Home » 2004 Maritime Provinces Road Trip

Old Sow / Deer Island, NB

Tuesday, July 13, 2004 - 11:30am by Lolo
8 miles and 0.25 hours from our last stop - 1 night stay


After disembarking the ferry from Campobello Island, we turned left and were almost immediately at our destination for the night—the Deer Island Point Campground—Home of the Old Sow. Sounds pretty inviting doesn’t it. When I first starting planning our trip to the Maritimes, Herb told me he wanted to see the Old Sow. I think I responded with a blank stare, not having the slightest clue as to what he was talking about. thinking he was referring to a dairy animal or an old girlfriend.

Camping at Deer Island PointCamping at Deer Island PointFor those as uninformed as myself, the Old Sow just happens to be the largest tidal whirlpool in the entire Western Hemisphere, and the best place to view it was from this very campground. Wanting to get the most out of our Old Sow experience, we bypassed the electrical campsites and chose to perch ourselves in an open area on the bluff overlooking the Bay of Fundy. Now we just had to wait for the tide to come in—the best viewing is 3 hours before high tide.

The weather was pretty miserable—cold, damp, and foggy—exactly what we feared. I had had a hard time convincing the family about taking a trip to the Maritimes in the first place—they had all wanted to go out West where it was hot and dry. Now they were totally convinced that we would be spending 3 precious summer vacation weeks in winter jackets. To add to the mood, Herb started playing some Celtic CDs that made me feel like we were on the moors of Scotland. I, however, thought it was kind of cozy.

The first indication that the whirlpool was starting to form was increased bird activity on the water. Then gradually a very large circle of turbulent water formed. It wasn’t quite as dramatic as I thought it would be—I think I pictured the motion of water rushing down a drain pulling everything along with it. This was a bit more subtle, but still pretty cool.

We spent a cozy night back in the RV reading, playing cards, and listening to Herb’s Celtic music. Hopefully, the weather will improve tomorrow.


Deer Island, the smallest of the Fundy Islands, is located just northwest of Campobello Island between Maine and the province of New Brunswick. Access to the island is via a toll ferry (East Coast Ferries) from either Campobello Island or Eastport, Maine, or a free government-run ferry from L'Etete on the New Brunswick mainland.

The island is a naturalist's paradise with many opportunities to whale and bird watch. Scuba diving, canoeing, kayaking, and hiking along the beautiful woodland and beach trails are also popular activities on the island. There are numerous quaint fishing villages along the island's coast, which are the centers for the island's herring, lobster, and salmon fisheries.

Perhaps the biggest tourist attraction on Deer Island is the Old Sow, the largest tidal whirlpool in the Western Hemisphere. The best way to view the Old Sow is from the Deer Island Point Campground on the southwestern end of the island, 3 hours before high tide.

The Deer Island Point Campground has open sites along the top of a cliff overlooking the Old Sow. The campground is surrounded on three sides by the Bay of Fundy and has spectacular views of its swirling tides.

Old Sow / Deer Island location map

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