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Tide Information In South Pacific

By doina — last modified Oct 17, 2007 01:40 PM

Published: 2007-10-17 13:40:16
Topics: Cruising Information
Countries: American Samoa , Australia , Cook Islands , Easter Island , Federated States of Micronesia , Fiji , French Polynesia , Galapagos , Guam , Hawaii , Kiribati , Marshall Islands , Nauru , New Zealand , Niue , Norfolk Island , Northern Marianas , Palau (Belau) , Papua New Guinea , Pitcairn Island , Solomon Islands , Tokelau , Tonga , Tuvalu , Wallis and Futuna

We are planning a South Pacific crossing 2008.As we read a lot we realize the tidal streams are a problem when entering the atolls with sometimes strong tidal streams.What we have not managed to find out is how to predict the tidal streams in the best way.Are there any good realiable tide tables/tidal stream atlases?

I sailed in the South Pacific recently and used The Tide Wizard from Marine Computing International (UK). Very accurate and easy to use. If you don't have a time table you can always work out the time of high water from the moon's meridian passage.

This is what I write in my latest book about tides:

"....One should attempt to synchronize one's arrival at the beginning of the incoming tide, just after slack water, when there may still be a slightly contrary outflowing current. This is the time when passes are normally at their calmest. What makes the situation difficult is not just the force of the tidal streams but also the fact that lagoons are constantly filled by the seas pouring over the windward reef, as a result of which the water level in some lagoons can be several feet higher than that of the surrounding ocean. It is not uncommon for an outflowing current to reach six knots or more and in some places even double digits. All these facts must be born in mind and it is therefore essential to carry a worldwide tide table, various software versions being available..."

There a lot more tips on tropical navigation as well as details of many South Pacific destinations in my latest book "A Passion for the Sea - Reflections on three Circumnavigations" which is now available at

Jimmy Cornell, noonsite