Low tide, high tide.

The moon is new and the tides here have been extreme: low tides that expose rocks and shoals we’ve never seen before, high tides that look like they are about to overwhelm the docks in Portland Harbor. This evening’s low tide is set to be the lowest of the month, 1.7 feet below mean low tide. Yesterday’s was 1.4 feet below the mean, and Paul and I went for a sunset walk along the shore. We walked out onto the point of mussel shells and rocks that was exposed, at the southern end of Centennial Beach: we were probably about one-third of the way to Little Diamond Island. I can only imagine how far we’d get today (but low tide is set to be just about 10 minutes before sunset, and I’ve got dinner to prepare).

On the boat to town today, we overheard a pretty funny story about the extreme tides. The coverage is in today’s Portland Press-Herald, but the short version is that one of the enormous, behemoth, insane-o cruise ships that have been clogging the Old Port with slow-moving tourists of late ended up leaving several passengers behind when it left its berth yesterday ahead of schedule. The captain, alarmed by the lowness of the tide, decided to take off three hours early, and anchor further out in the harbor; the stragglers, shocked to find their boat gone, had to be ferried out in smaller vessels.

Today there’s another ship docked. Time to go read some David Foster Wallace

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