25th November 1909

Jersey is struck by unusually low tides

The tide was so low on the morning of 25 November that the mailboat couldn’t dock. Not only were its letters and parcels trapped, but the passengers it had been carrying had to decamp to smaller boats to be ferried from the vessel to the shore.

As the Jersey Times reported, “Captain Winter brought his vessel [the mailboat Frederica] carefully up the Small Road and… crept slowly into the harbour. By dint of skilful manoeuvring she was successfully swung and commenced to back into her berth. While she was still some distance from the quay, however, she took the ground. Every possible attempt to free the steamer over the ‘bank’ was made, but engines being kept going full speed astern for a long while, and with the assistance of the after captain some ground was gained and it seemed likely that an attempt would be successful. The tide, however, was still falling, and the Frederica at length became immovable, half her length being across the harbour entrance.”

A solution is found

Half an hour later, the offloading of the passengers by smaller boats began.

The following day was no better, this time with The Ibex being similarly grounded, having arrived in Jersey after first calling at Guernsey. The Jersey times blamed the groundings not only on the low tides, commenting that “it certainly seems a pity that passengers should be subjected to this inconvenience owing to the unduly long delays at Guernsey, which seem to be a matter of course during the winter.”


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Other events that occured in November