Lowest tides of the year bring out Nanaimo beachcombers

By Ian Holmes
June 15, 2018 - 11:21am Updated: June 15, 2018 - 1:47pm

Large sections of sandy beach are showcased when the tides are low in Nanaimo's north end.Ian Holmes/NanaimoNewsNOW

Blueback Beach during extreme low tides on Friday afternoon.Ian Holmes/NanaimoNewsNOW

A few dogs and their owners enjoyed the expansive sand in the Invermere Beach area of Nanaimo on Friday.Ian Holmes/NanaimoNewsNOW

NANAIMO — Extremely low tides have made their way to west coast shorelines, leading to warnings for boaters and excitement from local beachcombers.

Denny Sinnott, supervisor of tides, currents and water levels with the DFO's Canadian Hydrographic Service, said a low tides of 0.1 meters will be in effect in the Nanaimo area at 1:30 p.m. Friday, June 15.

Sinnott said three driving factors are at play, involving the moon and sun, causing low and high tides.

“The sun and the moon are lined up together, we have a very strong gravitational pull from the two of those at this point in time,” Sinnott said. “You're going to see a big tide range.”

Sinnott said while low tides experienced in Nanaimo Thursday and Friday are not record-breaking, they are much lower than usual.

He told NanaimoNewsNOW boaters need to be mindful of potential unexpected navigational hazards close to shorelines, like rocks or misplaced ramps which could challenge commercial operators.

“Hopefully the mariner out there is going to use the charts correctly with the tide tables. There's always going to be a problem, but I'm hoping the mariners are pretty well prepared.”

Sinnott said there will be plenty more lower tides than usual in the weeks again, specifically on July 13 and 14, and August 1.

Several people took advantage of the expansive sandy beach revealed by the low tide in Nanaimo's north end. Sammy Hellyer and two friends took the opportunity to go for a stroll.

“It's like Nanaimo's Tofino, it's beautiful, it's a little hidden gem on the island,” Hellyer told NanaimoNewsNOW. “It's our favourite place to come, we're here once or twice a week.”

Jason Yang brought his family to Blueback Beach, where they dug for clams and built sandcastles.

“It's very nice here today, the kids love to run around in the sand. I'm sure there will be more people here enjoying the low tide tomorrow,” Yang said.

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