Huge Minus Tides a Complicated Story on Oregon Coast
(Oregon Coast) – Major low tides are hitting the Oregon coast these days, and more are coming this week – and even throughout the summer. However, this week’s low tides will be about the lowest of the year, clocking in as much as minus three feet, which is as low as they can possibly get.
It means plenty of places to see that aren’t normally seen, allowing greater access to a couple of the shipwrecks along the coast and to vast new arrays of tide pool spots and landscapes, changing the beaches for a time in immense ways.
Keith Chandler, manager of Seaside Aquarium, said the low tides weren’t as dramatic on the north coast. But still, there’s plenty to see.
“It’ll give you the opportunity to spend time in tide pools you can’t usually get to,” Chandler said.
There’s more to this story of tide lines being much further out: it differs depending where you are.
The great minus tides seem to be much bigger in and around the central coast, but begin to lessen in intensity the further south or north you get away from there. The official tide table for the Newport area lists the most impressive low tides this week:
Tuesday: -3 at 7:30 a.m.
Wednesday: -3 at 8:17 a.m.
Thursday: - 2.7 at 9:03 a.m.
However, the same days differ greatly in times and level of low tide about 100 miles north, at Manzanita and the Nehalem River.
Tuesday: - 2 feet at 8:52 a.m.
Wednesday: - 2 feet at 9:39 a.m.
If you look at Seaside tide tables, these are a little closer to Manzanita’s in time, but the level is more like a minus 1 foot, or in that vicinity.
More are coming for the summer as well.
The Newport tide table from the Hatfield Marine Science Center shows more biggies coming in July and August. Minus tides around one foot are happening:
July 7 at 7:20 a.m.
July 8 at 7:54
Around 8:30 on July 9, and July 10 near 9 a.m.
August will see some minus one-foot to two-foot tides from August 17 through 22 in the early morning hours.
For a full list of tide pool areas on the upper half of the Oregon coast (Florence to Warrenton), click here. But some must-see spots at low tide include:
Wreck of the Peter Iredale. At Fort Stevens State Park. This ancient schooner wrecked here in the 1910’s, and its skeletal remains are slowly disappearing into the sand.
Cannon Beach at Haystack Rock. Huge new vistas of tide pools erupt into life at the base of the third largest monolith in the world. Also, at the very northern end of the town’s beaches, the secretive Crescent Beach is usually locked away behind an outcropping. Normally getting there is a two-mile hike from the road going to Ecola State Park, but you may be able to briefly visit during the low tide events via a much quicker route.
Oceanside. The beaches here are often shielded from the wind by the headland called Maxwell Point - about 100 yards north of the parking lot.
On the other side sits a stunning beach where enormous boulders and weirdly shaped sea stacks give the entire area a feel like something out of the old ``Star Trek'' series. The entire area is cluttered with stuff to play on as well as a sense of the serene and the surreal.
The landscape changes drastically in many ways at low tides. Entire new vistas of rocky marine gardens show themselves. Not to mention, you can walk around Maxwell Point to get to its other side, instead of having to go through the tunnel.
Boiler Bay, near Depoe Bay. The bay is named after its ancient, ragged resident: the boiler from the shipwrecked J. Marhoffer, which settled here after catching fire at sea. The boiler is all that remains, and it becomes visible at somewhat lower tides. In fairly rare circumstances, the tide gets low enough to get near the boiler or maybe even touch its encrusted corpse.
There are awesome tide pools, clandestine caves and meandering paths over and around its mostly rocky landscape.
Devil’s Punchbowl. Normally, this collapsed sea cave is inhabited by wild wave action – hence its name. But once or twice a year, the tide gets low enough you can actually walk inside this surreal structure. The walls are covered in strange shapes and colors, and large cobblestones litter the floor. It’s nothing short of jaw-dropping to partake in this rarity.
But you must keep a close eye on the tide, and don’t linger long. The ocean is always looking for ways to mess with you.
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