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More Phenomenal Low Tides Coming to Oregon Coast
(Oregon Coast) - The central and southern coast had some of the lowest minus tides in a while recently, but more are on tap for the coming summer months for both the central and northern coast.
In fact, the north coast and the central Oregon coast will see even more impressive minus tides in July.
Last week, parts of the central coast saw minus tides as low as 2.7 feet on a couple days, the lowest of the year. The north coast’s day in the sun is still coming, said Tiffany Boothe, with Seaside Aquarium.
"We’ve got a few minus one-foot tides coming in July and August, and a minus two-foot tide in early July," Boothe said. "Especially in the first few days of July, there's some big ones coming."
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.
"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.
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.
“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.”
Boothe offered some advice for these kind of tide pool explorations.
“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 be patient.”
Boothe also said taking a binocular and a camera is highly suggested.