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Impressive Low Tides This Week on Oregon Coast
|The tidepools at Cannon Beach's Haystack Rock are a particularly
big attraction at low tides
(Oregon Coast) - When it comes to tides, it's good to have
friends in low places. The central Oregon coast and the north Oregon coast
are about to experience some really low tides this week, and then again
in a month.
"We’ve got a few minus one-foot tides coming
in July and August, and a minus two-foot tide in early July," said
Tiffany Boothe, of Seaside Aquarium.
"Especially in the first few days of July, there's some big ones
This, of course, depends on the area of the coast you’re
talking about. Lincoln City and other parts of the central coast will
see a minus two-foot tide on July 3. The first few days of July will bring
minus tides at a foot or nearly a foot.
"Last year, we only saw minus tides as low as minus
1.8 feet," Boothe said.
The central coast will see more minus tides around one foot lower than
usual from August 1 through 4.
|Tidepool wonders will burst into life at the coming minus tides
(photo Tiffany Boothe, Seaside Aquarium)
"There are still some pretty low tides, like .8 or
minus .7 - a lot of those in the next two months," Boothe said.
Check www.oregoncoasttidetables.com for more on those.
Boothe said places like Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach will
yield lots of wonders at such minus tides.
Other spots to look for are Oceanside, where you may gain
access to the hidden beach on the side of Maxwell Point simply by walking
around the point, instead of walking through the tunnel.
Sometimes, there are hidden caves found from the northern
part of this shoreline at such minus tides, accessed from Short Beach
(which is about a mile north of Oceanside along the Three Cape Loop).
Tides could well be low enough to gain access to the interior of the Devil’s
Punchbowl, if you’re coming from the northern side of the beach,
at the entrance to the marine gardens. This is especially stunning as
you can see all sorts of strange colors and the patterns of erosion caused
by the usually manic tide in this spot.
|Wacky tidepool creatures at Short Sand Beach, near Cannon Beach
(photo Tiffany Boothe, Seaside Aquarium)
However, keep a close eye on the tide and do not attempt
to venture into these places if the waves are lapping at your route or
the entrance of these wild oddities.
Boothe said in Seaside you can head toward the south end
of town to the cove. There, you will find small tide pools down by the
rocks. Expect to find hermit crabs, shore crabs, snails, sea anemones,
sea stars, and a variety of shells.
To the north, closer to the river mouth, sand dollars should
be plentiful, but be careful to not take the live sand dollars.
“An easy way to tell if a sand dollar is alive or
not is to see if it has ‘fur,’ “ Boothe said. “Sand
dollars that appear fuzzy on the underside are usually still alive and
will stink something awful when taken home.”
Further south in Cannon Beach, the tide pools get a little
livelier and you may find a beautifully colored 20-ray sea star, various
species of nudibranchs, larger telia anemones, and sea urchins, or you
may even spot a seal or two.
|Sea star colonies at Oceanside, during low tide events
“As you go further south Arcadia, Hug Point, and
Arch Cape, expect to find some the same,” Boothe said. “If
you can find more protected intertidal areas, look out for California
and burrowing sea cucumbers, rock scallops, lewis moon snails, kelp and
decorator crabs. Watch out for the red rock crabs though - they'll get
ya. During these low tides you may see some leather stars or blood stars,
brightly colored tide pool sculpins, and an assortment of shrimp. During
one tidal expedition in the Oswald West area, we even spotted a giant
pacific octopus by far the coolest tidal find.
“This is just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. An avid tide
pooler may notice other things during these low tides, such as the different
colors and species of sponge ranging from bright yellow, red, green, and
purple, or aciadians which often wash up in clumps during winter storms.
I mention both sea urchins and sea anemones but one might take time to
notice the different species.”
Boothe said if the surf is calm, you may be able to see
a few different types of fish.
“Perch are really common,” she said. “Kelp
greenling, small Cabizon. In the tide pools, typically you'll find various
sculpins, but a very lucky and sneaky observer may see a kelp fish or
an Irish Lord.”
|Inside Devil's Punchbowl during a minus tide, near Newport
Boothe offered some advice for these kind of tide pool
“One thing I suggest highly is to get a Mac's Field Guide or another
tide pool reference to take it with you,” she said. “You might
come across something you can't identify, or worse you may over look an
animal you didn't know existed, like a gumboot chiton.”
Always be aware of the tide a never turn you back to the
ocean, Boothe stressed. The best time to go tide pooling is about two
hours before low tide. This usually provides plenty of time to explore
and be safe.
“Don't rush,” she said. “Intertidal areas
are so exciting one might rush by tide pools and not see what's really
in there. Some animals hunker down and hide if a shadow passes by - so
Boothe also said taking a binocular and a camera
is highly suggested.
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