Fast Facts About the Tide to Make the Most of Your Beach Time
Avid beachgoers know that tides matter! Depending on what you are planning to do on the beach or in the water, you will probably need to know the tide predictions and times for each day of your Topsail Island, North Carolina vacation so that you can make the most of your beach time. No one wants to waste precious vacation time trying to do beach activities that don't pair well with the tide level at that given moment. To help you out, we're sharing some fast facts about the tide and some specific beach activities that go best with each level of tide. We're also offering some advice on the best Topsail vacation rental locations to consider if you really want to keep an eye on the tide. Let's get started!
FAST FACTS ABOUT THE TIDE
Here are some fast and fascinating facts about the tide that you should know before your Topsail, NC beach vacation. Tides are more complicated than you might think!
EARTH, MOON & SUN
Tides are an interactive combination of forces between the Earth, the moon, and the sun. Oceanographers are able to predict the magnitude and time of the low and high tides for a given location for a year in advance.
Tide prediction allows surfers to choose the best time of the day to catch waves, fishermen to plan their activities, and cargo ships to transport large items as they pass under bridges.
Hellenistic astronomer and philosopher Seleucus of Seleucia was the first scientist to speculate that tides were caused by the moon in 150 BC.
THE MOON MATTERS
The moon is the most relevant factor in the creation of tides. The sun's gravitational force on the Earth is only 46 percent that of the moon.
TIDE SPEED & OCEAN DEPTH
Since tides can be viewed as shallow-water waves that travel across the ocean, their propagation speed is solely dependent on the ocean depth.
WAVELENGTH & TIDE CYCLE
The wavelength of a tidal wave is of around 12,430 miles (roughly 20,000 kilometers). The tidal cycle is 24 hours and 50 minutes.
DIFFERENCES IN TIDAL RANGE
Some regions of the world have a larger tidal range (the difference between the low and high tide) than others because of differences in the shape of the ocean floor.
150 FACTORS INFLUENCE THE TIDES
On a smaller scale the shape of the shoreline, bays, estuaries, local winds, and weather patterns can also affect tides and are part of 150 factors affecting the tide.
WATCH THIS VIDEO ABOUT THE TIDES
If you happen to be a visual person (like me), you'll appreciate the explanations and graphics in this video to give you a better understanding of the topics discussed above. This video is also a great, quick mini science lesson for the kids, so watch this with them.
THE TIDE & TOPSAIL BEACH ACTIVITIES
The first thing you want to do before planning your Topsail beachfront vacation activities is to look at the Topsail Island tide tables. It's a great place to get started before heading out on the sand and into the water, especially if you have specific beach activities in mind.
The water is safest during a slack tide, during which the water moves very little. A slack tide happens in the hour preceding or following a high or low tide. Swimmers will also enjoy waves with shorter intervals, which are calmer and less dangerous.
FOR SNORKELERS & DIVERS
Visibility will be best after high slack tide. This is when the tide has just come in, it’s at its highest, and there is very little tidal current. The water will be clear enough for you to spot all exciting marine life in the water. In many places, this tide will occur around mid-afternoon.
Waves are typically good in between high tide and low tide. During high tide, the waves break too close to shore to offer much of a ride. During low tide, uncovered rocks or seaweed may get in the way. Waves with long intervals and large swells are ideal.
The optimal tide depends on what you want to do with your board. The low tide will be best for those who want to ride their board on the sand, but for those who want to ride waves, a high tide will be better as the waves break closer to shore.
The best time to cast out your line is when the tide is moving. Fishing in a falling tide, about two hours before low tide, will often yield great results because this is when fish feed on the insects and plants sucked in by the water.
FOR SHELLERS & BEACHCOMBERS
A low tide or falling tide reveals tidal pools and provides the best chances for spotting marine life. Beachcombers will have the most luck about two to three hours before a low tide, or about an hour afterwards. When reading a tide table, look for numbers under zero.
High tide is the easiest time to navigate a harbor. Higher waters make it possible to bypass underwater barriers like sand bars, rocks, or reefs. On the other hand, low tide will make it easier for a tall boat to safely travel beneath a bridge.
It will be easiest to paddle with, rather than against, a current. If you are paddling against an incoming or outgoing tide, it may be very difficult for you to make progress. The two hours in the middle of the tide cycle are when the current is strongest.
TIDES & OCEANFRONT TOPSAIL RENTALS
Where should you stay for the best views of the changing tides? In an oceanfront Topsail rental, of course! You can see the day's tidal conditions right from your oceanfront deck or by stepping right out onto the beach. You should really consider choosing an oceanfront rental if you're planning on spending a lot of time doing all the beach activities that you love. It's the closest and most convenient way to get onto the sand and into the water. Click below to read more about our Topsail beach vacation rentals, and let us know if we can help find the right one for you!
DID YOU FIND THIS TIDE INFORMATION HELPFUL FOR YOUR TOPSAIL, NC BEACH VACATION?
We hope so!