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Old 21-07-2013, 06:38   #1
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Panama Tides

My understanding of tides in general is that lunar gravitational influence and latitude are the primary determinants. Further away from the equator = bigger tides. Closer = smaller ranges.

This has applied everywhere Ive sailed until now. Ive been cruising the Carib side of Panama for a couple of seasons. Typical W Carib small tidal ranges there, but today I am in Panama City...with up to 20+ feet tidal range although at the same approx latitude...huh?

Ive asked and searched and not found a good explanation of this dramatic variance.

Anyone here know why?
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Old 21-07-2013, 07:39   #2
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Re: Panama Tides

I understood it has to do with the continential shelf off Pacific Panama.
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Old 21-07-2013, 07:57   #3
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I understood it has to do with the continential shelf off Pacific Panama.
I've heard that conjecture, but yet to find a definitive explanation.
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Old 21-07-2013, 07:59   #4
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Lots of anomalies in tide ranges

Long Isl Sound gets 8' but the Chesapeake gets about 2'. N & S Carolina get about 3' but Georgia gets 8' and most of Fla gets less than 3'
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Old 21-07-2013, 09:37   #5
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Re: Panama Tides

The area of Panama City is in fact a very large Bay and I believe because of that the tides are extreme.

We also experienced wide tidal rages in the north end of the Sea of Cortez in Puerto Penasco (Rocky Point)... The tidal rage was 18-20 feet, although the rest of the Sea of Cortez had about a 5-6 foot tidal range.
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Old 21-07-2013, 11:08   #6
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Re: Panama Tides

What do cruisers carry to determine the tide flow and ranges?
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Old 21-07-2013, 11:29   #7
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We cruise east coast usa. Garmin Chartplotter has decent tides and fair current data.

Android ap called 'currents' works great. Not 100% accurate but fairly close. And a LOT of data points up and down the coast
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Old 21-07-2013, 12:10   #8
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Re: Panama Tides

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Originally Posted by gettinthere View Post
We cruise east coast usa. Garmin Chartplotter has decent tides and fair current data.

Android ap called 'currents' works great. Not 100% accurate but fairly close. And a LOT of data points up and down the coast
My Garmin did well here in FL. I was wondering about Panama.......and other places. Just dreaming.
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Old 21-07-2013, 12:17   #9
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Re: Panama Tides

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What do cruisers carry to determine the tide flow and ranges?
Our chart plotter has the bigger ports, so we use that as the main tool. I now have a watch that has the next 13 years worth of world tides in it also.
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Old 21-07-2013, 12:23   #10
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Re: Panama Tides

I used to think that the closer to the equator the higher the tide. Because the tide in Darwin is 8 metres. I also used to think there is always two high tides per day. Now I think tides are bloody complicated combinations of many things that I don't understand.
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Old 21-07-2013, 14:51   #11
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Re: Panama Tides

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Now I think tides are bloody complicated combinations of many things that I don't understand.
Too complicated for some prediction programs too... I have Admiralty ap on the computer and it always differs with my Garmin.
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Old 21-07-2013, 15:09   #12
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Re: Panama Tides

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What do cruisers carry to determine the tide flow and ranges?
Our Navionics Charts had a tidal program. It worked well through Mexico and Central America.

Once back in the USA it also has a great current program.
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Old 21-07-2013, 15:13   #13
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Factors such as the contour of the seabed and geography of the shoreline have a major affect on the height and timing of tides. In simplistic terms it's similar to how waves behave e.g. summing and subtraction and increased height in shallow water. I do recall reading that the tide is essentially a wave that circles the Earth at 800 km/ph so this if no surprise.
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Old 22-07-2013, 06:01   #14
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What do cruisers carry to determine the tide flow and ranges?
These days usually software...or a very long stick. : )
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Old 22-07-2013, 06:35   #15
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Re: Panama Tides

We had an interesting experience at the northern tip of Queensland where getting the tides and currents right really matters. Between three boats we had four different electronic tide/current predictors (Garmin, Navionics, etc) along with printed tables from the Queensland government and they were different by hours. The most accurate was the printed book.
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