Posted by: Jack Henry | June 22, 2021

Editor’s Corner: Bore Tide

Good morning, everyone!

It has been a fantastic month so far! After 15 months being physically distanced and masked from the world, it was finally time for vacation! We were invited to a wedding in Alaska, so my husband and I made our way to the great white north, and then even farther.

Alaska is an amazing and beautiful place, the wedding was great, and I brought home a new term I thought I’d share with you.

While we were on a mighty fine train ride, we heard about something called a bore tide that Alaskan surfers ride. Yes, Alaskan surfers. I had to find out more about this. From the website:

The bore tide is a rush of seawater that returns to a shallow and narrowing inlet from a broad bay. Bore tides come in after extreme minus low tides created by the full or new moon.

Bore tides occur all over the world—there are around 60 of them—but only a few are large enough to make a name for themselves. One in China, for example, stretches almost 30 feet tall and travels more than 20 miles per hour. Alaska’s most famous bore tide occurs in Turnagain Arm, just outside Anchorage. It builds up to 6–10 feet tall and can reach speeds of 10 to 15 miles per hour. It takes not just a low tide but also about a 27-foot tidal differential (between high and low tide) for a bore to form in Turnagain Arm.

Turnagain Arm Bore Tide (Tidal Bore) in Girdwood, AK

We did not see the strikingly fast and large tide, but we did see a slower, shallower version moving in as a backdrop to the wedding we went to at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. And on that note, I have a couple of things I found entertaining at the center.

First, we saw this sign as we walked across a bridge that took us over the black bear enclosure, which is littered with lost hats, sunglasses, and what looks like thigh bones:

Then, we saw this sign next to the gate of the buffalo paddock, which defines what happens if you dare reach in and try to pet a buffalo:

And finally, one of the tour guides told us a little about the state. He said that the population a few years ago was 75% men, 25% women. His nieces heard these odds, and then found out about an annual “bachelor fundraiser,” with proceeds going to the fire department. The young women thought it sounded great. All those lonely men, fishing, hunting, staking their claims…without women at their sides. As they got all giddy, their aunt told them: “Girls, up here, the odds are good—but the goods are odd.”

Kara Church

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Technical Editor, Advisory

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