Paddle Along with Naples Kayak Adventures. We Follow the Tides Because A Low or Rising Tide Matters!
Many folks don't realize that when planning an adventure kayak tour especially in Naples, Florida or Marco Island, Florida it is important to launch when the tide is at its best for that day. Why is this? Well, the the tide could be a rising tide or a lowering tide or a "dead tide" (no water movement) and ---- the times that these tidal changes happen change every single day. That's why it is absolutely critical to go kayaking during a peak tidal time and visit a location that is best for that tidal movement to give you the best opportunity for the viewing experience you desire. Most kayak company's that do tours ---- will not tell you that. Why? Because, they do not want to or may not have the manpower to offer tours around all these changing tides and/or their goal is to get the largest group on the water at the same time. Sadly, most kayak companies that do tours often list the same generic times at 9 AM or 1 PM everyday. Requesting a special time may cost more or you may be pushed to accept these generic time slots as legit. We are here to tell you ----- This is not the best experience at all even if you are told so because ----- you may be kayaking during high stagnant waters which is also called a "dead tide" or a very slow rising tide with little peak depth changes or very slow lowering tide with little peak depth changes ---- making good marine life viewing near impossible. In addition, if you launch against those tides whether it be with a tour or a rental ---- you are in for a seriously unfair workout ---- not the Florida vacation you might be excited about. So, why are we telling you this ---- because we are earth loving animal loving naturalists who really enjoy interacting with you ---- you are our customers and we really love sharing our experience with you ---- in the right and fair way. Our family business has an ideology that runs deep and we get the most enjoyment from enjoying life ---- so for us ---- we really love giving you the best experience possible. Our company is not just trying to sell this or that ---- it's trying to give you a great vacation because you are forever in our memories as well, so thank you for being a part of our lives too:) So, with all that said, if you want to learn more about tides, whether you are going on a tour with us or just renting on your own ---- this is useful and important info ---- so please ---- read on for your own good.
Let's talk about dead tides. Dead tides occur every single day at different times. It works like this, the water moves in (rising tide) or moves out (lowering tide), then it reaches its peak depth and basically stops moving which is a "dead tide". During a dead tide, the low or high stagnant water depth is maintained for a while and this could last for hours. Then the water starts to move again; either rising or lowering until its peak depth is reached again and you have another "dead tide". This fluctuation happens differently every day and could happen many times in one day. That is how tidal movements occur and they are influenced by the moon. When you look at a tidal app you will see these tidal movements represented in waves on a graph (fyi a great app for this is "Tides"). Variations can be extreme going from feet negative in depth up to many feet high in depth with short or long dead tides in between. So, why does this even matter? Why does a dead tide, slow rising or lowering tide effect your viewing potential? Why does it effect your paddling efforts? Let's look at each of these answers below.
Viewing potential: Well, when you kayak during minimal tidal depth changes (low-high-low) or when the water is not moving at all like during a "dead tide", then larger marine life are not at their peak activity. Larger marine life are not at their peak activity because; if the water is not moving then it is not pushing the smaller marine life around therefore; the food chain like smaller fish are not being pushed around by the moving waters. This makes it much harder for marine life to hunt for food and in general our marine life friends just don't want to work that hard. So, if you are kayaking during this time, your marine friends may not come out to play. Our marine life friends such as dolphins are smart enough to not waste their energy hunting during slow moving waters. During this time, they could just sit and relax, nurse their young or swim out to faster moving tidal streams in the deeper ocean to hunt. Instead, they will wait to hunt within the more inland waters where you will be kayaking when the water is moving faster. During these faster moving waters, they will move to the more narrow waterways and bays so all the smaller fish will be pushed out of their hiding spots and will funnel right to them for some easy eating time. With that said ---- there is a dead tidal movement time that can be good for shelling and seeing marine life on the ocean floor ---- but you have to be in the right location that yields this type of marine life and the tide needs to get low enough for that area to expose the ocean floor and create tidal pools. Also, if you really know your area, marine life behaviors, selecting tidal movements, and launch locations and times ---- you may get an opportunity to see large marine life, hunt for perfect shells and interact with a host of marine life from the ocean floors like sea stars and more (or check out our 10,000 Islands Ultimate Shelling Kayak Adventure Tour or Sunset Tour ---- it's amazing). Also, if you are looking to see manatees ---- they are like big sea cows grazing on vegetation such as heavy sea grass and they like warmer waters and conducive water depth for their size. However, they can be very shy in their natural habitat.
So, you really need to know the area and launch at the right times for certain opportunities to occur and of course it is never a guarantee ---- but you can really greatly increase your chances with careful planning. Either way you can see that 9 AM and 1 PM everyday traveling to the same spot at those times is not optimal. Also, it gets a bit more complicated than this. The location and the type of marine life in the area you are kayaking have different behaviors. They get picky when deciding to move around and many factors can influence their decision to do so; such as weather, temperatures, speed of water, and red tide to name a few. In addition, it's important to know your marine life in the area because it boils down to a short window when they appear in certain areas. They are constantly on the move. Also, when looking for perfect seashells and marine life from the ocean floor, you need to know how low the tide needs to be and how high the ocean floor is at the location you're planning to visit or you won't find what you are looking for. So, kayaking during slow moving waters or a dead tide is definitely not the optimal time to see larger marine life. Could it ever happen, sure ----- not likely but yes, ----- during that very slim chance you see a dolphin etc that did not migrate out with the outgoing tide or isn't hunkered down during a dead tide or has to hunt during slow moving waters because it has no other options. So, it could happen if you are lucky. However, for the most optimal viewing times, there's still quite a bit more to launching than just during fast moving waters. That's why it takes so much research.
What are the best tidal movements for optimal viewing? This is where I could write a book lol. As to the best tidal movements to kayak, this takes research and is a bit more complicated to understand because, it's dependent upon the location you are kayaking and the type of marine life in that area. Also, tides aren't just big in and out waves everyday sometimes they can be long incoming tides all day long or the opposite or the whole day may barely yield any good water speeds at all ---- making for a great beach day or just strolling on the water day; which can be nice too. To pick a good tidal movement you first have to know what type of experience you want. Do you want to see larger marine life? Do you want to see sea stars and marine life from the ocean floor? Do you want to find amazing seashells? Or do you want to have the best chance to see it all? Probably the latter:) There are optimal times for the greatest chances to see it all ---- but in reality there are certain tidal movements that give a higher chance of seeing one over the other. However, there are locations during the right tidal changes that make these optimal experiences possible. This is where we come in. We actually pick the best tidal days and times that are most likely to provide certain experiences and if we know it won't ----- then we do not offer the tour ---- it's that simple. Even so, why does it matter what direction you are kayaking during this prime tidal time. Find out below.
Most folks understand kayaking requires some physical effort but, many do not realize that the amount of effort can vary greatly based on the way they travel on the water! It really depends on the direction you kayak during certain tidal movements. Moving water is very strong so, when kayaking; it's best to paddle mostly in the direction that the water is moving. So, you do not want to launch against the tide. This is why we pick locations and times so that we can travel with the tides. Paddling against a tide is not fun even for the most experienced kayakers.
There is so much involved when it comes to planning a kayaking trip so, you have the best opportunities to see marine life and to enjoy your time on the water. If you are renting a kayak, basic planning of traveling with the water by picking good starting and ending points is critical. Also, be sure to download a good tidal app like "Tides" so, you have a good idea of the speed and direction the water is moving. In addition, be sure to prepare and do your research to be knowledgable of safety and have all essential safety items with you. These basic tips can get you on the water during some decent viewing times. However, if you really want to have the best viewing potential, I do highly recommend booking a kayak tour with us ---- Naples Kayak Adventures! Our tours are carefully planned around all the tides and marine life behaviors in addition to the optimal location to launch on those best days. If that day is not optimal for viewing, then we just simply don't offer the tour. If you would like to learn more about our tours, please visit our > tour info and select your tour of choice. If you would like to book a tour, then view our booking calendar which has specialized launch times based on the tides. Thanks for reading and we hope we get a chance to see you on the water soon :)