Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay

Tuesday 23 July 2013

That sinking feeling

Just when I thought it was going to be a slow news day (except, of course, that a young woman has had a baby and the media seem to have gone collectively insane*), two entertaining stories come along at once.

First there was last night's asteroid, and then this:
Beachgoer's car is ruined after being swamped by turning tide
And, as if that were not enough, it was followed by this:
Three further vehicles rescued from incoming tide in Burnham area
Once again, the sea has demonstrated its dominance over mankind. In fact, it makes you wonder whether we ever intended to leave the oceans in the first place; perhaps, four hundred-odd million years ago, our distant aquatic ancestors were happily foraging in unfamiliar tidal shallows when the water went away.

You can almost picture them, left high and dry, gaping at each other in baffled confusion. Much the same expressions can be seen on today's beaches among families who, having set up a vast and intricate encampment a few feet from the water's edge and gone for a paddle, return to find the waves lapping merrily round the cool-box and their belongings drifting out to sea.

It would be interesting to know whether such incidents are becoming more frequent; presumably the wider availability of cars and better roads have led to more day-trippers from inland whose lack of familiarity with the sea could explain an increase in the number of tide-related emergency call-outs.

And that's not the end of the seaside idiocies either:
Solent Coastguard said it had received about 40 emergency calls in one 10-minute period over reports of adrift inflatables along the Hampshire coast.
A man, who had been aimlessly adrift in the Solent on a child's inflatable dinghy for well over an hour, has been rescued by emergency crews.
To quote a previous post; 'you may have been told at school that there's no such thing as failure, but when you're blundering about in the shipping lanes with a freighter bearing down on you at speed, I think you may find there is'.

And let's not forget this Darwin Award hopeful:
A man who attempted to sail to Ireland from Dorset in an inflatable dinghy has been rescued by coastguards. 
The man, believed to be American and in his 40s, was picked up south of Durdle Door having drifted eastwards from Osmington Mills on Wednesday afternoon. The 6ft (1.8m) inflatable boat had paddles as a mast and rudder and a plastic sheet for a sail. 
The Irish coast is more than 300 miles (480km) from Dorset.
Admittedly, as an American, he may well have grown up further from the sea than it's possible to get in our island nation, but that's not much of an excuse.

And frankly, we don't need his sort here; we've got quite enough home-grown maritime incompetents as it is!

*Not to mention Marks and Spencer; within minutes of the announcement, they were sending out e-mails with links to buy baby clothes and gifts, champagne, flowers and a 'delightfully illustrated commemorative tin' of biscuits.


  1. They're betting on the babys name at work so I threw Jayden into the mix.

    Do you think there has been an increase in water based imbeciles in recent years, or do you think more of these incidents are being reported to fit in with the nanny state mindset?

    Of both?

  2. An unexpected astral event? A birth? Crowds of worshippers flocking to it? Here we go again.

  3. Best of luck Bucko - at least you should have got good odds.

    I suppose it's a combination of better communications/press releases and more discretionary spending power. I can't imagine my father ever wasting money on a large inflatable toy for the beach - a bucket and spade each was quite enough wanton extravagance.

    Demetrius, now there's an angle I hadn't thought of (though from the way the media are carrying on, you might well be onto something!)

  4. Actually, Bucko, on further reflection, it has never been so easy to find out tide times, which makes you wonder why so many people are getting caught out.

  5. You're making a big leap of faith to assume modern man would check tide times rather than expecting the tide to revolve around them :-)

  6. You've only gone and done it again :)

    Once again, the sea has demonstrated its dominance over mankind. In fact, it makes you wonder whether we ever intended to leave the oceans in the first place

    [Smiles over a cappuccino]


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