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living in the sea

as i was drifting off to sleep last night, my wife had noticed this interesting travel show highlight on PBS about a mystical island in the sea....

Mont Saint Michel is a small rocky islet, roughly one kilometer from the north coast of France at the mouth of the Couesnon River, near Avranches in Normandy, close to the border of Brittany. It is home to the unusual Benedictine Abbey and steepled church (built between the 11th and 16th centuries) which occupy most of the one-kilometer-diameter clump of rocks jutting out of the waters of the English Channel.

Since the beginning of time the bay had been covered by the sea, which retreated during multiple glaciations, allowing erosion to shape the coastal landscape over millions of years. Several blocks of granite or granulite emerged in the bay, having resisted the wear and tear of the ocean better than the surrounding rocks.

The Mount is connected to the mainland via a thin natural land bridge, which before modernization was covered at high tide and revealed at low tide. Thus, Mont Saint Michel gained a mystical quality, being an island half the time, and being attached to land the other: a tidal island. The tides in the area shift quickly, and has been described by Victor Hugo as "à la vitesse d'un cheval au galop" or as swiftly as a galloping horse. The tides can vary greatly, at roughly 14 meters between high and low water marks. Popularly nicknamed St. Michael in peril of the sea by mediaeval pilgrims making their way across the tidal flats, the mount can still pose dangers for visitors who avoid the causeway and attempt the hazardous walk across the sands from the neighbouring coast. The dangers from the tides and quicksands continue to claim lives.

very cool. thanks admiral.

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