Upcoming low tides perfect for exploring

Staff writerJune 8, 2014 

Celebrate low tide at Pt. Robinson

The ninth annual Low Tide Celebration at Point Robinson on Maury Island will be Saturday. The free event will run from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Visitors will have the chance to explore, discover and appreciate the marine life on the shore of Puget Sound during a minus 3.3-foot tide. Vashon beach naturalists will be on hand to answer questions.

Mike Evans will skipper the Blue Heron canoe family as they paddle their way to the point to honor the celebration. Traditional native uses of shoreline resources will be explained by Odin Lonning, Tlingit artist and cultural educator.

The Point Robinson Lighthouse also will be open.

A shuttle bus will run along Point Robinson Road to take people from their parked cars and the festivities. Refreshments, native art and Low Tide T-shirts also will be available for sale on site.

Some of the best low tides of the summer will take place this week, making for good conditions to explore local beaches for marine creatures.

Whether you join an organized outing or explore on your own, low tides are the perfect opportunity to see some of the marine creatures that live close to shore. You might come across a sea cucumber, sea stars, crabs of all sizes and colors, small octopuses, gunnels, kelp, sea lettuce, rockweed, rainbow seaweed and algae such as Turkish towel.

Places to go: The South Sound has a number of good beaches to explore at low tide. Here are a few: Titlow Beach in Tacoma; Fox Island bridge, Kopachuck State Park and Penrose Point State Park in the Gig Harbor area; Quartermaster Harbor at Vashon Island; Sunnyside Beach Park in Steilacoom; Burfoot Park and Priest Point Park north of Olympia; and Tolmie State Park and Nisqually Reach north of Lacey.

If you want to make a day trip out of it, there are a number of good spots within an easy drive. They include Seahurst Park in Burien, Beach Park in Des Moines, South Alki Beach in West Seattle, Richmond Beach in Shoreline, or Salt Creek Recreation Area west of Port Angeles.

Tacoma programs: The Tacoma Nature Center will hold its free Tiptoe through the Tidepools program from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday. Bring the family and explore the beach at Titlow Park, at the end of Sixth Avenue in Tacoma. Naturalists will be on hand to answer questions and talk about what creatures might be found in tide pools. Additional programs will be offered July 12 from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. and Aug. 9 from 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

The Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium will host a similar free program, Explore the Shore, June 15 at 12:30 p.m. Join zoo naturalists for a low tide walk on Owen Beach at Point Defiance Park. Help identify tide pool animals and record their presence and location in order to add the information to the scientific NatureMapping database. Other programs are set for June 26 at 10:30 a.m., July 11 at 10 a.m., July 14 at 12:15 p.m., and Aug. 11 at 11:15 a.m.

July tides: The next set of low tides will take place in mid-July. If you want to plan an outing, here are the dates and times (at the Tacoma Narrows Bridge): July 11, 10:58 a.m., -2.9 feet; July 12, 11:44 a.m., -3.2 feet; July 13, 12:31 p.m., -3.2 feet; and July 14, 1:17 p.m., -2.7 feet.

Tide information: You can get tide information for locations across Puget Sound and the coast at saltwatertides.com.

This week’s low tides

Tacoma Narrows Bridge

Thursday: 11:20 a.m., -2.7 feet

Friday: 12:03 p.m., -3.2 feet

Saturday: 12:48 p.m., -3.4 feet

June 15: 1:34 p.m., -3.1 feet

June 16: 2:22 p.m., -2.3 feet

Budd Inlet, Olympia

Thursday: 11:54 a.m., -2.8 feet

Friday: 12:37 p.m., -3.3 feet

Saturday: 1:22 p.m., -3.6 feet

June 15: 2:08 p.m., -3.2 feet

June 16: 2:56 p.m., -2.5 feet

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