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Extreme tides bring dinner

Posted: Friday, May 07, 2004

As Juneau's tide reached its monthly low Thursday, some residents found this week's dinner.

Clam diggers Ben Todd and Bryan and Lydia Harris were searching the shores of North Douglas on Thursday morning for four species of clams.

"I like to cook them in a number of different ways," said Todd, who found a couple of dozen clams in three hours. "I'll make clam chowder, or throw them in the pan with butter."

Thursday's low tide, at minus 4.4 feet, will be Juneau's lowest tide this month. On June 4 and July 3, the low tide will hit minus 4.7 feet.

"I usually just try to hit these big negative tides to get out there deep and hit some bigger species of clams," said Todd.

Larger and more abundant clams can be found during the low tides.

A tide of minus 4.4 feet happens about once a month in Juneau, said Juneau Port Director John Stone.

Boats should be careful at any negative tide, since charts are drawn for a tide equal to zero, Stone said. Loading and launching boats can be harder in the extreme tides, since the angle of the ramp is much steeper during a low tide.

Low tides are accompanied by high tides. The mass movement of water through channels can cause existing currents to pick up speed. If the wind is blowing, the faster currents can make for some choppy seas, Stone said.

High tides also increase the amount of debris floating in the waters of Southeast Alaska, since the water has access to areas of the beach it normally doesn't touch.

"You have to be careful because you get a lot of junk in the water," Stone said.



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 JOHN STONE   JUNEAU PORT DIRECTOR   BRYAN HARRIS   LYDIA HARRIS   BEN TODD 

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