Nature Showing off Big High and Low Tides in Ballard

One of the reasons why I prefer to paddle and teach on Puget Sound versus a lake is experiencing daily changes in the tides. Many know that my daily schedule is based upon the tides and that I not only have NOAA tide/current apps on my phone but also a Evergreen Pacific wall calendar tide chart. If there's a low tide and a freighter coming, all appointments will have to wait a few hours.

Below are two extreme tides at the Elks Beach in Ballard where we do most of our teaching, freighter surfing, etc.  The top image is from last June, close to the summer solstice, which means daily tidal exchanges can range from -3 to +12. This image is about -2.  We only get a few -3's. When we do, we can nearly walk out to the green channel buoy and see the dredged channel leading to the Locks. It's a great time to beach comb, view marine life and see what's under us most of the year.

In Seattle, we have low tides in the day Spring-Fall, and high tides during the day late Fall to late Winter. We're on a diurnal tide system with two lows and two high tides each day.

The below image is shot today, January 10, 2017 on a 12.1' tide. 26kt north winds (later increased to 40 kts) pushing water in has slowed the ebb (outgoing tide). On a calmer day, the tide would've dropped quite a bit by this time.  Beautiful winter day with some fun wind bumps to surf beyond the pilings.

Here's a few tide charts to check out for planning trips or a day paddle:
Dairiki - A local source so more correct than others 
Mobile Graphics - I like these for the list viewing option, plus they have tidal currents as well.  
NOAA - NOAA has a nice phone app I use. 
Books - Captn Jack

Tide Terms:
Ebb - outgoing tide
Flood - incoming tide
Slack - short period of relatively little current between an ebb and a flood.

Wind Terms:
Northerly - means winds are coming from the north. 
Sound Breeze - term for the NE wind we get on Puget Sound on blue sky days (high pressure).  

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