Hunting for King Tides

High King Tide During Storm at Ruby Beach

If you stay almost anywhere on the coast in Washington, it’s likely that your place may have a cryptic sign saying “Beach Logs Kill:”

Beach Logs Kill

This is not the name of a bad band, rather a warning that 99% of the time seems unnecessary. Usually the beach logs are high above the highest tide line and it is unimaginable how they even got there.

The other 1% of the time is when there is a King tide combined with a winter storm. This is the brief time when all bets are off and coastlines are edited in real time. We were lucky enough to find ourselves on the Olympic Peninsula at exactly that time this year.

The tides surged over, under and around everything. Fortunately, this one ended just inches from my feet.

Ruby Beach, normally a tranquil holiday spot, was a maelstrom of foam. This was taken during a storm at high tide and those are 50 foot logs getting tossed around like match sticks. Over the course of minutes they were shunted up and down and around the beach.

Here’s a still (an ironic term given that literally nothing in the image below is sitting still):

High King Tide During Storm at Ruby Beach

We went back the next day when the storm was over and the tides were a little lower. The kids loved having the water (safely) swarm around them.

If you look to the right of the screen, you’ll see some logs go flying by; this surf was not safe for humans! And note that this video was shot at the same place as the still – but just a day later all the logs on the beach were different.

The other great place to watch the surf was Rialto beach. We found a beached old growth log that must have been 10 feet wide. It wasn’t going to budge based on a little water and we could safely dangle our legs off the edge, just out of reach of the waves:

I think I could have sat there all day just watching the waves break:

Overall, a unique experience that left us with a new respect for just how powerful the surf is. And an understanding that beach logs can kill.