Learning About Tides

I doubt most people pay any attention to tides, both low and high. Until about three weeks ago, I rarely consulted a daily tide calendar. Perhaps if you dig clams, or work along the waterfront, tides are old hat to you.

A mere three years ago, Mary schooled me about the Maine Tide & Everyday Calendar (probably available at one of Maine’s finer local bookstores). She started keeping one in her RAV4, in order to know when some of the various local tidal bodies of water would be experiencing high tide, so we could do some open water swims to prepare for that summer’s OOB triathlon.

Spending your life lived away from the coast save for an occasional beach outing renders you unprepared for that day when you wake up a mere stone’s throw from a picturesque cove, a tidal one at that.

Love my cove at high tide.

Love my cove at high tide.

Did you know that every morning, the local news (at least WCSH-6) offer the times of both low and high tide (along with sunrise and sunset) at the start of their weather segment? I still have difficulty reading it as it gets flashed quickly; so I just go to the tide chart that sits on our kitchen table in our dining nook (that just happens to face the cove and breathtaking morning sunrises, and similarly beautiful sunsets).

So how do tides work? I’ll offer a caveat here—according to a French astronomer, studying tides might “break your brain,” or something like that. Just keep in mind that I’ll be talking science at a time when science is viewed with skepticism by people in power.

Did you notice the humongous moons this week? Well, the moon has a lot to do with forming tides—as in, tides are due to the gravitational pull of the moon and sun on the earth. There’s more to it than that, but I now have an even greater respect for Mr. Moon than I used to, when I only paid attention that the times he was strutting his fullness once (or twice) a month.

Full moon over Woodward Cove-Brunswick, Maine.

Full moon over Woodward Cove-Brunswick, Maine.

To be truthful, since I’m no scientist, I am oversimplifying the moon’s role, albeit being an important one. I’ll post a fun video (at the end) and if you’d like a little more science with today’s blog post, please visit the UCSB Scienceline site, where you can look up tides and all kinds of other science-y stuff. If you’re not careful, people might start thinking you’re science-smart, or something.

I’m partial to high tides here at Woodward Cove. However, I’m sure I’ll come to appreciate the other elements of life on the water as I learn more about our new home.

But I’m having a blast with four new times to work around each 24-hour circling of the clock.