The Changing Face Of The River Dart
Have you ever wondered why The River Dart looks different every time you see it or what makes the tide flow in and out?
There have been times recently when the Upper Ferry couldn't run because the tide was so low and others when houses on the Bayards Cove had to put sandbags at their doors because the tide was so high, they were in danger of flooding. But that doesn't happen every day.
'Springs' and 'Neaps'
Heard the terms 'Springs' and 'Neaps' and wondered what vegetables have to do with the tides? Well it's nothing to do with veg but the names given to the highest and lowest tides and those in-between.
'Spring' tides are the highest of the high and lowest of the low tides and 'Neaps' are not so high, high tides and not so low, low tides. During Spring tides the rise and fall of the tides are much greater than during Neaps tides and each one happens twice a month.
Always keeping the river fresh and teaming with life...
During Spring Tides the water will move very quickly, sweeping with it natural debris and anything else in its path, ready for a new influx of water on the next tide, always keeping the river fresh and teaming with life.
Tides and the depth of water along the river is something we're always very aware of on The Fizz Boat, as there are many places we can't go when the tide's too low and it would be very inconvenient and not just a little embarrassing if we got stuck on the mud because we hadn't check the state of the tide before sailing!
And here's the sciencey bit...
It's all to do with the sun and moon!
Just like the seasons, time and night following day, tides are dictated by the movement of the earth and moon spinning around the sun.
When the sun and moon are in line, their magnetic pull on the water covering the earths surface is greatest, causing a lump of water to flow around the earth and when they are 90 degrees out of line it's at its weakest so the lump of water is smaller and that happens twice each month.
Sounds complicated doesn't it but that's why tides flow in and out of The Dart and why sometimes the tide is higher or lower than others.
You can check the times of high and low water on The Dart Harbour website, so you know when they're happening.
Look out for the tides today...
So when you pass by or cross the river today, look at its state and know that the water your seeing today, isn't the water you saw yesterday and that's what makes the awesome River Dart an ever changing spectacle of natural beauty!