Turnagain Arm tidal bore a surreal attraction

Paddleboarders enjoy an evening ride on the Turnagain Arm tidal bore; video screen grab

Visitors to Alaska marvel at the vastness of the wilderness, the breathtaking scenery, and bountiful wildlife.

But each spring and summer, a natural phenomenon known merely as the bore tide along Turnagain Arm, on the Cook Inlet south of Anchorage, becomes an attraction that’s dazzling in its own right.

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The accompanying footage, captured earlier this week by Alex Ede and shared by the Alaska Dispatch News, reveals the surreal beauty of the tidal bore, featuring paddleboarders enjoying their rides while surrounded by snow-streaked slopes.

A tidal bore occurs when the leading edge of an incoming tide collides with the outgoing tidal flow, creating a wave that flows upward in a narrow channel or bay.

Map is via Wikipedia

The Turnagain Arm, because the east-to-west waterway is so narrow and boasts extreme tidal fluctuations, is among only a handful of locations around the world where a significant tidal bore wave occurs.

Tidal bores become evident primarily when an extreme minus tide is followed by an incoming extreme high tide, and it’s worth noting that this event in Alaska is potentially dangerous, thanks to soggy mudflats along Turnagain Arm that can trap hikers and observers. (They’re best-observed from a distance.)

According to the Alaska Public Lands Information Center, the best spots to view the Turnagain Arm bore are Beluga Point, Indian Point, Bird Point, and Girdwood. All are accessible from Anchorage.

According to the Alaska Dispatch News, the paddleboarders in the video are cruising at about 7 mph, and that surfers and paddleboarders can sometimes ride the wave for up to 40 minutes.

Ede’s footage was captured near Girdwood on Monday at 7:30 p.m.

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