Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Petersburg Big Tides


Anchoring at any tide is routine... as long as you check the depth and allow for high tide/low tide swings. It's no big deal and it minimizes shallow water alarms sounding, re-anchoring, etc. When you're in port for a few days the tidal swings have a different impact.

The week's wide tidal range of -4.3' to +18.4' added interest to dockside life. First felt is the very steep incline of ramps connecting floating docks to fixed piers - usually noticed with a big bag of garbage to carry UP or a heavy load of groceries to cart down the ramp. Rule 1: plan to do your shoreside trips at high tide.

Next the aroma of rotting organic matter from the extensive mudflats tickles the nose, and you realize it isn't someone nearby just being rude. Rule 2: don't moor at the shoreside end of the dock, or plan to keep doors and windows closed at six hour intervals.

The sight of large vessels rushing toward the bow and accompanied by the sudden sounds of revving engines and roaring bow thrusters adds to the sensory experience as new arrivals are sometimes surprised by the strong currents around the Petersburg docks. Nope, no collisions to report but there were a few anxious moments as we leapt up to grab bumpers, ready to fend off. We made new friends as we grabbed lines and hauled in bows and sterns of arriving boats... and occasionally visited while they touched up paint scrapes, etc.  Rule 3a: relax, but stay alert to vessel movements in your fairway. Rule 3b: keep your insurance up to date.

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