17 September 2016

What The Tide Left

I had luck with the wind again today.  I was glad because it was stronger than it was yesterday.  Or, perhaps, it just seemed that way because most of today's ride took me along shorelines.  Also, the sky was even clearer than it was yesterday, and large bodies of water magnify the sun's rays. Sometimes I think long exposure to direct sunlight tires me out even more than the wind, or anything else.

Anyway, I rode to Point Lookout today.  It's not as long as the ride to Connecticut, and it's almost entirely flat.  There is one fairly long gradual incline up Woodhaven Boulevard from Jamaica Avenue to Forest Park.  Even though it's near the end of my ride, it isn't very arduous.

Best of all, the wind was at my back, as it was from the time I turned on to the Veterans Memorial Bridge from Rockaway Beach.  That meant, of course, that I pedaled into the wind on my way out, and that it blew from the Atlantic onto my right side on my way to the Point, and onto my left on my way back.

The thing that struck me most about today's ride, though, was at Point Lookout.  The tide was out--and I mean really out.  There were no boats in the water.  Most telling, though, was this:

A family picnic on the sandbar!  I've never seen it so long or wide.  It was like a boardwalk, with all of the people walking their dogs and toddlers toddling on it.  Naturally, no one was fishing.

Now, I am no climate scientist.  In fact, I can't claim to be a scientist of any sort.  So perhaps I am revealing my ignorance in describing the observation you are about to read and the question I will pose from it.

As I understand it, the extreme blizzards so many places experienced during the past few winters are actually a result of global warming:  Increasing temperatures, especially in the oceans, are causing the atmospheric instability that leads to all kinds of storms, including blizzards and ice storms as well as hurricanes and tornadoes.  

So I wonder whether tides that are receding further out (I've noticed this in other places besides Point Lookout) are a result of the rising sea level.  Just as the tides are higher and stronger, could the pull-back also be stronger--enough to pull the tides further from the shoreline when they recede?

Again, I emphasize that I am not a scientist:  What I am saying and asking is based entirely on observation and logic.  Also, I know it doesn't directly relate to cycling.  But what I see in the oceans, on the shorelines, in the hills or anyplace else is part of my rides.  I can't help but to wonder what I will and won't see on future rides!


  1. I look out on to an estuary and the tides are different every day. About twenty years ago I was surprised to find the sea had retreated much further than I had ever seen before and because it had been predicted there were piles of net sacks of mussels harvested from the usually covered rocks all along the shore waiting for a rise in the tide to get a boat in to lift them. Moon pulls the tides for the most part and the force varies because the orbit is elliptical, sun has a force too which changes on a different time scale, when they line up for simultaneous effect, kaboom as scientists would say, big tide. Wind can add or subtract a bit too... Now my head hurts.

  2. Coline--You describe one of the joys of becoming intimate with a place: You notice the subtle changes. They can be disturbing as well.