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dnickers 03-13-2011 04:07 AM

Surge currents in Marina del Rey!?
I've been sailing my Santana 27 in and out of Marina del Rey in Los Angeles for the past two years, on average of twice per week. Today was the first time I have ever experienced any kind of current in this harbor, the largest man made harbor in the world (or so I've been told).

All I've been able to find in the news is that there was a one foot surge in MdR as a result from the Japanese quake, and that happened early Fri.

However, today, I went out for a sail around 1 pm. High tide was at noon and low tide was at 7pm. For the first time ever, there was a current rushing into the marina, making tacking out windward towards the breakwater nearly impossible. So, I dropped my Nissan outboard and motored out.

Thinking about it I thought, well, with the weird surge and tsunami advisory I guess it makes sense that with the tide coming in more water would be rushing into the harbor...which was quite a sight for someone who has never seen a current in MdR. Near the breakwater there was what looked like whitewater rapids near the shoaling buoys.

So, like I said, low tide was at 7pm tonight, and surprisingly, upon returning to the harbor around 4pm, I found that the water was not still going in, but was going out at quite a pace! So much so that even wing and wing, I had to run the propellor to make progress downwind, into the marina!

Can anybody explain this to me, or did anybody else experience this today.

SlowButSteady 03-13-2011 06:19 AM

King Harbor had some funky currents today too. In fact, they closed the King Harbor "until further notice"; no boats in or out. I assume that it's due to some small "tsunamis" from the aftershocks (some have been >7.0), or from the original waves reflecting off of the various continents around the Pacific Rim.

dnickers 03-13-2011 12:05 PM

I'm kind of surprised I haven't seen any more local news regarding the behavior of the ocean down here in southern California.

SlowButSteady 03-13-2011 12:34 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Here's the trace of the data from a DART buoy off the SoCal coast (right about at the US/Mexican boarder).

Note that the trace should be a nice, smooth representation of the tidal height, but that starting at Friday's LLW things start getting decidedly un-smooth and that it has stayed that way since.

SJ34 03-13-2011 12:36 PM

The estimated surge in Ventura Harbor was 3-6'. My dock neighbor told me the surge hit at low tide but our dock was still about 1-2' from topping over the pylons. All day yesterday there was a significant current that would reverse direction every few minutes. My knot meter recorded a max speed of 7.5knots...tied up in the slip and they tell me it was much faster on Friday. The dock captain showed me a video of a small rib at full throttle and only moving about 2knots in our fairway. The whole thing was pretty wild and scary.

When I leave the boat I always lock the wheel with the rudder at 0deg. When I got to the boat yesterday the wheel and rudder were over hard against the locks. The boat was pushing so hard against the dock lines that one of the bow dock cleats was starting to pull loose.

montenido 03-13-2011 12:43 PM

I was at my boat yesterday, about 24 hours after the major tsunami effects. For the first time in three years I could see a visible outflow current, and this being in the 5-7 knot category. I spoke with my dock-mate who lives aboard and he said that on Friday there was in and outflow currents of up to 10 knots.

This was in Channel Islands harbor and I think it weathered the tsnami well. Too bad about the other harbors, not to mention Japan.

Take care, Bill

SlowButSteady 03-13-2011 12:49 PM

3 Attachment(s)
For comparison, here are traces of the data from three DART buoys; one near Japan, one near Hawaii, and the one off SoCal I posted a few minutes ago:

drgamble 03-14-2011 12:31 PM

FYI, I found this on youtube today to give some color to what MdR looked like on Friday. I was travelling to Florida that day but our marina manager did a great job at keeping us posted via e-mail throughout the day.
YouTube - Japanese Tsunami 2011 - Marina Del Rey Tidal Wave Affects

dnickers 03-14-2011 01:33 PM

Wow! Great video! It is really something to see those buoys in the main channel being pushed around like that. It's a nice reminder of just how powerful water and the ocean is.

YeahJohn 03-14-2011 02:21 PM

We have had some crazy 'seiches' as well here in Dana Point. I would say around four or five a day sense Friday. I have watched many boat almost get wrecked, and there was even a whirlpool at the harbor mouth. Check out this video of a motor yacht almost getting thrashed entering the harbor Friday evening. YouTube - Close Call for $2,000,000+ Yaht in Dana Point Harbor Tsunami

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