Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Windy evening

It is an avant-garde music kind of night, what with fitful wallops of wind blowing through the boat and twanging the halyard (rope for raising/lowering a sail) against the shroud (wire cable stretched from the masthead to the sides of the boat to support the mast), producing metallic, space-like resonances. There is also the squeak of fenders against the dock. And, throughout everything, the creakings of a wooden Cape Dory boat.

It's a good time to open up The Oxford Companion to Ships and the Sea. I found mine in the used bookstore on Atlantic Avenue off Court Street. The edition dates from the seventies, and it's a great reference for all sorts of nautical things that a landlubber like me doesn't know. A random flip, and this catches my eye:

"EAGRE, see BORE."
"BORE, or eagre, a sudden and rapid flow of tide in certain rivers and estuaries which rolls up in the form of a wave. Bores are caused either by the meeting of two tides, where the excess of water results in a rapid rise, or by a tide rushing up a narrowing estuary where the closeness of the banks or a shelving bottom encloses the tide so that it is forced to rise rapidly to accommodate the volume of water coming in.
The most impressive bore is probably that in the Hooghli River, known as bahu by the natives, which comes in with the sound of thunder. . ."
 Apparently, a bore can be surfed as well, as in England below.
I love when a word that is so thoroughly one thing in common usage is something completely else in another vocabulary.

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