Small tide change better visibility ???

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Small tide change better visibility ???

Post by JJHACK » Mon Apr 16, 2018 10:17 am

I have noticed this in the past. However I'm not sure if it's just coincidence. For the most part tides seem to change plus or minus 8-10 feet in the sound. At least thats what I see looking at the tables.

However I have seen tide changes as small as only a foot or even 2-3 feet. In the odd situation that I can be there for those small changes the vis seems much better. Is this due to less stress to the bottom near shore allowing the particulate to settle a bit? or is it just co-incidence that this seems to be the case for me?

I live on the east side of the mountians so I'm not as astute to the conditions as many of you are. I often have business there and dive when I can. Not much tide planning possible. However when I do have time to plan I could use some advice on the water quality in combination with the tides if there is a relationship.

Thanks as always folks!
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Tom Nic
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Re: Small tide change better visibility ???

Post by Tom Nic » Mon Apr 16, 2018 10:35 am

Hmmm.... good question. Not 100% sure of the answer, but the premise could make sense - less water moving = less stirring up. On the other hand, more water moving could also mean the tide sucking away crud and algae, etc, so actually improving visibility.

The main conditions I personally look for is the really flat water / tides / currents that means some of the current sensitive sites become an option. I know there are people who dive Day Island on any exchange and just try and time it right (or have a scooter), but I am not so adventuresome. I therefore have favorable tide/current days marked out months in advance and since I have some flexibility in my schedule try and dive those days. My problem is finding dive buddies that have that same flexibility!
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Re: Small tide change better visibility ???

Post by CaptnJack » Mon Apr 16, 2018 1:21 pm

For most of our shore sites (and many of the boat sites) visibility is worst on a low tide.
Vis is also awful during winter storms, the closer you are to a river the worse it is.
And during blooms which intermittently extend from March until about August. (no reliable way to predict these like tides)
You best visibility is in September or October on high tides.
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Re: Small tide change better visibility ???

Post by ohopdiver » Mon Apr 16, 2018 3:58 pm

Too may variables that are usually more important than tidal current. All else being equal at a given site it may be true. However it may be the opposite if the site is silty and it gets stirred up by divers. Then you want current to clear the area.

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Greg Jensen
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Re: Small tide change better visibility ???

Post by Greg Jensen » Mon Apr 16, 2018 10:55 pm

Generally speaking, big tides stir things up more. When you have to dive a day with a large exchange, aim for the latter part of the flood as ebbing and low tides are typically poorer.
When the vis in central sound goes to crap, head over to Hood Canal. Due to its much milder currents the plankton layer stratifies, so you may descend through horrible vis into nice clear water below*. Again, diving at high tide means that layer is 10-12 ft higher and that can make a huge difference at sites like Octopus Hole or Sund rock, where much of the structure is fairly shallow.

*bring a light, as it can be almost as dark as a night dive when its that thick

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Re: Small tide change better visibility ???

Post by H20doctor » Tue Apr 17, 2018 2:32 pm

It's a complete gamble on weather visibility is good or bad... I've seen amazing visibility on a low tide and I've seen amazing visibility on a high tide it all depends on rain wind and waves... so too many factors the best thing to do is to watch the thread here for visibility reports
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