Friday, October 24, 2008


Home in Port Charlotte
Rainy most of the day
High 85, low 69

Dad arrived safely yesterday, along with Penny and Patty the Pointer sisters. Dad and I are going to assemble a temporary 4' perimeter fence so the girls have an area to run, yet be contained.

I picked up the boat from the repair marina this afternoon. Inspite of a small craft advisory, with 4-7 foot seas and a heavy chop in the harbor, I brought the boat home. It was not without drama. My experience here led me to believe that any tide less than 1.2 feet above mean tide, would allow me to pass under my short bridge. When we went out last weekend, the tide was at 1.0 as we approached the bridge. I didn't even slow down and passed under with no problem. Tonight, the bridge looked lower than normal. The tide showed 0.9. It should have been a clear pass but something told me not to leave it to chance. Good thing. I slowed my approach to a virtual crawl and ran up topside, to the bow pulpit. I caught the bridge with my hands, stopping the boat. The hard top would have cleared under but the GPS antenna would have been sheared off, likely leaving a gaping hole in the hard top. WHEW! That was close. I returned to the helm, backed off as a neighbor who had been watching offered to allow me to tie up to his outer pilings. I took him up on his offer and, after tying off two cleats, I pulled out my tool kit. I removed the two bolts holding the GPS antenna, which stands about 5" tall. I cast off from my temporary moorage and did the same, slow, drill as I approached the bridge while standing on the bow. By now the tide was down to 0.8 and I needed every centimeter I could find. I cleared under by about an inch.

The moral of the story must be that tidal reports are mere predictions or forecasts. The are normally right on, but today's tide was about a foot higher than what was called for. I will make sure I don't take anything for granted. This was a close call. I did some online research and found that NOAA has documented something called Extratidal High Water and sea level anomalies. The first example normally occurs with storm surge, following a hurricane or tropical storm. The second is just anomaly, a wierd circumstance. I learned another lesson in coastal boating today.

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