The moon and sun have cooperated to provide a spectacle of the sea floor today as low tide stretches further than it has since June 20, 1951.
Yesterday’s low tide in Victoria was expected to drop to negative -0.1 metres shortly after 11 a.m. — which is unusually low, even for an Island.
June’s spring tides are usually the lowest tides on the coast, but Friday’s was the first of three extreme lows expected this summer. The moon, as expected, is responsible for all three according to Denny Sinnott, supervisor Tides, Currents and Water Levels, Canadian Hydrographic Service, Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
“You’ve got the three things lining up all together,” Sinnott says. “We’re having a new moon, so the moon and sun are aligned … the gravitational pull to both is great at this time.”
The moon is also in perigee, its closest point of its orbit and it’s furthest north of the equator in its orbit.
“Today it is the lowest of the month at -0.1 metres but there’s another event in July,” Sinnott said.
The predictions for Victoria, are July 13 at -0.1 metres around 10 a.m. and Aug. 11 for 0.1 metres at 9:45 a.m.
Further up Vancouver Island the tide varies slightly with today’s 0.4 metres expected shortly before 1 p.m, July 13 around 12:09 p.m. again at 0.4 metres, and Aug. 11 at 0.6 metres.
They’re not unusual lows for Campbell River which gets similar 0.4 or 0.5 in December as well. Yesterday’s tide was 0.31 at 1:37 p.m. and today’s was 0.39 at 2:21 p.m.
Predictions can change up to a metre based on weather systems, which today appear fairly stable, Sinnott said.
“If we have a real high pressure system it’ll press the surface down,” he explained.
Visit waterlevels.gc.ca to find your highs and lows.