Cave adventures

Caves, big and small, along the base of south end cliffs are exposed during extreme low tides in summer.

LONG BEACH PENINSULA — In recent years, residents and visitors alike have enjoyed the access that exceptionally low summer tides provide to sea caves, tide pools and other areas normally hidden from view.

“In 2019, the lowest tides will arrive during short periods at the end of spring and in summer, setting up good opportunities for tide pool explorers, beach adventurers and photographers,” the Oregonian reported on May 27.

Some of these tides are this week.

Waikiki sea cave

The tide is sometimes low enough to do some exploring of the cave near Waikiki Beach at Cape Disappointment State Park. The different colors reveal layers of different creatures that live on the rocks of the cape.

According to data provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for Cape Disappointment, this week will all offer unusual chances to see things usually underwater:

• June 5, 8:55 a.m., -1.9

• June 6, 9:41 a.m., -1.81

• June 7, 10:31 a.m., -1.54

• June 8, 11:24 a.m., -1.12

Later in the month, there are substantial low tides June 15 through 19.

Tide pools

Anemones continue feeding in the tide pools of Beards Hollow even when the tide is out.

Some of the lowest tides of 2019 will coincide with the Independence Day holiday, with July 4 falling on a Thursday this year.

Here are some of July’s lowest tides at Cape D, which is representative of tides all along the Pacific County coast:

• July 1, 6:29 a.m., -1.36

• July 2, 7:12 a.m., -1.89

• July 3, 7:56 a.m., -2.23

• July 4, 8:40 a.m., -2.35

• July 5, 9:26 a.m., -2.22

• July 6, 10:13 a.m., -1.83

• July 7, 11:02 a.m., -1.24

Other noteworthy low tides through the remainder of the summer will be July 15 through 18, July 30 through Aug. 4, and Aug. 28 through Sept. 1.

Some past July 4 holidays — particularly 2016 — have included tide-related problems, when visitors unfamiliar with tides were caught by incoming waters after dark. This shouldn’t be an issue this year, as the peak tide on July 4 is 6.98 at 3:37 p.m., with a low p.m. tide of 2.46 just after dark.

Around 10:30 p.m. on July 4, 2016, a long line of vehicles waiting to leave the beach came to a standstill when a bottleneck formed at the Bolstad Beach approach.

Dozens of cars sank into the sand when they tried to get into — or out of — the queue.

Meanwhile, as the 12:20 a.m., eight-foot tide approached, waves began washing in around the cars, causing even more vehicles to get stuck.

This year, there is an 8.67 tide following July 4 revelries, but not until 2:48 a.m. on the 5th, by which time nearly everyone should be off the beach.

There is danger whenever people are close to the ocean, and these low tides warrant special caution to avoid the flood that can quickly inundate exposed beaches.

Super-low tides expose unfamiliar sights

Extremely low summer tides — bookends to the king tides that flood Long Beach Peninsula shorelines in the winter — provide pedestrian access to seldom-seen areas in recent days.

Local safety and rescue experts say that it is never safe to swim — or even wade — at local beaches.

Due to cold water temperatures, the lack of lifeguards, floating logs and other debris, and a very strong rip current, the water here is dangerous, even when it appears to be calm. Additionally, large “sneaker waves” can occur at any time.

Parents who do allow children to wade should have a sober adult stay within arms’ reach of them at all times.

Anyone who spots a swimmer in distress should call 911 immediately, rather than attempting to rescue them.

Stay on shore and try to provide emergency responders with as much information as possible about the victim’s location, activity and appearance.

The Oregonian notes that some of this summer’s low tides are likely to attract even more visitors to the already lively Pacific Northwest coast.

“If you plan on driving down … it will be wise to show up early. If you want to spend the night, you should probably have a reservation already in place.”

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