Up here in Norfolk our lives are dominated by the state of the tide as we like to get out onto the water as much as possible. Wells is a tidal harbour and only fills with water for a few hours a day so just before high tide, weather and wind permitting, we drop everything to spend a couple of hours sailing.
The high tide moves on one hour each day and I love the rhythm and repetition of the tidal routine as it goes through its two weekly cycle. Twice a month at the full moon and the new moon there is a big spring tide. The water rushes in and covers the marsh – a marsh tide – and makes it possible to sail to places that cannot normally be reached. The shallows become a new place to explore and sandy beaches across the channel can be accessed.
Of course it is exciting when there is a strong wind that tugs at the tan coloured sail and pushes the boat fast across the water, the gunnels down so that the sea threatens to wash over the edge – others probably prefer it more than me. My favourite time is when high tide falls in the evening just before dusk and the wind suddenly drops to create a magical stillness where the water looks like glass. When this time coincides with slack water and the water is moving neither in nor out, it feels as if the world has taken a pause before breathing out and letting life continue on as before.