The tricky tides

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI live high on a bluff at the mouth of an ocean lagoon. The lagoon is placid and deep blue at high tide, warm from the afternoon sun and perfect for paddling. At low tide the beach stretches out to rocky islands. A green finger points out from the lagoon’s mouth, emerging as a sandbar jutting hundreds of metres into the ocean, dotted with exotic starfish. Walking out onto it is like strolling ankle-deep in a rippling dream.

A small creek runs out through the lagoon and even at lowest tide there is a steady outbound trickle. When the tide is down I can wade across to the spit with my skirt hiked to my knees. But the lagoon mouth is narrow between my bluff and Mansons Landing spit, and when the tide turns inward the creek is quickly overpowered and reversed by the massive tidal surge. The turning tide gathers rapidly so that a couple of hours into the rising there are rapids heading into the lagoon, with slight waterfalls along the way. It gradually slows as the tide crests and then reverses, and then a couple of hours later the rapids churn once again heading back out to sea.

I paddled the little blue kayak across the channel from the farm to a friend’s birthday gathering on the spit. It was a stylish arrival. A couple of hours later I pushed off, thinking to paddle the five minutes back to the farm. But I got caught in the inbound surge and found myself speeding back into the lagoon. Back-paddling was futile. I knew if I went any further I’d be carried all the way to the end of the lagoon so I beached myself on a slight island and stood waist-deep in the quickly rising water, hung on to the kayak, and yelled to my friends for help. They directed me to come back to the spit, which i was able to do, and we carried the kayak over the spit so that I could paddle a wide arc out and back in to the farm. A less stylish exit than I had hoped for, but, lesson learned.

Or maybe not quite.

Yesterday in the afternoon heat I took off my clothes and dived into the lagoon, intending to swim discreetly to the spit and back. The spit is a popular family swimming spot, where picnickers and clam-diggers and donut-floaters are generally clothed. I never got there. Ten metres out I hit the inbound tidal surge, and suddenly I was being swept very quickly into the lagoon. I am a fairly strong swimmer but I couldn’t oppose the current. The only thing tI could do was swim across the flow and, stroking as hard as I could, head back to shore at the farmhouse.

Between the farmhouse and my sheltered bluff is an outcrop of rock studded with oysters, and I couldn’t swim around it without getting snagged back into the surge. I had no choice but to climb out of the water and walk back over the outcrop.

Disneyland is the name of the farm owned by Nora and Ian Disney. The Disneys are friendly and generous folks of a Christian bent. They are not into casual nudity. The extended Disney clan and their Nova Scotia cousins were all sitting in the shade of the gazebo out front, braiding garlic (the women) and sipping beer (the men). Assuming my cloak of invisibility, I climbed out of the ocean and strolled past the farmhouse, over the rocky outcrop to home base as quickly as I could. The cloak of invisibility was not working.

I made it back to my towel and climbed the bluff to my bus-house, where I bandaged my oyster-shredded feet. Luckily at this point in my life I have no dignity left to lose. But I fear I may be doomed to a lifetime of ribbing by Ian Disney for my birthday-suited post-birthday stroll.

And now, when I wake at night to the roar of the incoming tide, I feel the tug of the sea in my limbs.

One Response to “The tricky tides”

  1. Linda Says:

    I’m reading this as I sit in Dallas/Ft Worth Airport enroute from Upaya to flat Florida.
    Is this for real? I’m cracking up. Never thought you’d some this like. By the way, in
    The middle of night I forgot how say the A B C’s. of finally was able to recite it about
    6am. Gotta find some food. Keep blogging. Will more later.

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