The Mighty Tides of Parrsboro

Courtesy Betty Ann DeWitt- Royal LePage Preview Realty- 902-254-3299  Email

A healthy respect for their awesome power is advised!

We have the worlds highest tides right here in our seaside town and no matter if you are a visitor or a lifelong resident, the tides are guaranteed to amaze you. You can choose to just sit and watch or meander the tide line searching for shells and other interesting flotsam and jetsam. Our miles of rugged coastline scenery and  many beaches that abound with sea animals, birds and friendly people, are a well known haven for  photographers and artists alike.

There is a rise and fall in sea level  twice per day. Tide tables

Cause of tides?

The moon's gravitational pull.

A bulge in the water on the Earth's surface occurs on both the side facing the moon and the side away from the moon.

The highest tides in the world occur in the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia, Canada. The tidal range is 15-16 meters (approximately 45-50 feet). Because there are 2 high tides and 2 low tides in each day (roughly a 24 hour period), then the tide must come in within about a 6 hour period. As a rough estimate, the tide rises about 8 feet (or 96 inches) an hour (48 feet divided by 6 hours). This translates to a tide which rises at more than one inch per minute. If you have walked down a beach with a steep cliff along side (which is common there), be sure to watch the tides. If you walk for about an hour and then notice that the tide is coming in, the water will be over your head before you get back to where you started!

Areas that are alternately submerged and exposed by rising and falling tides are called tidal flats.

Tides at certain times of the month are unusually lower or higher than at others. The reason for this has to do with the position of both the sun and the moon relative to the Earth. If all three are lined up in a straight line, the tides will have a higher tidal range. They are called spring tides. But if the sun and moon are at right angles to one another, the tidal range will be lower. These tides are called neap tides.

We must also remember there is a window of time between high and low tides where the tide as we call it "rests." The flow of water comes to a halt for a period of time before it moves in the opposite direction again, if it didnít we would have high and low tides at the same time every day which of course isnít the case. Just as in natural science class, we learn when you throw a ball into the air, it must come to a finite point where it completely stops its upward movement before gravity takes over and the ball falls to earth again. In the movement of water and tides the same thing is true. The flooding or ebbing of a tide must stop before it can go in the opposite direction, we call this "slack" water. In other words the tide has stopped moving and is slack with no movement up or down. However this period or window of time can vary from day to day and particularly on full or new moons. While the slack period of a tide may be 35 minutes off the moon, the window of slack tide on a moon may only be a few minutes before the turnaround of the tide. This is why high and low tides are different every day

 Facts on Our Tides!!

High tides happen every 12 hours and 25 minutes (or nearly an hour later each day) because of the changing position of the Moon in its orbit around the Earth.

 Near mid-tide at Cape Split, one may hear the "voice of the Moon" in the form of the roar emitted by turbulent tidal currents.

 At mid-tide, the flow in Minas Channel north of Blomidon equals the combined flow of all the rivers and streams on Earth!

 Nova Scotia bends when the tide comes in!! As 14 billion tons (14 cubic kilometers) of sea water flow into Minas Basin twice daily, the Nova Scotia countryside actually tilts slightly under the immense load!

 In mid-summer, crustaceans in the inter-tidaly mudflats provide a crucial source of food for hundreds of thousands of migrating shorebirds!!

 The waters of the Minas Basin appear muddy, because the strong tidal currents cause erosion of the red soils along the shoreline and this soil is suspended in the water!!

 When the tide is coming in, tidal bores (which look like a wave traveling against the flow of the river) surge up several rivers which flow into the Minas Basin. Some great tidal bores can be seen on the Shubenacadie, Maccan and Salmon River!!

Most of all, be warned the tide does not come straight in and flow straight out in some spots. Therefore if you are far out on the beach and you check the tides in front of you to make sure you are safe, please also check on each side of you. Water takes the path of least resistance and many an unwary beach comber has found the tide flowing in from behind blocking the path in to shore. The tides are to be respected not feared and with a little common sense and some advice from the "live ere's "they will be a great memory for the rest of your life.

Pictured below are Parrsboro Harbour and light house at full tide in summer and again at low tide in winter.