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Low tide excitement on Vancouver Island

Low tide exposed more of the seafloor, July 11 to 15.

Friday July 15, 2022 | VICTORIA, BC [Updated 11:53 am]

by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends

All this week, Vancouver Islanders have been excited to see the exceptionally low tides and exposure of intertidal creatures, along various waterways and of course at the ocean shoreline.

People were able to see ‘below the sea’ without even getting their feet wet.

On Monday July 11 and Tuesday July 12 the tide dropped below “chart datum,” the typical lowest tide. That exposed many more creatures in their natural habitat (oops, without the cover of water) than are seen most of the time.

shoreline, cadboro bay, July 15 2022
Low tide shoreline at Cadboro Bay, July 15, 2022. [Molly Pearce / Island Social Trends]

Victoria had one low tide at about 9:30 a.m. and another was expected at 8:45 p.m.

Tides change on a few time scales based on where the moon is and how near it is to the Earth, depending on cycles, some of which change every day and some of which last nearly 19 years.

What’s special about this year is that several of tidal cycles are aligning at once, producing some of the lowest low tides. Spring tides — when tides jump from extreme highs to extreme lows and line up with the full moon — are currently in effect. The full moon overnight is the closest it will be to Earth in 2022. The peak of the moon’s 18.6-year cycle, also known as the Lunar Standstill, is fast approaching. The peak occurs in 2024-2025, but observable effects extend for at least three years around that period, as explained by CBC meteorologist Johanna Wagstaffe. 

This month’s full moon was at 11:37 am on Wednesday July 13. For the astrologically informed, that saw the moon at 21°21′ Capricorn — offering momentum within things that are normally structured and clearer insight into established systems.

water levels, victoria
Water levels in Victoria, BC, July 11 to 15, 2022. [Government of Canada]

Last summer’s lowest tides were nearly as low as this summer’s, but there was also extreme heat last summer which led to a mass die-off of marine animals. This year’s early July weather has not reached extreme temperatures, but has hovered in the normal low-20s range. All this week there has been no rain.

Shoreline cleanups of unwanted debris are usually done in the off-season (spring and fall).

==== LINKS:

Tides and solar charts (Victoria, BC)

Lunar calendar – moon phases and eclipses (Victoria, BC)