Largest Whirlpool in the World: Old Sow Whirlpool

There is a giant whirlpool off the east coast of Africa that is even bigger than previously thought, on average larger than the state of Colorado, satellite data now reveals. What is the Largest Whirlpool in the World?

Old Sow Whirlpool is often considered the largest whirlpool in the world, with a diameter of approx. 250 ft. located in the Bay of Fundy off the southwestern shore of Deer Island, New Brunswick, Canada, & the northeast shore of Moose Island, the principal island of Eastport, Maine.


Embark on a nautical journey to witness the world’s most powerful maelstrom, the Old Sow whirlpool, a natural wonder steeped in myth and maritime lore. Located in the Western Hemisphere, in the swirling waters between Canada and the United States, Old Sow’s formidable currents have captivated seafarers and adventurers for centuries. This article plunges into the heart of the largest whirlpool on the planet, exploring its mysterious origins, incredible strength, and magnetic allure that draws visitors from around the globe.

The Old Sow whirlpool is the largest tidal whirlpool in the Western Hemisphere, located off the southwestern shore of Deer Island, New Brunswick, Canada, and the northeast shore of Moose Island, the principal island of Eastport, Maine. It has a diameter of approximately 250 feet

World’s Largest Whirlpool: Norway’s Old Sow Whirlpool

Adventurers and sea enthusiasts alike flock to witness the might of the Old Sow whirlpool, the largest and most powerful tidal whirlpool on the globe. Nestled between Deer Island, New Brunswick, and Moose Island, Maine, this colossal natural wonder is fueled by the fierce tidal currents of the Bay of Fundy, known for having the highest tides in the world. The whirl of water called Old Sow derives its name from the ‘pig-like’ noises it produces as if nature is showing off its raw power in both sight and sound. An exploration into the heart of these strong tidal forces is not just a journey; it’s an encounter with one of the most thrilling natural phenomena that the ocean holds.

Mariners and sightseers have long been captivated by Old Sow’s display. Twice daily, as the tide rushes in and out of the bay, a fierce current is created, igniting this massive tidal whirlpool. It’s a mesmerizing sight to behold; the water churns and roils, creating a vortex that can be several hundred feet in diameter. Astonishingly, the intensity of the whirl changes with the tide, ebbing, and flowing in strength, but always showcasing why it’s renowned as the world’s strongest whirlpool.

The area surrounding Old Sow is rich with maritime culture and tales of yore. Local guides are quick to share stories of the whirlpool’s might and warn seafarers about the risky waters that surround it.

Best Time to See Saltstraumen Maelstrom in Norway 2024 -
Saltstraumen Maelstrom in Norway 2024

A part of the allure is navigating the unpredictability of the currents; the water may seem tranquil from afar, but approaching the whirlpool reveals the mighty force of nature that lies beneath. Boating near the world’s largest whirlpool is an exhilarating experience, and many who’ve witnessed Old Sow’s swirling dance on the water speak of a newfound respect for the ocean.

Scientifically, the phenomenon of the Old Sow whirlpool captivates many researchers. The intense tidal current, coupled with the unique underwater topography of the bay, creates the perfect conditions for Old Sow’s formation. Investigating this strong tidal whirlpool provides insight into marine and environmental conditions that contribute to the area’s biodiversity. Indeed, the Bay of Fundy’s rich ecosystem partly owes its health to these vigorous movements in the water, which continually replenish nutrients and draw various forms of marine life.

Exploring this part of New Brunswick, visitors can not only witness the tidal whirlpool’s majestic power but also enjoy the serene beauty and rich history of the surrounding area. The region offers a bounty of activities, from sightseeing and boating to experiencing the simple, tranquil life of the coast. Whether you’re there to see Old Sow in action or to soak in the magnificent panoramic vistas, the whirlpool’s surroundings do not disappoint.

In summation, the Old Sow whirlpool remains a rare and spectacular natural feature: it’s Earth’s largest-known tidal whirlpool, showcasing the incredible force that water can exert. Those who’ve experienced it might often leave with an incomparable sense of awe. So, if you’re ever near the Bay of Fundy during the peak tidal current times, seize the opportunity to behold the impressive strength and size of Old Sow—she’s a maritime marvel well worth the journey.


Comparative Study: Old Sow Whirlpool vs. Corryvreckan and Saltstraumen Whirlpools

Old Sow Whirlpool, located in the Bay of Fundy, boasts powerful tidal currents between Canada and the U.S. Its intense whirlpools are rivaled by the Corryvreckan in Scotland, known for its dangerous waters and the third-largest whirlpool globally.

Meanwhile, Saltstraumen in Norway, the world’s largest, showcases tidal currents reaching remarkable speeds of up to 25 miles per hour. Each whirlpool is unique, shaped by geographical features and tidal dynamics, providing captivating subjects for a comparative study of natural phenomena. Understanding their distinct characteristics contributes to our appreciation of the diverse forces shaping the world’s oceans.

The Old Sow whirlpool, reputed as the world’s strongest and largest whirlpool, presents a phenomenal spectacle within the confluence of tidal currents off the coast of Maine.

While its might and maelstrom are well-documented, it is intriguing to contrast Old Sow with other significant large whirlpools, such as Scotland’s ferocious Corryvreckan whirlpool and Norway’s maelstrom of Saltstraumen. This comparative study aims to shed light on the unique characteristics that distinguish these oceanic spectacles from each other, paying homage to their respective strengths, historical allure, and the sheer force of nature’s power.


Old Sow Whirlpool the World’s Strongest Whirlpool


Norway’s Maelstrom of Saltstraumen boasts one of the strongest tidal currents in the world, creating a whirlpool that’s both a tourist attraction and a testament to maritime prowess. The Saltstraumen near Bodø sees water speeds that can exceed 40 km/h, underpinned by a tidal current that forcefully ushers in the Nordland tides. In contrast, the Corryvreckan whirlpool, lying in the waters between the Scottish islands of Jura and Scarba, is known for its powerful roar, audible from miles away, and displays an intense whirl that sailors have respected and feared for centuries.

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Old Sow whirlpool, situated between Deer Island, New Brunswick, and Eastport, Maine, reigns as a giant among large whirlpools; it is the tidal current that propels its waters into a spiraling behemoth, observable from various vantage points along the shoreline.

During peak tide, this whirlpool’s momentum is rivaled by few other ocean currents and its vortex can span a broad expanse, dwarfing vessels that dare to skirt its edges. The term “sow” is akin to a pig’s snort, reflecting the distinctive sound emitted by this whirl when its currents clash, much like its counterparts’ cacophonous nature, which characterizes the Corryvreckan whirlpool and contributes to the mystique of the Saltstraumen.

The world of large whirlpools is varied and complex, where the tide plays a monumental role in their formation and persistence. While Corryvreckan and Saltstraumen are both products of tidal phenomena and are certainly formidable in their right, Old Sow’s sheer size and force affirm its status as the largest whirlpool in the world. Each whirlpool’s formation is a result of underwater topography and the converging and diverging tidal currents, which create the conditions for their cyclical ebbs and surges. The unique interplay of tide and ocean currents crafts the defining characteristics of these whirls, each possessing its timing and rhythm synchronized with the motions of our oceanic planet.

To sailors and onlookers, these whirlpools promise both beauty and peril, their swirls serving as a reminder of the ocean’s untamed spirit. They’re spectacles rooted in the power of tidal movements—a force that continues to catch the imaginations and cautions of mariners and coastal inhabitants alike. Whether it’s the Old Sow whirlpool, the tempestuous Corryvreckan, or the Saltstraumen’s swirling waters, these oceanic phenomena encapsulate the raw energy of the tide. They’re unparalleled in their demonstrations of currents’ strength and the majesty of the sea—a whirl of activity that underscores the ocean’s enduring dynamism.


Whirlpools of the World: From Japan’s Naruto Whirlpool to the Bay of Fundy

When we look into the whirlpools of the world, our fascination with these breathtaking natural phenomena takes us from the Naruto whirlpool in Japan to the majestic Bay of Fundy. These swirling behemoths of water draw admirers from all corners of the globe, and for good reason.

  1. Naruto Whirlpools (Japan): Located in the Naruto Strait, these whirlpools are formed by powerful tidal flows, creating mesmerizing natural phenomena.
  2. Old Sow Whirlpool (Bay of Fundy): Situated between Canada and the U.S. in the Bay of Fundy, Old Sow is known for its impressive tidal currents and large whirlpools.
  3. Saltstraumen (Norway): Recognized as the world’s largest whirlpool, Saltstraumen in Norway features intense tidal currents reaching speeds of up to 25 miles per hour.
  4. Corryvreckan (Scotland): Scotland’s Corryvreckan is the third-largest whirlpool globally, famous for its dangerous waters and powerful tidal dynamics.
  5. Maelstrom (Various Locations): The term “maelstrom” is often used to describe powerful whirlpools, and historically, it has been associated with mythical and legendary narratives.
  6. Moskstraumen (Norway): Another notable whirlpool in Norway, Moskstraumen, is known for its turbulent waters and strong tidal currents.
  7. Charybdis (Mediterranean): Referenced in Greek mythology, Charybdis was a sea monster that created a whirlpool, mentioned in Homer’s “Odyssey.”
  8. Sargasso Sea Whirlpools (Atlantic Ocean): The Sargasso Sea is known for its unique currents and occasional formation of whirlpools.

These whirlpools around the world showcase the diverse and fascinating interactions between tidal forces and oceanic geography.

Among the greatest whirls, none is quite as formidable as the Old Sow whirlpool. This incredible vortex, known as the world’s strongest whirlpool, can be found in the Western Hemisphere, holding sway over the waters between New Brunswick, Canada, and Eastport, Maine. It’s not only a spectacle for sightseers but also a subject of great interest to scientists and marine enthusiasts alike.

The Strongest World’s Largest Whirlpool


The term “whirlpool” conjures images of churning water, powerful currents, and sometimes, danger. Yet, they are also a testament to nature’s grandeur, with some of the largest whirlpools, like Old Sow, being relatively safe for boats to navigate under certain conditions. Its sheer strength and size make the Old Sow whirlpool an impressive natural wonder, as it dominates the seascape with its might, showcasing the raw power of the world’s oceanic forces. To understand the scale of this great whirl, it’s necessary to compare it with other notorious counterparts around the world.

Take the Naruto whirlpool, for instance. It’s one of Japan’s most famous marine attractions, known for its regularity and the stunning speeds at which the water spins. While not as large or as forceful as Old Sow, the Naruto whirlpool’s beauty lies in its predictability and the artistic display it puts on, punctuating the waters with rhythmic intensity. As whirlpools go, both Old Sow and Naruto are part of a global collection that captures the public’s imagination.

This article isn’t just a list of whirlpools; it’s an exploration of the captivating nature of one of the most powerful expressions of water movement in our world. As we’ve previously discussed in subtitles like “Exploring the World’s Strongest Whirlpool: Old Sow” each whirlpool has its character, formed by the unique environmental conditions that birth them.

At the heart of this article is not just one whirlpool, but the interplay of several whirlpools, each contributing to our understanding of these marine marvels. As the largest whirlpools dictate onlookers’ respect, so does the Bay of Fundy with its record-setting tides, which contribute to the power and frequency of Old Sow. Undeniably, the Bay of Fundy is an integral part of why Old Sow maintains its status as a world-class natural occurrence.

The whirlpool phenomenon, while mesmerizing, can be a cryptic chapter in the book of maritime mysteries. That’s where the allure lies—the whirlpool, ever-changing yet timeless, invites us to witness the world in motion. While writing about the Old Sow whirlpool, we must realize we’re not just chronicling a singular whirl, but rather capturing a snapshot of an enduring dance between ocean and earth.

In conclusion, from the whirlpools that decorate the world to the specific majesty of the Old Sow whirlpool in the Bay of Fundy, our world is home to some of the most spectacular and dynamic natural phenomena. Whether it’s the hypnotic dance of Naruto’s whirlpool or the daunting presence of the world’s largest whirlpool, these spinning wonders remind us that the world is indeed a place of wonder and profound mystery.


Old Sow Whirlpool presents a captivating yet formidable display of natural power. Visitors to the Bay of Fundy are treated to this marvel, a testament to our planet’s dynamic forces. Whether observed from the safety of the shore or experienced up close with expert guidance, the world’s strongest whirlpool remains an awe-inspiring phenomenon, drawing adventurers and curious onlookers alike under its spell. Its swirling waters serve as a humbling reminder of nature’s might, engraving an unforgettable impression in the minds of those who witness its grandeur.

JimGalloway Author/Editor


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Q: What is the Old Sow Whirlpool and where is it located?
A: The Old Sow whirlpool is the world’s most powerful tidal whirlpool, located in the swirling waters between Canada and the United States, specifically between Deer Island, New Brunswick, and Moose Island, Maine.
Q: Why is the Old Sow whirlpool a popular destination for adventurers and sea enthusiasts?
A: It’s a popular destination due to its status as the largest and most powerful tidal whirlpool on the globe, the unique sound it produces reminiscent of a pig’s snort, and the exhilarating boating experience it offers alongside its natural beauty and rich maritime culture.
Q: When is the best time to see the Old Sow whirlpool in action?
A: The best time to witness the Old Sow whirlpool is during peak tidal currents, twice daily, as the tide rushes in and out of the Bay of Fundy, though its intensity changes with the ebbing and flowing of the tide.
Q: What conditions created the Old Sow whirlpool?
A: Old Sow is formed by the intense tidal currents of the Bay of Fundy, combined with the unique underwater topography of the region, which creates the perfect conditions for this natural phenomenon.
Q: How does the Old Sow Whirlpool contribute to the local ecosystem?
A: The powerful movements of the whirlpool continually replenish nutrients in the water, promoting a rich ecosystem that supports diverse marine life in the Bay of Fundy.
Q: Can boats safely navigate near the Old Sow whirlpool?
A: Yes, under certain conditions and with caution, boats can navigate near the Old Sow whirlpool. However, it’s advised to have expert guidance due to the unpredictable and potentially dangerous currents.

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