Monday, September 28, 2009

Alaska Bits -- 8 --Not Bored by the Tide.

You saw a bit of Turagain Arm in the Alaska Bits 3 post. In those photos taken early in the day and the sunset one much later, the tide was high. Between those shots we arrived carefully at Bird Point to take another look, a look out into the arm at low tide. You can see how low it looks here.

We had come to wait for the Bore Tide. Well, some of us waited while others of us watched. We watched for this strange phenomenon which occurs only in a few places in the world and two of them right here  in the Anchorage area.

Here we were, looking out into the mud flats that was the Turnagain in low tide, watching water birds walk across the sticky mud made up of glacial silt that could hold a person fast in place while the tide might rise as much as seven feet in an hour and overpower him. Going out walking in the mud is not a good idea.

And we waited while the tide turned and when it turns you can see it coming. If you are there on the day of the widest range of tides in the new moon, the bore tide can be a wall of water six to seven or even more feet high moving ahead of the incoming sea. Our bore tide looked only about a foot high, but it was pretty amazing at that.

You might think it looks a bit like the waves of the ocean lapping on the shore, and it does. But it just keeps coming straight up the valley as a wall--and remember we were viewing one of the smallest of the bore tides. Can you even imagine a wall of water six feet high? Makes me think tsunami. And it marches rapidly up the valley -- about a dozen miles an hour.

And the roiling waters follow it.


PERBS said...

Those tall waves reminded me of the north shores on Oahu. . . very interesting dialog with your photos! I almost felt like I was there!

Janie said...

Very cool phenomenon and great photos to illustrate!

Martha Z said...

You sure got some great shots on your trip. I have always wanted to see the bore tide in the Bay of Fundy. It looks like the Turnagain arm is even more spectacular.

Liz said...

There is a river severn bore. Sometimes brave lads will try and surf on it as far up the river as they can.