Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Watching The Tides

I always check the tides. Everyday. I use this website. I typically check the high and low tides for Arcata Wharf. Then, if we're not going to the marsh where the old wharf used to be, I try to calculate the tides for wherever we're headed. Seems like a reasonable thing to do, right? I made a big mistake last week when I erroneously assumed that the minus tide would occur later rather than earlier north of the wharf. I don't know why I made that assumption, but I did. So, when the tide was supposed to be -.5 at 10:00 on Friday, we headed up to Houda Cove, expecting to see this.
We came to explore all those gorgeous tide pools that we had seen in July of 2016 when there was a -1.6 tide. But when we hiked down those harrowing wooden steps to the beach, there were no tide pools to be seen. It looked like this instead.
The water was much higher than we had expected. It was still beautiful, but we could hardly get out there and take a look around.
The above photo gives you an idea of where the tide was in the moment and how high it reaches at its peak. But there wasn't a tide pool to be seen anywhere. Here's what we had come to see.
But instead we saw this.
So, what happened? Well, as it turns out the tide actually reaches its lowest point here a full hour earlier than it does just 10 miles south at the Arcata Wharf. Seems crazy to me, but now I know for our future adventures. And I checked ahead and made a note on our calendar that there is a significant minus tide, a -1.6 at the end of this month. I marked the time carefully too. We want to see those tide pools, crabs, anemones, and sea stars again. It's why we make the journey. Well that and all this beauty.

18 comments:

  1. It is beautiful! Checking tides is something I haven't done in years. I did check them when we lived in Nova Scotia and wanted to head to a certain beach.
    Thanks for sharing these lovely photos!
    Robin

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    1. Robin-- There is just something about those tides when I'm out there. It's like the earth breathing, and I love it. Glad you liked the photos.

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  2. Glad to see you like looking in tide pools as well. I'm fascinated with them and will always check them out if I'm at the sea

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    1. Bill-- I'm so glad you like tide pools as well. I hope you get out to the sea to take some photos. I would love to see what it looks like there.

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  3. How strange that a ten-minute drive can makes such a difference in the tide! The slope of the seabed? Weird. But as an inlander, I would have been disappointed, but still been thrilled to sit quietly and listen to the waves and considered the excursion a great success.

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    1. CCorax-- Well actually the difference has to do with the narrow opening to Arcata Bay, which actually takes a full hour longer for the tide to come in and go out. Good thing we have these computers to make sense of such a conundrum. Won't make that mistake again.

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    1. Colette-- I know! It really is pretty spectacular out there.

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  5. Very pretty. I wish I lived closer to tides, surf and tide pools. Unfortunately I have to drive about an hour to see them. Well worth the drive though.

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    1. Sharon-- An hour isn't so bad especially if you're going to spend the whole day enthralled with the beauty. When I was young in New Jersey, we would go to Asbury Park or Sandy Hook. There's nothing like walking the shoreline.

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  6. Gorgeous pictures as ever.

    When we lived by the sea, we had the tide calendar pinned to the wall but it all remained a mystery to me.

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    1. Sabine-- So glad you like these photos. It's hard to miss with such a seascape to turn the camera lens on. The tides are such an interesting thing. Always so much to learn about our beautiful planet.

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  7. This is really interesting. I struggle, almost daily, with understanding relativistic physics, I know this is a bit nerdy, but my spouse humors me and listens to my TIL at dinner. Tides, an an example of tidal gravity are caused by a warpage of a four dimensional construct, spacetime, which includes 3 dimensions of space and one of time. See how much sense your post makes?

    I hope you Mom and family are doing well. Best

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    1. def59485-- What's really interesting is that I had no idea about all of the elements that create tides and tidal gravity. It is a mystery of great beauty. Thank you so much for asking about my mom. She had a CT scan yesterday as a follow up for her follicular lymphoma. No results yet, but the blood lab work from last week showed that the tumor markers are raised and active. We'll see what it all means soon. She has moments of lucidity, and she was THRILLED the other day to meet her first great-grandson, born on March 24th. I'll be posting some photos soon.

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  8. Tides always seemed to be a mystery to me, since we live so far from the ocean.

    I visited Ireland almost 20 years ago with some friends. There we saw one of those bays with very large tides. There were sailboats lying on their sides in the mud a hundred yards form shore at low tide.

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    1. Mark-- The tides are a mystery, but a reliable one with times and rhythms. There is something about a minus tide that really pulls us out there. So much to see that is so often under the lapping waves.

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  9. That makes a big difference!
    When I used to surf (way back in the day), I used to check the tides everyday. I've only done it a few times since those days.

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    1. Pat-- It is a big difference. Interestingly we learned that the significance has to do with how the tide comes into Arcata Bay and the Marsh. It's a narrow passage, slowing it way down.

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