California King Tides Coming This Weekend
We had a short note planned to remind folks of the upcoming weekend’s king tides when we received an email from reader Craig Russell of the Emeryville-based Jeanneau 40 Aquarius with a story on the king tides by Liam O’Donoghue in SFGate. The king tides are mostly known for flooding the streets, shorting out cars parked in low-lying areas, and straining dock systems and on-ramps. The article also reminded us how the low tides expose Ashby Shoal, off Emeryville. The shoal then becomes a destination for adventurous revelers, including Berkeley Yacht Club and Cal Sailing Club member Paul Kamen, who supplied the pictures below.
Latitude 38‘s June 1991 issue even has a story of a muddy, low-tide wedding that was held out on the shoal. According to SFGate, the shoal appeared in the Bay sometime in the 1900s as sedimentation increased from mining in the 1800s, and possibly due to highway building and other coastal construction.
The king tides were here for the winter solstice and are here again this weekend, with the king high tide on the Bay around 10:30 on Saturday morning and the low tide around 5:30 Saturday evening. Those racing in the Corinthian Yacht Club midwinters this weekend know a long afternoon ebb combined with heavy mountain and rain runoff could create a challenging afternoon of fighting the current if the air is light. Have your anchors ready.
If you’re out and about on Saturday morning with your camera (who is ever without a camera anymore?) the California Coastal Commission is collecting your photos of high-tide impacts along the coast. If you’ve got that awesome shot, you can upload it to CCC here. If you’ve got an awesome shot of yourself and your crew fighting the ebb on Saturday afternoon, or celebrating on Ashby Shoal on Saturday evening, you can send those to Latitude 38 here.
We always think big tides come with a full moon, but they also happen with a new moon, which is the case tomorrow night. The moon will be on the same side of the Earth as the sun, giving some extra gravitational pull to the tidal wave that rolls around the Earth. Curiously, tomorrow is also the closest the moon has come to our planet since the year 1030. Tomorrow the moon will be just 221,561 miles away. Seems like a good night for Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos to rush up there.
It’s not often the king tides fall during the daylight on weekends. If you’re a curious tide-gawker, it’s worth a stroll along your favorite lowland location, like the Marinship in Sausalito, the Mill Vally bike paths, the Tiburon post office, and surely many other low-lying areas around the Bay.
No reservations are required at this first-come, first-served location, but space is limited, and after a while, it disappears completely.
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