Wednesday, February 01, 2012

The tide's out

I find tides quite interesting. My father would always say, the tide's coming in, or going out. This was evidently important if you wanted to catch fish. I don't like fishing. Along with it being ever so boring, I don't like to see fish gasping for oxygen once they are out of the water. I like my fish in a can or batter where I can ignore their suffering of a slow death.

Tides, yes, that was what I am talking about. Where is a big one? Funny that you have asked. Maybe outback explorer Red or local WA person Grace or traveller Diane have seen this, but no matter, there are very big tidal changes at a certain place in Western Australia. Correctly now perhaps, West Australia, a state within our great Commonwealth of Australia. You are waiting to hear about tides? I seldom write a post without a personal connection, however obscure at times.

David Attenborough featured the location on one of his shows, I believe. Let me see what I can find out about it.

It is near Derby, way up north in West Australia. I think that is pronounced as written rather than Darby. Ok, I have found Attenborough's clip on YT.

Talbot Bay is the exact location. The bay has two narrow openings to the Indian Ocean and the tidal water flows in and out these gaps with huge force. The highest world tides recorded are in Nova Scotia, but this place has the second highest in the world.

There can be a fourteen metre change in the water level in just four hours. To visualise, think of the height of a five storey building. I'm thinking of a couple of turbines to generate electricity. I can also imagine a lot of sea creatures get swept in and out if they are nearby. Your pooh stick would take off like a rocket.

Best you watch the You Tube clip.


  1. Isn't Mother Nature amazing :-).

  2. Thanks Andrew, this is astonishing. With that kind of power and the potential for erosion, it's amazing the gaps in the rockface are so small.

  3. Thanks for this. Quite a privilege to see such a thing, even if on film.

  4. I think your turbine/electricity generator is a great idea. Pity the pollies don't think like you do.

  5. She is indeed Windsmoke.

    That occurred to me too Windsmoke. I suspect it is very hard rock, maybe full of iron and Gina has a claim staked.

    Christine, it must be amazing to see for real, but as the clip says, it is pretty inaccessible.

    River, I thought later, they would probably have to blast rock, dredge underwater...maybe not such a good idea.

  6. It really is an amazing sight Andrew, thanks for finding David Attenborough's video on this amazing sight and showing it. Just one more fascinating thing Western Australia!

  7. PDP, it is a pity we didn't know about it and had to see it via an English tv show.

  8. What's a "pooh stick"?
    I'm Australian and I've never heard of this before...

  9. There's a place in Italy, or is it France, that has phenomenal tides too. I think it's Italy, my parentals had pics from a decade or so ago. Impressive clip.

  10. Rob, not as bad as it sounds. Technically pooh sticks is a kids game. Two stand on one side of a bridge, throw their pooh sticks, any old stick will do, into the water below then rush to the other side of the bridge to see which comes out first. Probably English.

    Fen, one place it certainly isn't is the Mediterranean where the tides are minimal.

  11. Can't believe I missed this one!!! It's actually known as the 'Horizontal Waterfall' and there are plane tours from Derby (pronounced as you have indicated). That's a 'next time' for us!! I think the tide isn't actually 15 metres, but because of the water level, that's the actual movement (if that makes sense). We had to content ourselves with the ~11 metre tide of Derby in 2012!!

    1. Red, I would want them to land and see it happen close up. It must be exciting to watch.