Low Tide

Seeing the low tides at the park is a matter of timing. This video shows a minus 1.5 foot low tide in the morning of May 9 this year. That’s not the lowest of the year. We’ll have a minus 1.7 on June 6, another -1.5 on November 16, and a -1.6 on December 15 and 16. Still, it’s low enough to give an idea of what the North Basin looks like with much of its water cover removed. It’s a shallow mud flat with no central projections other than the sunken sailboat left by the German bad boy Klaus von Wendel, about which more at another time. The mud flat has numerous round shallow depressions which, according to a veteran fisher, are made by the bat rays. I have also seen a leopard shark settled there. Tiny fish also tend to congregate there if they failed to evacuate in advance of the receding tide, and thus become prey for egrets and other shorebirds.

The video pivots on the southwestern corner of the North Basin, opposite the entrance to the DoubleTree Hotel. On the far right (east) lies the outfall of Schoolhouse Creek. The mixture of fresh and salt water in that area might be a good site for planting tule reeds or other vegetation that thrives in brackish waters. Decades ago, the area very probably was thick with reeds that provided habitat for dozens of species of wildlife. Replanting this area ought to be on the to-do list of the Coastal Conservancy or other appropriate organizations.

Schoolhouse Creek outfall at minus 1.5′ tide

The low tides in the lower than minus one foot range are matched by high tides just above 7 feet, such as the 7.1 foot predicted for December 14. On that day the water swings from minus 1.6 to plus 7.1 feet, a range of 8.7 feet in about seven hours. The tallest basketball player standing on the mud at low tide would be more than a foot underwater at the high tide.

A minus 1.5 foot tide, looking south

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