Tonight Anna and I camped on an island the size of a large house. We have come to love small islands and we seek them out as much as possible. You do not have to worry as much about bears and other large animals and other people are not likely to be on the islands. Also it’s just plain fun, like Robinson Crusoe fun, running around and exploring all the small areas, climbing through the woods to pop out on the other side hoping to find some fun treasures that have washed up.
On this day we actually had the option to set up camp on two separate islands that are connected by a sandbar in the middle. We’ll lose the sandbar at higher tide so we have to choose. Anna runs around looking on one island for possible camp sites as I look curiously at the old dried up tide line on the other. The only camp spot on my island is border line under water at high tide. We have played chance with the tide before and it is not fun. I set my alarm to a bit before high tide and then get up every 15 minutes and make sure the water is not saturating our pillows.
To accurately guess how high the tide will get, you first walk to the lowest dry seaweed line on the beach. This is where the last high tide was. Check your tide book to see how high the tide was and compare with the next. Now, get your imaginary tape measure and using the difference between the two, (remember it’s a vertical difference, not just inches up or down the beach) figure out where the next high tide will be. Add a couple inches for good measure. If you can find a beach spot well above that line you are good, if it’s only a little above that line you either have to camp in the woods or wake up to make sure you don’t get swamped. Don’t forget that wind and boat wake can create waves much higher than the predicted tide making your precise calculations mostly irrelevant.
We try not to camp in questionable spots but every once in a while that is all that is given to you. Every time we have it was fine and we had a couple of feet to spare, but when you are laying in your tent with water two feet away, it sounds like you will be swamped at any moment.
Luckily Anna finds a spot that we don’t have to set the alarm for. Just enough space between three trees to get the tent wedged in. We won’t have one vestibule due to how tight it is but you take what you can get and are grateful when the island is so small and wonderful. It’s a little humped in the center of the tent, so we fill in the low spots with our spare clothes. It’s our home for the night and we love it.