8482


Enjoy your trip/ Len
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Old 26-03-2019, 14:03   #9
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Re: Experiences with St. John Reversing Falls, Bay of Fundy

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Old 10-04-2019, 07:31   #10
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Re: Experiences with St. John Reversing Falls, Bay of Fundy

I forgot to say thanks, Deblen! This is super specific and helpful info.
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