VIDEO: King Tide timelapse in Broome, WA

By Shannon Verhagen 24 March 2016
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This timelapse video captures just how high the tides can get on WA’s Kimberley coast.

TWICE A YEAR, the Kimberley region in Western Australia is subject to gargantuan tidal cycles greater than ten metres high, aptly named ‘King Tides.’

Earlier this month, Broome’s Entrance Point Beach, about 2,200km north of Perth, was all but submerged when the King Tide – reaching 10.34m – washed over its shores.

Broome local Richard Young owns a sea kayaking business in the region – Broome Adventure Company – and looks at the tide charts every day. “When we go out is determined by the tide heights and different landing points around the coastline,” he says. “So you get to know it pretty well after 15 years of doing that.”

A keen photographer, Richard is often out taking videos or photographs of Broome’s natural landscape to share on his business’s Facebook page. Aware the monstrous tide was coming, he mounted his camera at Entrance Point – and what was captured over the next eight hours (and three battery changes) was spectacular.

In the footage, the turquoise water can be seen creeping towards the camera, almost completely submerging a sizable rock formation at its peak.

Biggest tides in the southern hemisphere

“This tide cycle was probably three or four days in a row when it was over ten metres,” Richard explained. “It goes up to 10m and then drops down to 0.5m – and does that every six hours throughout the tide cycle.”

The Kimberley region is home to some of the biggest tides in the southern hemisphere, with King Tides occurring twice a year – between March and April and again between September and October.

Due to its gravitational force, water in the Earth’s oceans is pulled in the direction of the Moon twice daily, creating the ebb and flow effect we have come to know as tides.

The phase of the Moon can also impact the character of the tides, and Richard says Broome’s tides usually run on a weekly or fortnightly cycle – one week of small tides, followed by a week of big tides – so watching the tide charts is just part of the lifestyle.

“If people want to go for a swim at the beach they always look at the tide chart,” Richard says.

“If they want to walk the dog they look at the tide chart, fishing, launching their boats – it’s just a way of life in the Kimberley.”