Located just the corner from the Piazza Galuppi is a small house covered in artwork. What makes it special is that on the side of the right side of the building is a list of each of the occasions when high tide (Italian: alta marea) affected the island. It shows the full date and how many centimetres the water level rose by.
High Tide is a short and safe three-minute walk (one block with sidewalks) to the world-famous white sand beaches and emerald green waters of the Gulf of Mexico. You will fall in love with the Crystal Beach neighborhood of Destin, known for its white picket fences and upscale cottage-style homes. The area is convenient to an outdoor shopping mall, a movie theater, countless restaurants, and shops, water park, go carts, and several world class golf courses, but still maintains a quiet and family-friendly beach atmosphere. No high-rise condos are allowed in this unique area.
A lot of weather-related requirements were necessary to pull D-Day off. The days needed to be long for maximum air power usage; a near-full moon was needed to help guide ships and airborne troops; and the tides had to be strong enough to expose beach obstacles at low tide and float supply-filled landing vehicles far onto the beach during high tide. H-Hour was also crucial in that it relied on those tides to be rising at that time. There also had to be an hour of daylight just beforehand for bombardment accuracy.
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One evening in early summer Caius went a-fishing. He started to walkseveral miles to an inlet where at high tide the sea-trout came withinreach of the line. The country road was of red clay, and, turning fromthe more thickly-settled district, Caius followed it through a wide woodof budding trees and out where it skirted the top of low red cliffs,against which the sea was lapping. Then his way led him across a farm.So far he had been walking indolently, happy enough, but here the shadowof the pain of the world fell upon him.
He scrambled down the face of the cliff, for it was as yet some hoursbefore the tide would be full. A glance showed him that the stone ofbaby Day's tablet yet held firm, cemented in the niche of the soft rock.A glance was enough for an object for which he had little respect, andhe sat down with his back to it on one of the smaller rocks of thebeach. This was the only place on the shore where the sandstone was hardenough to retain the form of rock, and the rock ended in the small,sharp headland which, when he was down at the water's level, hid theneighbouring bay entirely from his sight.
The cart, with its little company, turned into the narrow strip of darkdamp sand that the tide had already left bare. Here the footing was muchfirmer, and the wind struck them obliquely. The hardy pony broke intoits natural pace, a moderate trot. In spite of this pace, the progressthey made was not very swift, and it was already four by the clock.O'Shea climbed to his place on the front of the cart; the boy sprangdown and ran to warm himself, clapping his gloved hands as he ran. Itwas not long before Caius clambered into his straw seat again, and,sitting, watched the wonder of the waves. So level was the beach, sohigh was the surf, that from the low cart it seemed that giganticmonsters were constantly arising from the sea; and just as the fear ofthem overshadowed the fascinated mind, they melted away again intonothingness. As he looked at the waves he saw that their water, mixedwith sand, was a yellowish brown, and dark almost to black when thecurling top yawned before the downfall; but so fast did each wave breakone upon the other that glossy water was only seen in glimpses, andboiling fields of foam and high crests of foam were the main substanceof all that was to be seen for a hundred yards from the shore.
They went down once more where they could see nothing but the surf andthe sand-hills. The boy had walked far on; they saw his coated andcowled figure swaying with the motion of his walk on the shining beachin front. The tide was at its lowest. What the fishermen had said of itwas true: with the wind beating it up it had gone down but a third ofits rightful distance; and now the strip that it had to traverse to befull again seemed alarmingly narrow, for a great part of their journeywas still to be made. The two men got up on the cart; the boy leaped upwhen they reached him, before O'Shea could bring it to full stop forhim, and on they went. Even the pony seemed to realize that there wasneed of haste.
The boy seemed to scan the prospect before him now far more eagerly thanbefore; but the wreck, which was, as O'Shea said, deserted, seemed to bethe only external object in all that gleaming waste. They passed on,drawing up for a minute near her at the boy's instigation, and scanningher decks narrowly as they were washed by the waves, but there was nosign of life. Be[Pg 110]fore they had gone further Caius caught sight of thedark outline of another wreck; but this one was evidently of some weeks'standing, for the masts were gone and the hulk half broken through.There was still another further out. The mere repetition of the sadstory had effect to make the scene seem more desolate. It seemed as ifthe sands on which they trod must be strewed with the bleached skeletonsof sailors, and as if they embedded newly-buried corpses in theirbreast. The sandhills here were higher than they had been before, andthere were openings between them as if passages led into the interiorvalleys, so that Caius supposed that here in storms or in flood-tidesthe waves might enter into the heart of the dune.
He had gone a mile, it might be more; he heard a step behind him. Invain he tried to convince himself that some noise natural to the lonelybeach deceived him. In the high tide of life that the bracing air hadbrought him, his senses were acute and true. He knew that he heard thisstep: it was light, like a child's; it[Pg 120] was nimble, like a fawn's;sometimes it was very near him. He was not in the least afraid; but dowhat he would, his mind could form no idea of what creature it might bewho thus attended him. No dark or fearful picture crossed his mind justthen; all its images were good.
The warm March sun, and the March winds that agitated the open sea, weredoing their work. To-day there was water appearing in places upon theice where it joined the shore, and when Caius was out with a large bandof men upon the extreme edge of the solid ice, a large fragment brokeloose. There were some hundred seals upon this bit of ice, which werebeing butchered one by one in barbarous fashion, and so busy were themen with their work that they merely looked at the[Pg 194] widening passage ofgray water and continued to kill the beasts that they had hedged roundin a murderous ring. It was the duty of those on the shore to bringboats if they were needed. The fragment on which they were could notfloat far because the sea outside was full of loose ice, and, as ithappened, when the dusk fell the chasm of water between them and theshore was not too broad to be jumped easily, for the ice, having firstmoved seaward, now moved landward with the tide.
Caius went. He mounted his horse and rode down upon the western shore.He found the track, and galloped upon it. The tide was low; the ice wasfar from shore; the highway, smoothed by the waves, was firm and good.Caius galloped to the end of the island where the light was, where thesealing vessels lay round the base of the lighthouse, and out upon thedune, and still the print of her horse's feet went on in front of him.It was not the first time that he and she had been upon the dunetogether.
To Caius the secret chamber was enchanted ground. He stepped to itswindow, framed in waving grasses, and saw the high tide lapping just alittle way below. It was into this place of safety that Josephine hadcrept when she had disappeared from his view before he could mount thecliff to see whither she went. She had often stood where he now stood,half afraid, half audacious, in that curious dress of hers, before shesummoned up courage to slip into the sea for daylight or moonlightwanderings.
Caius was wondering whether the occasion on which this curiousbathing-dress had been torn was that in which he, by pursuing Josephine,had forced her to cease pushing herself about in shallow water and taketo more ordinary swimming. He looked around and saw the one otherimplement which had been necessary to complete the strange outfit; it,too, was a thing of ordinary appearance and use: a long pole or poker,with[Pg 281] a handle at one end and a small flat bar at the other, a thingused for arranging the fire in the deep brick ovens that were still inuse at the older farmsteads. It was about six feet long. The woman,seeing his attention directed to it, took it eagerly and showed how itmight be used, drawing him with her to the aperture over the shore andpointing out eagerly the landmarks by which she knew how far the shallowwater extended at certain times of the tide. Her topographical knowledgeof all the sea's bed within about a mile of the high-water mark wasextraordinarily minute, and Caius listened to the information she pouredupon him, only now beginning to realize that she e