High Tides can Open the River Mouth

Six foot high tides today.

The day was all ready off to a good start when I got up, sunny and comfortable, was on the water at Jenner around ten thirty. As you can see from the photos taken today, it was a real nice day down there too. I wanted to get out there early today to check on what the high tide would do to the river mouth. I observed, in August, these high, high tides open up the mouth when it was closed. Tides in the six foot range happen in a cycle. You have lower high tides and higher high tides. When these higher high tides hit, they can be high enough to go over the sand bars that can close the mouth. This action of the ocean water going over the sand bar at high tide, causes sand in the sand bar to wash into the river as the ocean water pours into the river from going over the sand bar. This action can cause the mouth to open a bit, then, if enough water comes into the river on this cycle, the water can wash back over the sand bar to the ocean during low tide, causing more of the sand bar to wash out to the ocean. Repeating this process with enough, high, high tides, can open the mouth all the way. A high, high tide is what I call tides in the six foot or above range. Tides in the 5.7 foot and above can also help this process, but the ones that go over six feet seem to do the best job of opening the mouth up.

The below photo is of the river mouth, looking out to the ocean. Jetty is on the left and the mouth is trying to open a bit to the right. It’s a six foot high tide at the time of the photo. And the ocean is a bit rough.

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While I was sitting here, with the ocean crashing real close by, I spied a big crab claw in the shallow water. It was a big one, twice what I’m used to seeing on a Dungeness crab. I was watching it, trying to maneuver for a pic, when I noticed a one foot wave coming fast at me, broadside,  just five feet away. It had made it in the mouth from the ocean on a big wave. I had my camera in my lap and a wave like that would go over the side of the kayak and soak it if it hit me. I only had time to just maneuver to a forty five degree to the wave when it came over the side and splashed some water on my camera. Not good, but I avoided disaster, the little water didn’t hurt it, only drops, but it did get me a bit wet. My butt was damp and wet the rest of the day.

You can see in the below photo how the ocean water washes over things. It’s covering the jetty that comes in from the left. This happens mostly when we have a high, high tide. High tide, six feet at the time of the photo.

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Below is how the beach should work, if the jetty wasn’t in place.

The below photo illustrates how the sand bar functioned before the jetty was installed. This is a shot just to the right of the jetty. Since there is no jetty in this area, you can see how things should work if the jetty wasn’t there stopping this action from happening. Note that the sand bar is low, letting high tide waves break over it. This lets more sea water in, then it let’s back out. This water can also cause sand to wash over the bar carrying sand into the river from this action, bringing a lot of sand back into the river channel, making it shallower.

From my understanding from talking with Locals from Jenner, this is how the whole beach from this point to Goat rock, which is south of here used to function before the jetty was installed.

And by the way, the jetty was installed years ago, but was never finished, because the guy died. It was tried again, in the 1970’s, but the Jenner people stopped the development. The way the sand moves around here, it seems it would be very hard to keep the mouth of the river open without a lot of cost. Now, ……….the jetty is not needed and in fact it stops the ocean from moving the river mouth to the south where the locals tell me it used to go out.

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Coots come in the fall.

In the fall, many Mud hens or coots settle on the lower Russian river for several months. Not sure what all they eat, but they seem to suck a lot of moss.

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A little closer view of these Mud hens.

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Just after seeing these ducks I ran into Raymond and his daughter kayaking on the east end of the island. I yakked with them up to Willow Creek and back. The water was fairly flat when I started in the morning, but on the way back, the wind had picked up and there were white caps on the river water. I just happen to like these white caps on a warm day. They tend to scare most of the other boaters off the river, so I usually have the river all to myself when this happens.

Had a great day.

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