National Geographic : 1957 Aug
nomenal heights. It is much like a child in a swing: even a small push, timed at the right moment, sends the swing higher and higher. The result is a force of gigantic propor tions. An estimated 200 million horsepower is at work in Fundy's daily surges, a tempt ing prospect for engineers who dream of harnessing this enormous energy. Schemes for a tidal power plant on Passamaquoddy Bay, between Maine and New Brunswick at the mouth of the Bay of Fundy, have been discussed since a far-sighted summer resident, Dexter P. Cooper, conceived the idea in 1919. Sea Gates May Trap Daily Floods At Passamaquoddy, if a continuing United States-Canadian study proves the plan prac ticable, huge gates swung by the sea may someday trap tidal waters in a natural island studded reservoir. Channeled through great penstocks to an adjacent basin, kept at low tide level by other gates, the water would power hydroelectric generators with an out put a third that of Hoover Dam. Driving northeastward from Digby, we got only occasional glimpses of Fundy's waters. Through miles of green forest and rich Nova Scotia farmland the road offered us no trace of seascape. Then suddenly we would cross a weathered bridge and see an inlet below.* At the port of Windsor we found that ebb tide had created a great waterless harbor. Wharves towered high and dry above mud flats that denied all kinship with the sea. We stopped at the Canadian customs house to check on the arrival of some scientific equipment I was expecting. As a biologist, I was eager to gather specimens of mud from these shores, since the microorganisms here, exposed alternately to sea and to air, were adapted to an environment I had not previ ously examined. Farther along, at Walton, we saw two cargo ships tied up to the wharf by sturdy hawsers. But not a trace of water was there to support their strangely tall hulls; their keels rested bare upon a wooden platform. The port was a basin of mud (page 163). "Bremen, and Bergen," said my wife, read ing the German and Norwegian home ports lettered on the ships' sterns. * See "Salty Nova Scotia," by Andrew H. Brown, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, May, 1940.