Tag Archives: charts

Time and Tide Wait for No One

But at least we know their schedule!

All of NBBC’s East River trips, whether by canoe or kayak, have to take into account the tidal currents of the Hudson River estuary. Indeed, the East River, our home waters, is not really a river at all. It’s a tidal strait where the water of the Atlantic Ocean cycles around Long Island, ebbing and flooding in a complex interplay of forces.

An hour past low water at the Battery, from Eldridge Tide and Pilot Book. H/T: New York City Water Trail Association

So the NBBC trip leaders plan each trip carefully, taking advantage of the period of slack currents to ride the ebb tide one direction and the flood tide the other. To help our trip leaders and keep our members and friends informed, NBBC has added a tide widget to the website’s sidebar:

This widget shows the tides, but it does not show the currents. That information is available from NOAA. And on our Paddle page, you can find a slack chart as both a JPEG and a PDF, showing the predicted moments when the tidal current reverses direction at Thirty-First St. in the East River:

Tidal Currents, 2017, off 31st St.

Tide and current shape the estuary now as they have done for centuries and centuries . . .

Flow on, river! flow with the flood-tide, and ebb with the ebb-tide!
Frolic on, crested and scallop-edg’d waves!
Gorgeous clouds of the sunset! drench with your splendor me, or the men and women generations after me!
Cross from shore to shore, countless crowds of passengers!
Stand up, tall masts of Mannahatta! stand up, beautiful hills of Brooklyn!
Throb, baffled and curious brain! throw out questions and answers!
Suspend here and everywhere, eternal float of solution!

–Walt Whitman, “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry”
 
 
Bushwick Inlet trip, May 27, 2017
 
 
And, of course, when the currents won’t cooperate, we always have Newtown Creek!