White Salmon, WA

This is extremely inconvenient. The high tide is at the wrong time of day.

July is the best time of year for me to row out from San Francisco across the Pacific, as the prevailing winds then sweep me along the coast rather than onshore, but I had hoped to make the most of a strong ebb tide to shoot me out of the harbour like a ball out of a cannon.

This could add up to 5 knots (or about 6mph) to my boat speed – a significant difference when I usually move at a sedate 1-2 knots. There is an important safety issue here -the extra speed would help me get quickly away from the coast before the wind comes along and shipwrecks me on the shore.

So I took a look at the tide tables for July. The best ebb tide is on 2nd July, two days after the full moon. The drawback is that the tide turns at the unsociable hour of 1.25am, with the maximum flow out of the harbour occurring at 5am.

I had fondly imagined a grand departure under the Golden Gate Bridge, accompanied by a flotilla of rowboats and yachts and (obviously) throngs of media. Leaving at some godforsaken hour of the night is a less mediagenic prospect.

So I have to choose: a faster, safer departure at night, or a departure spectacular during the day? Or maybe I should have a big party and, like a solitary newlywed leaving for honeymoon, launch myself off into the darkness at the party’s end…

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