The Low Tide

A couple of years ago I was following the tide’s height on the Thames quite closely. A student of the unconscious I was particularly interested in the tide’s nadir. It’s always fascinating to see the depths of the foreshore which are revealed. I believe the event when the tide is at its very lowest is called the LAT, for Lowest Astronomical Tide, relating of course to the effect of the moon upon the oceans.

This low tide of 4th March 2022 was particularly low, showing as -0.2m, literally off the charts! So I went down to the foreshore to check it out. It’s a great way to establish some connection to nature and the universe from which we are insulated in the metropolis.

The Thames tide level is measured at London Bridge but I’m not aware of a way of getting onto the foreshore there, so I chose Southwark bridge beside it instead.

At Southwark bridge there is a heavy iron gate, shown here ajar, which opens onto the riverbank.

In 2022 you can see how the Thames just ran like a slither around the bridge’s pier.

This tiny channel is visible in this photo looking upriver.

I was able to reach across and touch the pier itself. That blue anorak went to Ukraine I believe.

At the time I was drawing the “forms” and so doodled one on its wall with one of the chalk pebbles.

When the tide turned the gap filled very quickly. You can see an actual wave reaching up.

This year, purely by chance, or perhaps some astrological impulse, I checked the excellent Tides App (developed by David Easton) and saw that there was to be an even lower tide on the following Tuesday 9th. This was to be a truly epic low tide.

As I made my way down to the Southwark Bridge foreshore I mentioned to a few of my fellow pedestrians that they were witnessing an historic low tide. Certainly, the banks of the Thames were conspicuously exposed. People’s genuine interest and friendliness was tinged ever-so-slightly by concern as to my mental wellbeing. A lunatic, somewhat appropriately. But that’s the risk you run when you think for yourself…

Reaching the shoreline I could see that, although the beach had been subtly reshaped in the intervening two years, the tide was indeed lower.

This time the pebbles reached the foot of the pier itself.

I struck an X on the pier wall with a chalk pebble.

This time I noticed that there were other people wandering the foreshore. I spoke to the lady who you can see on the edge of frame. I was hoping that maybe she had been brought here by this same information, but no.

The view upstream from the Millennium bridge was particularly epic.

In a later post we will look into the effect of the moon upon growing.