Sunday, January 20, 2019

Rip Tide

"A rip tide is a strong, offshore current that is caused by the tide pulling water through an inlet along a barrier beach, at a lagoon or inland marina where tide water flows steadily out to sea during ebb tide. It is a strong tidal flow of water within estuaries and other enclosed tidal areas.

Rip tides are typically more powerful than rip currents. The term rip tide is often incorrectly applied to rip currents which are not ideal flows. A rip current is a strong, narrow jet of water that moves away from the beach and into the ocean as a result of local wave action.  They can flow quickly, are unpredictable and are a result of the shape of the coastline.  By contrast a rip tide is caused by the moon's gravitational pull and is a predictable rip and fall of the water level."

We got pulled out to sea metaphorically today by visiting the Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium just minutes away on the north end of Sarasota. It is something we've talked about doing. The inclement weather today presented the opportunity. I confess as well it satisfies my need to engage in activity other than bicycling, eating and sleeping (though they're all good). We haven't yet graduated to the exotic delights of the symphony or the theatre but this was a step in the right direction. Insinuating a new place takes time and I happily allow that the scenery and exercise have to date preoccupied us.

The universal educational value of our endeavour was heightened by the presence of many volunteers at the aquarium, people who quite justifiably participate in what they consider a local treasure. For example, when I approached one aquarium a diminutive woman sporting a Mote Marine jersey suddenly began explaining to me the details of several of the fishes and mammals in the tank, including sea horses and coral. Her monologue was in sharp contrast to headphones at an art gallery.

The place was crawling with children who regularly squealed aloud. Their shrill voices were exceeded only by the cautionary words of their parents - "Careful now!" But watching the kids was as entertaining and heartwarming as watching children on Christmas morning.

It wasn't long before I recollected why I had lately bought a walking stick at the grocery store. Naturally I failed to bring it with me. Standing about for prolonged periods is not at all comfortable for me. Even though I regularly sat on one of the many benches which were set adjacent the walls throughout the collection, standing on my feet was getting to me; my broken ribs were compressing inordinately. I had in any event sufficiently expiated my guilt.

It was when we returned home that I encountered one of the residents here who informed me of the rip tide. I mistakenly assumed it was the result of the violent winds today (40 km/hr).  As I was on my way outside for a bicycle ride I stopped by the beach to have a better look at the sea.

No question, people would not have wanted to swim in the sea today. Aside from the turbulence, there was a cold wind from the northwest.  We're due for clear but cold weather over the next week ("Blame Canada"). My cycle along Longboat Club Road ended abruptly at the south gate when a bluster of rain struck.  As might be expected, it began to clear as I doubled back but by that time I had given up for the day.

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