Tide direction along kimberley coast

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    • #3078

      Can someone clarify the general direction of tide set along  the kimberley coast. Info on this site says generally floods west and ebbs east. Western Aust CYC guide says exactly the opposite. Which is correct. Any clarification would be greatly appreciated.  Cheers Mark

    • #3080

      Hi Mark, Its very hard to clarify the Kimberley tides. The FSC West Aus Cruising Guide is generally correct when you’re well off shore. IE. Floods E and S, ebbs W and N. However, most cruising boats stay relatively close to the coast and sail in and out of the many large inlets, harbours, gulfs and bays that make up the main cruising area.

      The KCCYC Anchorage leaflets in this website usually only mention the tidal streams for the specific location in the anchorage, and are not general for the whole of the Kimberley.

      The majority of the inlets etc. run north/south. So as a rule of thumb, the tides in the inlets flood S, SW & SE into the inlets, and ebb N, NW & NE out of the inlets.

      But when you get to the many capes and headlands between the inlets, such as Cape Londonderry and Cape Bougainville; the tide can to be ebbing NE out of one inlet, and NW out of the inlet on the other side of the cape. In such places, you could be catching the NE flowing ebb tide out of an inlet towards a cape, then run into a NW ebbing tide flowing out of the inlet you are sailing towards on the other side of the cape. How’s that for clarity?

      Where tides converge at these capes and headlands, the water can be very rough, particularly at spring tides. Also, you might be getting a 2-3 knot push from the tide going with you on one side of a headland, until you meet the convergence, then a few minutes later you can get a 2-3 knot knock from the tide going against you on the other side of the headland.

      There are also a number of channels and straights formed between islands and the mainland, such as Geranium Harbour, which floods W, Scott Straight, which floods SW, Voltaire Passage, which floods E, Rogers Straight, which floods SW, and the Canal near Koolan Island, which floods E.

      The good thing is, when you get there on your boat, you very quickly learn from experience how to read and work the tides. If you don’t learn, you will waste a lot of fuel, or worse – go backwards.

      Sorry I cant give you an easy or consistent solution about Kimberley tidal streams..

      Cheers, Ross.

    • #3081

      Thanks Ross, you have gone above and beyond and given a very detailed answer and is much appreciated.

      I am very aware of the varied tides around inlets and headlands. I was just a bit confused that in reading the different guides I found both made statements over the general set of the tides which seemed to be completely opposite. As you say this is also possibly to do with the distance off shore.

      Rest assured I am gathering as much information from as many sources as possible before setting out from Darwin next year and like to get straight in my head as much as possible of things to expect.

      Cheers Mark

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