The Sea Caves of St. Martins
The Sea Caves of St. Martins
On our way to the Fundy Trail near St. Martins, New Brunswick, we had the unique
opportunity to explore some caves in the shoreline that had literally been
carved out of sandstone by the Bay of Fundy tides. The low tide, which
happened every thirteen hours or so, provided us with the only opportunity to
discover this beautiful phenomenon, and we were astonished to learn that these
caves, ever deepening, ever changing, and ever increasing in number, owed their
entire existence to the extraordinary tides. Without them, this entire region
might be completely unknown to tourists.
My only dilemma was that although the tide was low and we were able to walk way
out onto the ocean floor, we were still separated from the caves by a small
freshwater river. A St. Martian (an inhabitant of St. Martin) had thoughtfully
provided a plank to make the crossing possible, but the makeshift wooden bridge
had been used extensively and wasn't exactly in prime condition. It was covered
with brownish mud and greenish seaweed, and it sagged in the middle to the point
that if you found yourself brave enough to attempt the crossing, river water
would graciously wash the dust off of your feet!
Many tourists preferred to avoid this possible embarrassing crossing. After all,
it was impossible for anyone to help you out, unless that unfortunate person
already found himself bathing in the river! My family, consisting entirely of
daredevils, scampered over like mountain goats. They did graciously offer their
help before disappearing into the caves, but as I was carrying two cameras, and
besides, I generally prefer to take baths by myself, I turned them down!
Instead, I enjoyed walking along the length of the river!
When the "mountain goats" were all safely back in the van, we continued our trek
until we arrived at the Fundy Trail, an eleven-kilometer parkway along the Bay
providing a dozen lookouts and numerous trails, all designed for enjoying the
breathtaking splendors of the region. Along this trail, we were able to admire
the spectacular coastline with its pristine beaches, crystal-clear waterfalls,
gracious natural flower pots, and its intriguing foot suspension bridge.
At any time along the trail, we had the choice of walking along a footpath that
ran along the coastline the entire length of the road. We decided to try this
path when we arrived at the third lookout. My kids had found a sign directing us
to a beach, and they couldn't resist the temptation. As they, ever eager to
reach their destination, disappeared from view, I found myself facing the rigors
of crossing through the forest with only my wife to help. Many sections of our
trail had an incline of close to 90 degrees, and were, quite naturally, covered
with fresh mud. Yummy! Fortunately, someone had taken pity on the adult visitors
and had provided ropes. I can assure you that I was clinging onto these!
And so it was that we eventually reached the beach where our sons were waiting
for us. "What took you so long guys?" they asked.
"Oh, I was admiring the scenery!" I called out, then, muttering under my breath,
I added: "All the while clinging for dear live onto every rope, branch and tree
trunk I could find!"
To my dismay, there was a raging river separating us from the beach, our
ultimate destination, and this time, there wasn't even a slimy plank to make the
crossing easier! My wife and oldest son scooted across as if it weren't even
there, but my younger son had more compassion. He found a crossover full of
rocks and tree trunks, and leading me there, he proceeded to show me how to
cross. I tried to follow his example, but the tree trunk under my feet started
to rock! How would I ever reach the other side??? Before I knew it, my son came
back for me. Reaching out with his hand, he brought me safely to the other side
in one piece, and even with dry feet! Thanks to him I didn't have to find myself
traveling down the river, desperately clinging on a fallen tree trunk!
We enjoyed exploring this beach and even found another sea cave, one I could
proudly explore myself, thanks to the one who had saved my life and dignity. On
our way back, however, I found myself again in front of that raging river. And
this time the path my family chose consisted of a few sparsely-spaced,
I decided to display my courage to the world: "There is no way I can cross
these!" I called out.
"Trust me, papa!" called out my youngest. "Take my hand!"
This time however, I'm afraid I helped HIM! We BOTH found ourselves in the
river! Fortunately it was shallower and less wild than I had previously thought,
and our only consequence was to have to slush through the rest of our day in
water-filled shoes and slimy socks with our pants clinging to our legs. It is
interesting to see how colours change when they are wet, and although I felt
sorry for having drug my helper into the stream, we were doubled over with
laughter about the entire incident.
My son reminds me of the sea caves of St. Martin. Just like I was unable to
cross that raging river-okay, it was really a quiet stream!-safely by myself,
these caves would never have been formed without the help of the Fundy tides.
Often times we find ourselves in impossible dilemmas. Frustration mounts as all
of our own attempts are met with failure. How welcome is help when it is
I have learned that when I act independently and try to solve my problems on my
own, failure greets me with open arms. Frustration and stress render my life
miserable, and I feel as if I am drifting away in complete solitude, clinging
desperately to bare tree trunks with no hope in sight. However, if I depend on
the One who promised to always be there for me, all my life's dilemmas are
solved without my hair turning gray with worry.
He is faithful and He desires to help you. Accept His offer and take His hand.
He will help you reach the shore safely with a warm welcome and deep inner
peace. And also with dry feet!
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take
my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you
will find rest for your souls." (Matt 11:28-29 NIV)
"Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who
are being tempted." (Heb 2:18 NIV)