Good Sites for Low Tide?

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SEAriously
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Good Sites for Low Tide?

Post by SEAriously » Tue Jun 30, 2020 10:06 am

I have heard the best time to dive is during high tide. With my working hours right now, I'm usually done around 3-3:30.

I was just looking at tide-tables hoping to plan a few dives for the future, and it seems like low-tide usually occurs in the later afternoon. Are there any sites that are close to the Seattle area that are good during low-tide?

Also, I'm looking for a bit of tide understanding... For instance, on 8/12 there's a high-tide at 1:30, followed by a small tidal exchange with the low-tide at 6pm... Would that still be a good time to dive, since it's a smaller tidal exchange, and it looks to be a high low?

Thanks in advance for any info, we recently moved here from a place where we didn't have to worry about tides!

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Jeff Pack
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Re: Good Sites for Low Tide?

Post by Jeff Pack » Tue Jun 30, 2020 1:23 pm

Only time I worry about tides is a current sensitive dive site.
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jmartel
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Re: Good Sites for Low Tide?

Post by jmartel » Tue Jun 30, 2020 5:14 pm

Usually best visibility occurs just as the tide is reaching it's peak. That being said, low tide is fine too. Just worry more about currents depending on the site.

http://www.deepzoom.com for planning currents and such for diving. Usually <0.5 knots is what you want.

Some sites aren't current dependent at all and you can dive them just about whenever. Three Tree, for instance. Others, you really gotta time it right or you'll get tossed out into the sound.

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YellowEye
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Re: Good Sites for Low Tide?

Post by YellowEye » Wed Jul 01, 2020 12:06 am

A couple things can make high tide dives better than low tide dives:
+ easier water access at some sites. Salt water state park for instance would be a long walk in the mud at low tide
+ high tide often can have better visibility as the water is more diluted vs mixing down in the mud flat you often find at the bottom of the intertidal.
+ water movement comes from the straights rather than the south sound, meaning sometimes cleaner water

Conversely, low tide dives often give you the advantage of being able to stay shallower to hit the same destination.

I usually pick the slack to hit more depending on my availability, the strengths of ebb/flow before/after, and the site characteristics rather than a general preference for low or high tide.

I'd think 8/12 would be a great day to go at the slacks near 1 or 7:30pm (I think you're asking about 7:30?). Especially given the mild floods/ebbs you'd have around them.

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SEAriously
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Re: Good Sites for Low Tide?

Post by SEAriously » Wed Jul 01, 2020 8:27 am

Thanks All! This information has been really helpful!

@yelloweye, where do you get your information about when Slack will be?

Sharkb8
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Re: Good Sites for Low Tide?

Post by Sharkb8 » Wed Jul 01, 2020 7:08 pm

Adding on to what others have said, it's a good idea to pay attention to the tide heights. Some main sites such as Keystone, Cove 2, Redondo, 3 Tree and Mulkiteo can be dove at most low tides (Keystone is still current dependent, and Mulkiteo can sometimes be). Shallower sites such as Edmonds and Rosario can be dove on low tides with smaller exchanges (difference between low height and high height), but when the minus tide heights hit (like right now every other weekend) they have pretty awful vis and long walks in the mud. I made that mistake at Edmonds early in my diving career on a -1.5 tide and said never again!

Even more fun is trying to plan around sites that usually have minimal to no currents, but occasionally can take you for a ride. Examples are the Redondo River and T-Dock in Mulkiteo. My last dive at the T-Dock was on a big exchange. Dive 1 was a bit past high slack and we were flapping like flags in the breeze down by the dome. Dive 2 which was just past the middle of the exchange had nothing. After you start to get used to planning and diving in currents, you will be able to dive sites more often knowing what to expect and planning to just deal with it.

Deep Zoom is good for both current strengths and tide stations all over Puget Sound, and is very visual and user friendly. A lot of people use/used Protides for planning but I've never gone that route. NOAA has a free tides and currents website now which has a lot of information but is a little harder to navigate around. The more experienced staff at your local dive shop is also another great source of information. I've never met a diver that doesn't like talking about diving to anyone willing to listen :partydance:
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Tom Nic
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Re: Good Sites for Low Tide?

Post by Tom Nic » Thu Jul 02, 2020 9:23 am

Fun fact - Les Davis on a good minus tide will often have exceptional viz because the ebbing tide pulls the Puyallup River silt off the shore. Les Davis with great viz is wonderful!
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