Monday, January 24, 2011

The Queen of Tides

This morning dawned very dark, but held a promise: the highest tide of the year, known as the king tide. 8:21 am was the time, and the forecast was heavy rain. Very few of my kayak pals are interested in winter paddling. I hesitatingly asked my best kayak pal B if she wanted to check out the Bellingham waterfront on this morning’s high tide, and to my astonishment, she said yes. So from now on, she’s the Queen of Tides.

We launched at 8am, in light rain. We explored Padden lagoon lapping at its shores, and then an abandoned sail boat, half-full of water. Next, Boulevard Park, where the water was so high we were spitting distance from the walking trail, while a few walkers gave us curious glances. It began to rain harder. Along the shores of the Cornwall landfill we were treated to torrents of stormwater flowing over concrete chunks, bricks, and twisted metal. Then, the prize. The stormwater outfall pipe north of the landfill was almost completely covered with seawater. Usually, I’m ten feet below this pipe when I look at it, and it smells awful. This morning, it was making a roaring sound, like a tubular waterfall. We floated by the pocket beach at the end of Cornwall Avenue, admiring a seal and some sea ducks. Last stop, Fairhaven Shipyards. We noticed what looked like scaffolding for protective tarping around the new barge in the drydock. This prevents sandblast grit and overspray from getting into the water. Nice work, shipyard staff.

Needless to say, we were very wet when we got back to shore. Want to join us? I can be reached at

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