Sunday, 30 December 2007

Time and Tide

Today for the first time in a couple of years I went out at low tide.
Most of the more accessible public slipways in Chichester Harbour are usable only two hours either side of HT, and I once lost a boot in the mud at Dell Quay trying to get off at low tide which coloured my attitude. The slips close to the harbour mouth such as Itchenor are a bit of a trek to get to and involve paying money to park.
So I have allowed myself to become a slave to the tide tables, going out only when water covers the harbour from shore to shining shore, even though at this time of year this means whole weekends not boating because high tide is before dawn or after dark (and before you ask what is wrong with going out in the dark, the answer is that at this time of year it is bloody cold and a rather dangerous).
But today there was a Dinghy Cruising Association daysail so I nerved myself for a mudbath.
First discovery was that the Ferry Hard on Bosham Hoe extends right out to the low water mark, so launching does not involve lost boots though I had a narrow escape coming back in the other day.
Second was that rowing in the restricted channels may involve extra vigilance but is still very rewarding. The birds are much more plentiful - for them, low tide is lunch time.
So I am going to be a lot less prescriptive about the state of the tide. Which means I should get out more.

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