We had a boat trip booked into the Falls at 9:30am so we left our hotel at 8:15am. It was about a 30 minute drive to the falls. Waze directed us to the nearest parking and we were amazed how easy it was and how close it was. Then I got out of the car to pay for the parking and found out that it required the selling of one child to be able to park there for the morning. Back into the car to find a parking area that didn’t require the re-mortgaging of my house. We found one but it was a 15-20 minute walk back to the boat departure point.
We figured booking an early boat trip was the thing to do to ensure we missed the worst of the crowds given it was a Saturday. Good call because we only had a very minor wait before boarding the boat. You get a poncho to ensure you stay reasonably dry (it’s impossible not to get wet even with the poncho). My sister had kindly told us that the best place on the boat was lower deck front right because the boat makes a turn as it exits the falls and you get to see the whole horseshoe for the longest. Everyone else was rushing to the top deck and so we basically had the bottom right front to ourselves.
The boat pushes right into the horseshoe as fall as they can safely go so you really do get drenched from the spray of the falls. It is definitely a worthwhile thing to do. I have been at the falls twice before and never done the boat trip so I was really pleased we did it. I would highly recommend you do it if you ever visit the falls. The view and the noise of the falls is almost overwhelming to the senses.
We also had tickets to the Journey Behind the Falls which is a series of two tunnels behind the falls themselves and a viewing deck that is just to the right of the last of the horseshoe falls. The noise in the tunnels is incredible – it is a constant thundering. The sheer volume of water coming down is amazing to see. H was somewhat overwhelmed by the noise and confined space and had to get out of there quickly. Fortunately the viewing platform was her escape. You really are as close to the edge of the falls that you can get. I have seen the Falls from both the USA side and the Canadian side and I definitely think the view is better from the Canadian side. You get a much better of the whole falls.
The Niagara Falls is neither the largest or the highest falls in the world. Angel Falls in Venezuela is the tallest falls and Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe is both the widest falls (more than 500m wider than Niagara Falls) and has the most falling water per second in the world. But Niagara Falls is still impressive and definitely worth seeing. You can’t get as close to Victoria Falls as you can to Niagara Falls. Some (at least to me) interesting facts about the Niagara Falls are:
- An estimated 60 tonnes of dissolved minerals are swept over the falls every minute (that is why the water appears green – it is the high mineral content)
- The flow is regulated by a treaty between the US and Canada. The diverted water is used mainly for power generation. If they didn’t divert any water, the river would rise 5m immediately
- Over last 500 years, the recession (from erosion) has averaged 1 to 1.5meters per year. At the moment the recession is 1 ft per year
- The water that flows over in one second, is the equivalent to what 2 people would use at home for 6 months (this one thanks to S)
It was after midday when we headed back to Niagara-on-the-lake and to our hotel. I wasn’t feeling great and so a napped in the afternoon while the rest of them wandered around the village. Incredibly they bumped into someone from our Church back in Cape Town. We knew she was in Canada and coming to Niagara Falls but we didn’t expect to bump into her at Niagara-on-the-lake.
We had dinner at Corks Wine Bar & Eatery. After dinner, I headed back to the hotel but the rest of them walked down to the lake and managed to see a family of raccoon’s in the trees. They look cute but are apparently considered a pest for most people in N.America.
You might be wondering why I am now appearing last on the blog. My smart aleck son, whose IT skills surpass mine, has written a script that takes my initial and moves it to the end every time I sign off and send out the blog. So you’ll just have to ignore that and assume the last shall be first and first shall be last!
S (remember, first shall be last), K, H & P