Vancouver - Fans of extreme ebb and flow got a treat yesterday.

The normally high and low tides of June got an even bigger push than usual, due to a rare alignment of the Earth, sun and moon.

A visit to Vancouver beaches provided quite a scene when a tide of minus 0.5 feet occurred at 1:33 p.m.

"It's a bit of a long haul," said Ryan Vande of the Ecomarine Ocean Kayak Centre at Jericho Beach, watching young students struggling to carry their kayaks up from what on other days would be quite a lot closer.

"It's definitely less appreciated by the teachers and the students.

"The flip side is, when it's high tide, it's almost right to the door, and they don't have to carry them very far."

Over at Spanish Banks, puddle jumpers gloried in kilometre after kilometre of open sandbars.

The tide was out so far beach walkers seemed to be halfway to the giant freighters anchored in Burrard Inlet.

"It's one of the highest tidal fluxes I've seen, and I've worked here three summers," said Vande. "It's very rare that you get a negative number."

The extremely low tides provided a unique window for nature lovers, as tidal pools normally only accessible to swimmers or snorkellers were exposed for a brief time to casual waterfront strollers.

Those extreme conditions also came with some concern from lovers of the ocean. Visitors coming across normally-inaccessible tidal pools were asked to step carefully and not to move creatures that normally would be protected from curious humans.

Dog owners were also cautioned to keep their pets on a leash, for fear they would stomp on vulnerable ecosystems or grab crabs or other sea life.

The high-tide cycle occurs about every 18 years when the sun and moon are in direct alignment and are closest to Earth.