American Locations 27 – Eastport

This trip goes from Cincinnati, Ohio, to the Boston area, then up the New England coast all the way into Canada, then back through the Adirondacks to the Finger Lakes Region of upstate New York.

Finished hiking at Shackford State Park, we drove across Moose Island to the east shore, where we found a private campground (Seaview Campground) on the waterfront. It was beautiful.

There was a small island accessible only at low tide. This was part of the Bay of Fundy, which has those incredible tides that shoot up and down fifteen feet, for a full thirty-foot range, so you have to keep a close eye on them.

Across the bay was Canada.

Which was hard to see at times because of the fog.

This is looking back to the town of Eastport, on the American side.

At the campground there was a metal pier you could walk onto.

Which gave a good perspective of the campground. You can see our motor home peeking out above the black pickup pulling a large trailer, which is parked behind a red car. Our awning is out.

Both days we were there Canada was shrouded in fog.

A lot of birds (Canadian geese?) were in the water close to Canada.

Low tide at the campground.

See the end of the pier? It reaches the water at high tide.

What Canada looks like once the fog has lifted.

Another foggy morning.

Some people have to work in this. That is a shrimp boat going out.

While eating dinner in the campground’s restaurant I noticed a painting on the wall of a small boat caught in a whirlpool. I commented on it to our waitress, and she informed me there was an actual whirlpool in the Bay of Fundy. Intrigued, I Googled it and found this online article. The photo was downloaded from the Internet, as I have never actually seen the whirlpool (and hope I never do from this close vantage).


One of the most dramatic demonstrations of the power of the tides is found in the Western Passage of the Passamaquoddy Bay towards the mouth of the Bay of Fundy. “Old Sow” is the largest whirlpool in the western hemisphere, the second largest in the world – second only to the Maelstrom Whirlpool of Norway.

Old Sow Whirlpool can be seen from the shores just off the southwestern tip of Deer Island, New Brunswick, toward Eastport, Maine, on the incoming tide; however, on the outgoing tide it occurs (and is generally less pronounced) to the south of Deer Island, near Indian Island, NB.

This powerful whirlpool is formed when the rising tide passes both sides of Indian Island, takes a sharp right turn around the southern tip of Deer Island to flood the Western Passage. A current of over 6 knots (11 km/hr or 6.9 mi/hr) has been experienced off Deer Island Point. In addition to the waters pressing through the narrow straight, the waters are forced along the peaks and valleys of the ocean floor – a trench as deep as 122 meters (400 feet), followed by a reduction in water depth to 36 meters (119 feet) and again followed by a depth of over 107 meters (350 feet). The current of inflowing tributaries within the Passamaquoddy Bay add to the already busy waters.

Old Sow gets its name, not from the sound, but (although the origin of the name is unknown) most likely from the word “sough” (pronounced “suff”). The meaning of sough is: a type of drain or a sucking sound. It is plausible that, long ago, people referred in writing to the whirlpool as a sough, and those not familiar with the word, but familiar with “plough,” mispronounced it as “sow” rather than “suff,” and the name stuck.

Old Sow is reported to be most active about 3 hours before high tide. This activity continues for about two hours and takes the form of a collection of small gyres, troughs, spouts and holes and on the rare occasion will form one large funnel. This area, which has been reported to be as wide as 76 meters (250 feet) in diameter, can best be described as turbulent water. However, during spring tides (high water tide caused by a full or new moon) combined with high winds or a tidal surge will increase Old Sow’s activity causing more intense funnels and formations.

After 2 days here, we packed up and drove into the town of Eastport.

Next Location – Eastport 2

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s