Sal waits for no tides

We took two young friends into the beach yesterday.  We were headed up to the old cabin to do a reconnoiter of the creek.  The purpose of the outing was to reassess our creek water supply and flow situation. The wet, west coast is uncharacteristically dry this year and the Gulf Islands are notoriously dry, even in typically wet seasons.  Essentially, the Gulf Islands are rocks, and granite does not hold water well.  Of course, there are some soil pockets and some wells and some creeks and lakes but, generally speaking, islanders have to be water savvy every year and this year it is even more of an issue.

By far. In fact, it is a drought by our standards.

June is also a time of year when low tide happens around mid-day and low tide is quite low. We can get zero tides around this time.  According to the tables, we were at low tide at 1:30. We misread that and concluded 12:30.  We were on the beach at 11:30 and calculated a two hour excursion hiking and adventuring.   Meaning the tide would go out for an hour and then come in for an hour and so, wherever we anchored off, the boat would be in the same place.  But, like I said, we misread the tables.  The tide would be receding for TWO hours and take two MORE hours to come back.

Off we went hiking and messing about in the creek.  Had some fun.  Did some work. Headed off to pick berries (at least we had thought ahead and brought containers) and when we had them filled we proceeded to the beach to go home.

The boat was high and dry.

A quick re-calculation determined that we would have a two hour wait.

Which should have been OK, don’t you think?  We had water to drink.  We had berries. We had company. The place is beautiful. We could even pick more berries.  ‘Ommmmmmmmmmmmm……..zennnnnnnnnnnn……….go with the flow fellow butterflies………………….’

“No way!  C’mon, let’s drag the boat to the water!”  And so a bit of dragging on a one ton boat stuck in the mud ensued until futility made it’s point much more pointedly.  I sat and went to my happy place. I figured to spend two hours there.


Not Sal.

“I can hike along the cliff edge and then swim back to the dock to get the other boat”, volunteered Sally

“Or, we can wait the same amount of time as that will take and the ocean will float our boat.”

“No.  I misread the tables (she didn’t, really, but I only heard the 12:30 part, not the later correction).  It is my responsibility.  I’m going.”  And, with that, Sally put on a life jacket, waded into the sea and swam and climbed her way along the shoreline (with Fiddich providing some motive power now and then) and she eventually scrambled and swam her way to the dock – about a 500 meter journey overall.  Twenty minutes later a wet Sal came into the bay with her boat and we all went home to get a cup of tea and wait until the other boat was floating and ready to go home soon after.


And we did that.

“Sorry about the mistake”, we said to the young couple, “but all’s well that ends well, eh?” 

“Don’t be sorry!  It was lots of fun.  Berries, oysters, creek-wading and a disaster-at-sea adventure all in one afternoon.  We had a blast!”

5 thoughts on “Sal waits for no tides

  1. A trickle. Only a gallon a minute, maybe two. Usually we watch twenty/thirty gallons a minute and more even in the summer. Winter, it’s a torrent. Right now, we are just about ‘dry’ in June. July and August may be a challenge. One or two heavy rains and we are good. Ten light rains, maybe. But, if this continues, we will have to struggle. In fact, I am picking up a second cistern this weekend. Each cistern is good for 3 weeks – or four if we ration. So, having two full ones will give us a cushion but we have never needed a cushion before. In the past we just needed umbrellas.


  2. The last time I misread a tide table I noticed the dishwater was starting to slope. “No problem. Tide is ebbing, we’ll be afloat any minute.” Several hours later we were high and dry! Got out the scrub brush as if this was how we always got rid of barnacles. Embarrassing!
    Drought up here in the interior too. Light rain first of June, and I think it snowed in early March. We are on ration already and no rain forecast for two weeks. Phew!


    • Yep. Gettin’ harder and harder to deny climate change. Mind you, it rained for an hour today – that was good! Light but steady. Everything feels better.


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