Darwin; the land of big tides.

Darwin; the land of big tides.

I have spent time in Alaska so I know big tides or I thought I did. The tide range here exceeds 20 daily and the long sloping beaches, shallow waters and low altitude of the landscape make for dramatic circumstances.

We first anchored in front of the Darwin Sailing club after riding and fighting 3 knot currents all the way in. The chart datum indicated ten feet and the depth showed over thirty. This makes for some tricky scope calculations—if I go with 4/1 at 30ft. I will at 12/1 tonight!

That night we went to the Night Market and Sunset watch at the beach in front of the anchorage. As this is a very long sloping beach and the tide was low, we knew we were in for allot of dinghy moving. We pulled up on the sandy beach, threw out a stern anchor and walked a 100 ft line up the beach and secured it to a rock. We then headed up the long sandy incline to the festivities. No sooner had we gotten to the market than Troy and to pop back down the beach to bring the dinghy up—it was already in chest deep water! This process was repeated several times as the evening progressed. Fortunately the walk got shorter each time.

you can see the dinghy way off in the distance–soon it would be where i am standing and in 3 feet of water.

It appears everyone in Darwin and anywhere close attends this event, picnic tables and folding chairs adorned with wine glasses and festive food line the beach, as the brilliant sun sets into the ocean the crowd silences and the cameras flash, then back to the food, music and wild fire dance show.

There is a big concern about the spread of several invasive species of shellfish in the marinas, as you will see the marinas are a unique and isolated environment which could be easily effected. The government requires all boats to have a dive inspection and disinfectant pumped into all the sea water through hulls. We arranged for the inspection awaited the divers. They must dive at slack tides to avoid the massive currents. The boat arrived, the diver pumped the liquid crab killer into the engine, generator, water maker and deck washdown through hulls. We were instructed to close the sea cock to the water maker inlet and to run the engines and deck washdown to ingest the poinsen—nice they thought to not ingest it into the water maker, hahaha. So inspection report in hand we headed to the marina only to find another unique adventure.

The most intriguing aspect of this phenomenon is the marina access. Darwin has several very nice marinas; all have access through a set of locks. We made arrangements with the marina lockmaster, AKA harbormaster and met him at the appointed hour. As with the Seattle locks, we entered, tied the boat up and rose to the marina height. Imagine having to go through this every time you used your boat! We pulled out of the marina and into the slip. The Harbormaster is a friendly chap named Rodney, not unlike harbormasters around the world. Before I arrived I was beseeched with a pile of forms and requirements to abide by and payment information. I e mailed back saying I would gladly take care of this when I arrived. The “reception” lady was quick on the phone very nervous about payment, a strange thing as this is one marina where no one could ever duck out on the bill—no pay, no locks, no locks no leave.

So we are all tucked into Bayview Marina, which ironically sits ten feet above the Bay right now, not often I sleep above sea level.