Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Now for the High Tides...

This tide easily exceeds the average high tide line, and it's still rolling in.
My last post showed an extremely low tide that allowed folks to walk across the tidal flats all the way out to the spit of sand that becomes Long Point. This photo shows the voluminous high tide the next afternoon, and there were more to follow.
In fact, from now through September, we're likely to have many more  of these tremendous high tides during the full moon as it continues to orbit 31,000 miles closer to the earth than at any other time of the year. I've studied up a bit on all this moon and tide stuff in the last couple of days…
It seems that the moon orbits the earth in a kind of ellipse rather than a perfect circle, with the earth situated slightly off center, just a bit closer to one side of that giant oval shape the moon makes as it travels around us. That means that the moon is actually orbiting closer to the earth from July through September than it does at any other time of the year. It's called the perigee, when the moon is in the part of its orbit that brings it closest to the earth. That's why the moon looks so much larger right now than it does during the winter, when it's at its farthest from the earth, during its apogee phase.
I made it to the Far West End of Provincetown Harbor for this photo a bit before the real peak of the high tide this day, so the water actually rose a bit higher than shown in this photo. Read my June 16th, 2012 blog about hiking the breakwater to the Wood End Light, where you'll find links to a tide chart and a bit of information about the lighthouse, as well as the American Lighthouse Foundation. Unfortunately, the VISA card program cited there, benefitting the ALF, has ended, so that link is no longer valid. But you'll find info on getting to the Far West End and tips to keep you safe on your hike, as this trip can be a little tricky in spots, and may be rather strenuous for most of us.
One day soon I'll write about hiking out to the Long Point Light, at the very tip of Cape Cod. After all, I can't write about this area every day (although I actually could write about it every day, for at least two weeks or more…)
Enjoy your hike, and please, be careful. Or you could simply sit on the benches and watch the water change colors all afternoon, or watch the artists who flock to this spot nearly every summer day to paint the wetlands before they disappear beneath the high tides.

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