Anne Notations

Sunday, April 06, 2008

How low can ya go?

An unusually low tide in early March revealed this mysterious hulk off our beach. Michael and Daisy (left) check it out.

Hello – long time, no write. When stress and worry overtake me, I hunker down, clam up, bar the door. Lately the need to say something here – anything, really – has tugged at my sleeve. I'll start by rewinding the calendar to early March.

A month ago on Sunday, March 9, we were changing the sheets in our upstairs bedroom when Michael said: "What's that stuff in the water?" Out the window we could see a brownish tint in the bay. We stared, and I finally said, "It's sand. A big sand bar is exposed." So we went out with Daisy and explored a new and strange terrain practically in our front yard.

Daisy on a long stretch of sandbar.

What is normally a deep, turbulent bay had been transformed by a new-moon tide (extremely low) and a fierce northwest wind into acres of rippling sand. We walked out from the beach near our house, out and out and out. Daisy ran crazily on the open sand. Our street, our house, got tinier as we continued to walk south. Note: You can click on any of these photographs to see them full-size.

That's our street in the distance.

Gulls appeared to be walking on water nearby, but actually they were standing on a just-submerged sand bar.

We worked our way eastward to a long, dark object off Oakland Beach proper. What could it be?

Up close, we found the wreck of an old coal barge. The sides had toppled down, and the rusted skeleton stretched bow-first toward the beach. A few other hardy explorers walked over to check it out.

Reluctantly we made our way back to dry land. We had seen parts of Buttonwoods to our west that we'd never viewed from the water side before, and felt close enough to Warwick Neck to walk there, save for a narrow deep channel used by pleasure boats and quahoggers. It was refreshing to get out, chat with other sightseers, and witness this rare, fascinating low tide.

My photo of Michael and Daisy gazing at this normally buried "treasure" ran the following week on Page One of the Warwick Beacon, a twice-weekly newspaper.

This aerial photograph of Oakland Beach shows the shadow of the submerged barge offshore. The water in this picture is at a normal level, showing just how low the tide went on March 9.


  • Nice to see this post. It's offbeat and interestng, and as always - well written on various levels.

    By Blogger rabbi neil fleischmann, at Mon Apr 07, 12:46:00 AM EDT  

  • Amazing! I wonder what we'd see in our bay? Probably stuff that got washed in during one of the hurricanes!

    By Blogger bozoette, at Mon Apr 07, 11:59:00 AM EDT  

  • That's why I love living near the ocean. It divulges its secrets according to some primal timetable that, due to our hurried and unnatural pace, we can no longer access.

    (By the way, the phrase I used when I slammed my finger in the door rhymes with Peking duck.)

    By Blogger tjs, at Thu Apr 10, 03:30:00 PM EDT  

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