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A Word Of Caution

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posts: 2,290
A Word Of Caution

For those of you already in Mazatlan, or expected to arrive in the next couple of days, a strong word of caution. There was a very, very early season winter storm last week off the coast of Antarctica. So what the heck does does a storm in Antarctica with it's penguins and ice, have to do with Mazatlan where it's sunny and clear?

They've just finished up their summer in the Southern Hemisphere, so the ice pack off Antarctica is currently at it's smallest point of extension out to sea. This leaves more open water for wind to blow across. Consequently the open ocean swells generated by that storm had more area to build up their power, and there's nothing between those swells and Mazatlan but open ocean. Eventually they're going to crash on shore.

Starting sometime tomorrow and certainly by Saturday you can expect some very good sized, to potentially large waves hitting the beaches of Mazatlan. For reference it should be bigger than the waves that visitors like Sunseeker mentioned last week. I would not recommend anyone go swimming over the weekend as there's going to be a lot of current moving from left to right as you look out to sea.

In addition if you love your walk on the sand, make your path farther....much farther.... up away from the crest of the water being pushed up on top of beach. These are what is called long period swells, which means more time passes by between each individual wave. In addition because they've traveled literally thousands of miles getting to North American, the time between the larger groups of waves (called sets) can get quite long. Think of throwing a pebble into a pond and how you see the ripples get farther and farther apart as they travel away from the initial splash.

Between the sets it can appear relatively calm and people are often lulled into walking right next to the water. Or worse they walk at low tide on the wet sand inside, having no idea that next big surge may to turn that shallow area or dry sand into a river of moving water. More than once I've seen people walking at the edge of the berm...the last of the flat sand, just where it starts angling downhill to the water. Only to get knocked down or even dragged outside into the deep water, as a huge surge recedes back out to sea.

Be very careful where you start your walk, and be particular cautious if you intend on going into the ocean. Take your cue from the big wave surfers around the world who would never just show up and launch themselves into the water. They'll watch and wait for sets of waves to arrive to see what the conditions will be like, and where the dangers are. Like where the riptides are...how far the biggest waves will surge the water up on top of the beach...how bad the current looks...etc.

Mazatlan is a wonderful place to let your mind relax and have a carefree vacation. Just don't let yourself get too relaxed around the water for the next few days.

posts: 897
reviews: 626
11. Re: A Word Of Caution

Thanks for the information. We were in Hawaii for three weeks this winter and saw twenty to thirty feet waves. Awesome, but needless to say we only got in the water where the beach was protected and calm. Can't wait until April 9th.

posts: 2,290
12. Re: A Word Of Caution

Kate this event was created by a very intense, but fast moving storm. Most storms in the South Pacific (the North Pacific too) move from West to East, and this one was already well East of New Zeland before it really increased in size and wind velocity. It only lasted a short few days before running into the South American continent. Of course waves can only be created when wind is blowing across water.

The peak will take place over the weekend and by Monday the waves should be noticeably smaller. By the time you arrive on April on 12th Kate, this will all be history. However we have another example of our changing weather patterns coming. A second unseasonably early storm is going on right now in the same area. This one has the potential to create more big waves that would arrive about in time for the following weekend of the 13th and 14th. In addition it's likely those waves will be around for a longer number of days.

Remind me when you have arrived in Mazatlan and let me know how long your staying. I'll try to do a forecast for water and beach expectations during your trip. Have a great time and here's a tip. The best shells are usually found the morning after big waves have churned up the bottom and driven fresh shells on shore.

Edited: 6:32 pm, April 04, 2013
Boise, Idaho
posts: 148
reviews: 1
13. Re: A Word Of Caution

Hi Aqua Maz- Thanks for the great information. We will be arriving this Friday 4-12 and staying until April 22nd. Do appreciate the time to give me a update.

posts: 2,290
14. Re: A Word Of Caution

You're welcome Britt, and for those of you in Mazatlan presently the waves are remaining in the vicinity longer than originally expected. Look for a couple more days of pretty good sized swells, with things finally starting to ease off completely by late week.

Kate I'll try to remember to do an update on Thursday for your trip that starts on Friday. At this stage it looks like we're going to have a replay of last weekend's booming surf for somewhere around the start of next week.

Edited: 1:24 am, April 09, 2013
Boise, Idaho
posts: 148
reviews: 1
15. Re: A Word Of Caution

Thanks AquaMaz- Appreciate you time. But lets not keep those Hugh Waves around too long- I am a serious beach walker- I even have my Own Sand Bucket for collecting Treasures I find- LOL. But maybe I will find some good stuff in the morning . Do you know a good site to check the low/high tides for the week? I have found some but they are only like for 5 days.

Bags are packed and I will be Mazatlan Bound at this time in 3 days- YES!!!

posts: 2,809
reviews: 3
16. Re: A Word Of Caution

You can google Pacific Pearl...they have been running tide charts for each month for years, it's a fixture on our patio each winter. This is still the best all-round source of information for the short-term visitor to Mazatlan.

www.pacificpearl.com I believe.

Edited: 12:03 pm, April 09, 2013
posts: 2,290
17. Re: A Word Of Caution

Here is an excellent tide chart for Mazatlan that I use personally:


Go in the section where it says time control (right after the five day chart with the picture of the Mazatlan Peninsular on the right) and click any particular day you want. Or better yet right below that you'll see a heading marked Tide Calendar with two links marked one month, and one year.

For your purposes just print out the entire month for the days you're staying in Mazatlan, and take it with you. I'd take two actually, and keep them in different spots in case you misplace one. Have a great time and I wouldn't be too worried about big waves while you're there.

The storm that just took place didn't really take off until it was very close to South American. Too close for the necessary angle to produce big waves into Mazatlan. South and Central America will get them for sure, and likely lower Mexico around in the states of Guerrero and south through Oaxaca to Guatemala. However Puerto Vallarta through Mazatlan and across to Baja should only get mild sized waves.

Edited: 10:43 pm, April 09, 2013
18. Re: A Word Of Caution

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