There is nothing like a full moon to uncover what lies beneath the surface of the earth. I’m not going to lie, I’ve been learning as I go about this phenomenon called ‘tides’ since I have been kayaking and was basically stuck in the mud trying to get to the shore walking my boat in mud up to my knees. It’s something I knew about but never really understood it’s wonder. And then there’s King tides. Which is an even greater water level. Which I took notice when I was kayaking in Alameda and couldn’t get close to my kayak partner because the current was so great and I was tired from a long day of kayaking. So it’s not advisable to be kayaking or boating, or even being near the edge of the water because of sneaker waves. But at low tied it’s a great time to see what has been under the water all this time. During this King tide the water level reached 7+ feet at highest tide in the SF Bay Area. For me this mean there are a few ships including one from the 1800’s I have to go see at it’s lowest tide. This King tide will last just a few days.
Unfortunately the lowest tide had been at sunset, and with the clouds almost impossible to see, but I DID! I was at Point San Pablo at 5pm ish and on the road looking into Point San Pablo Harbor and off to the left of the harbor you can see the shape of what appears to be a large wood ship. What is left is just the frame that look like a fence of just posts.
Here are some important tips that will educate even just a hiker or walker along any Bay or shore in the world! No matter where you go. And if you are traveling, you are most likely planning on being near water! So be aware, knowledge is power.
Parking. With out looking at a tide chart, you can logically look at the ground and see where the water line is on low and high tide. Usually the water line is pretty apparent. Know that if it is low tide and your car is far away from the water. It can possible be submerged when you get back! Or the road you came in will be submerged as well. Almost for sure when there is a King tide.
Kayaking and boating and being stuck in the mud. Have no fear. Know that every 6 hours the Tide changes direction. Before it dose it will sit for a hour before it makes it way back called a slack tide. Most the time you don’t know the tide is even moving. So it can creep up on you. Lets say you planned to get out of the water and there is 20 feet of mud. You can wait it out cut it will eventually fill up.
Wikipedia Ebb and Flow
“Ebb and flow (also called ebb and flood and flood drain) are two phases of the tide or any similar movement of water. The ebb is the outgoing phase, when the tide drains away from the shore; and the flow is the incoming phase when water rises again. The terms are also common in figurative use…” – Wikipedia
“Slack water, also known as ‘the stand of the tide’, is a short period in a body of tidal water when the water is completely unstressed, and there is no movement either way in the tidal stream, and which occurs before the direction of the tidal stream reverses…” – Wikipedia
More incite: When you see a boat in the mud tipped over, have no fear. It’s most likely the owner misjudged the tides and soon the water will be back to fill up.
Boater rules. It is boaters curtsy and I think law that you’re never supposed to pass by a boater in need of help. [article] You could save their life, even if at the moment they seam to be fine.
Currents. Currents are whats happening underneath. When you get near large objects like bridges, boulders, etc. The water rushes more and is stronger to get around those objects. Think of the SF Bay as a big bottle of water with a small neck (the golden Gate Bridge) that poor into another bottle of water and it takes 6 hours to pour on to the other bottle. As it pours back into the SF Bay it fills all the little bays as it goes back out to sea it’s sucks the water from the shore line leaving sometimes 4 to 20 feet of mud depending where you are at. This is world wide. If you don’t want to be stuck in the mud, plan on coming out of the water at high tide. However, you also want to think about the direction of the current. It’s a delicate balance of knowing the current. Sometimes, excuse my language but it can be a bitch going against the current! So there are 2 known factors tides and current. The wild card is weather / wind factor. You can go with a current but against the wind. And honestly I don’t know what is worse. And then there is light. Ya, you got it planned out on paper, but what about sunset? Will you be able to see when you get out? And if it’s cloudy or near mountains or cliffs you can loose hours of good light! Whew, thats a lot to think about. But you should always think about it!! One time when I was in Zion National Park we didn’t start a hike until 3pm, I know, duh!! Not my fault. Anyway, even though we could see at the top of the mountain. Walking back it was in the straight up dark! The mountains basically had us in a crack in the ground. Luckily I was prepared and had a head lamp light in my arsenal of stuff. Petzel is a great bran. Always buy your adventure gear at REI, I recommend becoming a member worth the bucks. You’ll get it back in lots of lifetime savings! They are our sponsor and affiliate because I love them!
A cheaper and great option is this little head lamp that I clip on my hat. Best thing since sliced bread! I love it. I have two one for me and on for a adventure partner. They are usually never prepared. I always wear a baseball cap. If you don’t, it’s not the best option. For me, it is!
I also have one of these clipped on my belt hiking belt. And life jacket. I think it’s great to have at all times. Not exactly a flash ligt but in a emergency it can help guide you hime. However I don’t know how water proof it is. Just don’t be cheap about these items!
Maps or better yet officially called “Charts” A NOAA chart will show you how deep the water is at it normal low level. It will also show ship wrecks the are submerged so boaters with engines don’t run into them. For me it’s a place to explore and how I found may locations of shipwrecks. They are free on line. If your a boater / kayaker I recommend buying the one of the area you frequent. For me it’s like a treasure map!
I will up date this blog as I find my shipwrecks during the King Tides.
May Adventure Map. Zoom into Ocean Beach Area, Hunters point and Richmond bridge area on the Richmond side and Point San Pablo. There are layers at the top you can turn on more layers and turn off layers.
Have a great adventure, be safe by being wise.
By Stacy Poulos Postcard Travelers
Postcard Travelers Adventure Magazine
Host: Photographer / Filmmaker Stacy Poulos
Author of Life In A Nutshell
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