Thursday, April 9, 2009

Breathe In, Breathe Out

The tide is a daily fact of life when you live on a boat, at least here in the Pacific Northwest, where the difference between high tide and low tide can be as much as 16 feet. It staggers me when I think of the amount of water that has to flow into and out of Puget Sound, twice a day, to make that kind of tidal range. In my imagination, I see the Sound as breathing, in and out.

Because of the magnitude of the tidal swings, fixed docks are not practical here. Virtually all the docks are floating, which means that out here on the end of G dock, 750 feet from shore, the tidal state is not so obvious, since everything rides up and down with the water. However when you get to the shore end of the dock, it is very obvious. There is a ramp that goes from the dock to a fixed point on shore - at high tide is is nearly level... but at low tide it is a steep climb.

Eventually, the tidal cycles sort of get ingrained into your soul. They are not fixed in time. Because the tides are (mostly) the result of the pull of the Moon, and because the Moon moves ahead a little less than 1 hour/day (it takes 28 days to make the whole circle around the Earth), the tides advance about 1 hour per day, on average, more or less. After a while, you don't think about it, but you just sort of know if you are in for a herculean effort to get the cart full of groceries down the ramp, even before you get out of the car in the parking lot.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...