“Watch the Waves”


At low tide you can walk out this spit to an small island in Bar Harbor’s harbor. It is a popular trail, with nice views looking back to the mainland. Our last evening in Maine we strolled out to enjoy the weather, the sand, the birds and the views. But I was amused by a new sign installed since our last visit. This one warned visitors that they needed to pay attention to the tides. Once stranded by the incoming tide, the sign warned, you would need to wait nine hours to be able to walk back.

Apparently a modern entrepreneur, aware that some people would ignore the sign and demand to be picked up, has come to the rescue. While the harbor patrol is content to let the unwary wait out the tide cycle, one company will come if you call. And since so many now have cell phones, a stranded walker could indeed call. The fee for this “rescue” is $150.00.

Growing up on the Oregon Coast, I was well aware of places that could only be reached at low tide and I paid close attention to the tide table each day I went exploring. I knew that if I were to be stranded I would need to wait for the next low tide to get back. The idea of waiting for hours to return was sufficient incentive to stay aware. Even getting stuck on Haystack Rock, a prominent landmark, meant waiting. Now the Coast Guard will actually fly in and help stranded hikers. Something has changed, I guess, in the idea of “natural consequences” and tides. I am not sure it is for the better.

4 thoughts on ““Watch the Waves”

  1. That’s pretty brilliant. The Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick / Nova Scotia is like that – it has one of the biggest tides in the world, I’m told. At the Hopewell Rocks you can go down and explore the shore and the bottoms of the interesting “Flower Pot Rocks” there, but keep your eye on your watch. If you aren’t careful you might need to swim back to the steep stairs that lead you back to your car. We were there when the tide was coming in and it was really quite something. Nothing you really have to worry about but so fast!


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