Time and Tide
05 August 2023
One day, if I can ever get round to finishing it, you might get a few minutes mild amusement reading a tale in my “Forthcoming Book”. One night after way too many beers in the Islay Frigate in Tarbert, at closing time, which in Tarbert back then, could be anything from 11 PM to just before the milkman arrived of - some bright spark gave out the cry of, “Hey! Let’s sail home now!!”
At that, a shower of drunks agreed that, that indeed was a shhplendid idea. Swilling down the last of our drinks a bunch of us then staggered across to the edge of the fish quay (that’s pronounced “key” for any American readers) and peered over the edge looking way down at the decks far below. In Tarbert, the tidal range gets to around four metres and it can be quite daunting when you’ve had a beer or two, facing the prospect of slithering down a seaweed covered ladder in the dark.
As the idjit whose brilliant idea it was slunk away in the dark to his warm sleeping bag realising it actually wasn’t such a great idea after all, a number perused the challenge of getting aboard.
The dilemma was solved when one brave soul, or just stupidly drunk, leapt for the mast just in front of him, slithering gleefully down to the distant deck in a fair imitation of a fireman answering a call. A few followed but most took the ladder and eventually we set off into the dark night to find out shortly after that actually, slopping around in the cold and dark with the sails slatting in the fading breeze wasn’t actually such a shplendid idea after all. Ahh, the folly of youth and the wonders of alcohol.
Having left the almost tideless tropics and sailed up to Nova Scotia we are definitely back in tidal waters. Out here in the Bay of Fundy, the harbours look like someone’s pulled out the plug. The tidal range is thirteen to fourteen metres. If you’re tied to one of the many town docks you better A) leave plenty slack and B) don’t try the fireman’s pole technique as you’re either going to capsize the boat or have a swiftly sobering end to the evening.
We rode over two thousand kilometres of Nova Scotia in blazing sunshine. We even camped, guddling around on our hands and knees and doing these midnight walks through the campsite to the loo.
Today, we are back on the boat getting ready to start our migration south. Last night we realised why we had enjoyed clear blue skies for the last ten days; they’d sent the clouds away to get re-filled. Last night, they returned and once again. emptied once all over us accompanied by much lightning and boat shuddering thunder. This resulted in a midnight dash through the rain and a climb over the davits to pull the bung out the dinghy and putting all the electronics into our Faraday cage.
You’d have got this post earlier but I’d forgotten the electronics were in the oven.