High tide

Over the past couple of days there have been some very high tides and the water has reached places that are not normally reached. I love to see Wells in a slightly different guise so I went to have a look.

The ducks were paddling on top of The Quay

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and the former Dutch cargo vessel, The Albatros, which is moored there permanently looked as if it could have floated right on top to be stranded high and dry.

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The sun sparkled off gently rippling water that had totally covered the marsh

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and the boats rocked up and down.

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It was a very non-threatening scene.

I wanted to see where the water had got to on the beach so jumped in the car and in 5 minutes was looking at a normally sandy beach totally immersed in rippling water – wavelets by the sea edge but bigger rolling waves further out. These may not look big, but for Wells, where the water normally creeps slowly in and out, waves this far in are relatively rare.

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The dune opposite the beach huts was completely circled by water. This only happens on a few tides during the year. The water rises from the back. Simultaneously, the channel at the front (that normally only half fills) becomes so swollen, that water is pushed onwards to join up with the encroaching tide at the far end of the dune.

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A few years ago with a tide like this the water would have gone right under the beach huts. But recently sand has been blown up the beach and the edge where the huts are has risen quite dramatically.  All the huts have been raised because they were becoming submerged by the encroaching sand. Ours was raised three years ago because the stilt-like legs had disappeared and the deck was constantly washed by sand; even repeated sweepings couldn’t stem the tide. Already the bottom two steps of the ladder have gone and in a few years we’ll have to raise it again as the height of this part of the beach continues to rise. This is another example of change on this mutable coastline and the water won’t reach here in the foreseeable future.

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The highest point of the tide doesn’t last long. Almost as soon as high-water was reached the sea started to drain out of the channel between the dune and the beach huts and in half an hour the sand had reappeared.

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