The Slack Tide

Not a poem as such but a mysterious and poetic happening.  Was walking with a friend at the beach. We discussed the tide…you know the sort of thing. ‘I think it’s still coming in….but look see here’ and the other replies ‘Well it’s right up to the bank over there. We should change direction.’ And so on etc. It was difficult to tell this morning and we did change direction not wanting to have to climb over high rocks to  get back if we got stuck. Instead we walked around to where the sea was filling up the estuary. The water was fairly calm but there must have been a sound of lapping, for suddenly all was silent.

It was like the world stopped so immense was the silence. Reverentially we held our breaths for a short time. And just as quickly as the sound had stopped it began again as the tide began its inexorable outward journey. And the waves did their thing where they unroll like an escaped paper towel along the sand’s length.

Apparently this pause is known as a slack tide. Wikipedia describes it thus, ‘Slack water, which used to be known as ‘the stand of the tide‘, is a short period in a body of tidal water when the water is completely unstressed, and there is  no movement either way in the tidal stream. This occurs before the direction of the tidal stream reverses.

It was a real privilege to catch that special moment. Below is a previous photo of the inlet, just around the corner from the main beach, Rototai.


Rototai Inlet


If you are interested in tides and the whys and wherefores you can check out this site here.

Hope you are having a peaceful January.


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