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Bay Area Scuba Lovers Message Board Diving Skills Forum › Tides Around Monterey Bay for Divers?

Tides Around Monterey Bay for Divers?

David D.
Clifton Park, NY
Post #: 8
Where is there good information about tides in Monterey Bay? How do we use the tide information around here? Heck, do we use the tide information to help plan our dives? Here are some things I know:
- High tide and low tide, when the tide reaches an extreme and turns, can be times of less current.
- Half way between high and low tide can be times of highest current.
- Current for this discussion can be the general pull towards deeper water on outgoing tide or push to shallower water on incoming tide.
- Currents are influenced by more than tide and can seem unpredictable.

Here are things I know of coral bottom but do not know if they apply here in California with the rock, sand, and kelp forests:
- Visibility can be better on rising tide as clearer deep water is being brought in by the tide.
- Visibility can be less optimal on falling tide as debris is being pulled off the reef by outgoing tide.

Higher tides are better for diving. Access is easier if we are not negotiating difficult bottoms working our way to deeper water in which we can descend.

Tides are cyclical everywhere. There might be two, three, or four tide changes per day. Two are one high and one low, four are high-low-high-low, three is some combination of two and one either high or low. When we have four tides which seems more common, often the two highs are divided by a low which is not particularly low which is what we have for the weekend days in August making it a great tidal month for diving.

Early August 2009 looks good for diving. There is a high tide in the morning that can be during the first dive if we take ourselves seriously. Another high tide occurs just before dark. The low between is barely below the morning high tide making the entire dive day a time of tide exerting little influence on water movement and offering potential for lower stress and therefore very pleasant dives.

Knowledge of tides are good for calculating risk into the dive plan. Closeness to the deeper offshore water offers potential for better visibility. That proximity also offers potential for encounter with more-interesting deeper-water pelagic (free-swimming with no set home) life forms. Out near the south corner of the mouth of Monterey Bay we have three nearby dive sites. Coral Street is farther out, more exposed, and with greater risk that we hope to minimize. Lover's Point is closer in, much better protected, with less inherent risk to manage, a safer site, with lower likelihood of the unexpected. Otter Cove between is just that.

Can everyone with even a bit of knowledge offer at least one insight to how tides influence the diving around Monterey Bay and Carmel Bay? And, where are the better websites for getting reliable tidal data for Monterey Bay and Carmel Bay?


user 8098305
Sunnyvale, CA
Post #: 3
For raw tidal data, there's always those itty bitty books available in most dive or gift shops in Santa Cruz and Monterey. For online, theres:­
(I like the "Graphic Plot" option in the first menu.)

Aquatic Discovery also has dive conditions available online:

You can also see wave model data:

Add it all up and it gets us closer to know what actual dive conditions are. (But there's no substitute for actual, human eyes viewing the sight.)
David D.
Clifton Park, NY
Post #: 9
...itty bitty books available in most dive or gift shops in Santa Cruz and­
(I like the "Graphic Plot" option in the first menu.)...Aquatic Discovery also has dive
http://www.aquaticdis...­ it all up and it gets us closer to know what actual dive conditions are. (But there's no substitute for actual, human eyes viewing the sight.)

We agree 100 percent: eyes on the water are the best tool for basing our judgement. We should never enter water we are not confident we can get back out of later. A wise man has said:

'Better to be on shore,
wishing we were in the water,
than being in the water,
wishing we were on shore'

Will keep my eyes open for one of those 'itty bitty books' to see if there is value in buying one. Besides that, the online with the graphic plot is what I sought. Created tidal plots for each weekend in August, tides are looking good for the next diving Meetup 1 August and the day after. Morning smaller high tide followed by an early afternoon fairly tall low tide tells us there will be little tidal movement during our dives and offers potential for very comfortable and interesting dives, just like most of us like our dives.

One comment about the Aquatic Discovery dive site conditions page which was a daughter from the link. Condition Dive says it is realtime dive site conditions, yet the 'most recent update' column shows dates as long as two months ago which if understood correctly are not real time at all and unlikely to be in any way relevant. Did I somehow misinterpret what is there?

Thanks for the links
Santa Clara, CA
Post #: 1
Olyvia (another diver in this group) has sent me this before for wave forecasts. I think that's very useful, and I want to share with you:­
Aaron B.
San Francisco, CA
Post #: 3
Very nice comments, David. I've learned something and have some new tools for planning future dives. Thank you.

From my side, I always check the tides before setting the float for a class. I'm looking for about 20 fsw and the tide can do it's work between the time I set the float and we complete the last dive of the day. For example, if I set the float in 22 feet and come back to find it in 28 feet, students will have a much tougher time with the CESA skill.

This is not applicable to most divers, but I hope the perspective is useful or interesting.
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