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Thread: 2008 Tide book error

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    Member Alaska Gray's Avatar
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    Default 2008 Tide book error

    Last night my wife was telling me on the news they said there was error with this year tide book... They put the wrong tides on the wrond days.
    Does anyine know was this with every tide book?
    Living the Alaskan Dream
    Gary Keller
    Anchorage, AK

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    Member Alaska Gray's Avatar
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    Default From Adn

    HOMER -- Lo, the faithful tide book -- fisherman's bible, etcher of lunar phases, harbinger of spring.
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    It's been recalled.
    Pioneer Publishing, the Soldotna company that provides most of the tide books given away by Alaska businesses starting every January, has pulled this year's crop off the shelves to correct an error. New tide books should be available by the first week of March, the company says.
    In the meantime, what is a daydreaming fisherman to do?
    For coastal Alaska, the pocket-sized tide book is a well-thumbed marker of the year's progress -- crisp and new in February, dog-eared by July, lost under a truck seat by October.
    Fishermen plot their expeditions with tide book in hand. River anglers watch for big tides to carry salmon upstream. Halibut fishermen watch for small ones to let their hooks reach the bottom. Clammers circle the minus tides and arrange for days off work.

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    In towns like Homer, the tide books show up everywhere after the first of the year, bearing the names of banks, fuel suppliers or environmental groups on the cover.
    "People come in, they've got two or three in the boat, one in the car, and usually they have one in their pocket too," said Ken Quinn, manager of Kachemak Gear Shed, who sells supplies to commercial and sport fishermen. His store gives away 3,000 to 4,000 tide books to customers every year, Quinn said.
    Essential as they are to saltwater cabin owners whose boats are tied to running lines, part of the magic is that the books come free as business promotions.
    "It's one of the last true free things in life. People really treasure that," said Jerry Thompson, the owner of Pioneer Publishing, who said he is taking a small financial beating with this year's recall.
    Thompson's mom-and-pop company sells the tide books to about 100 clients, each getting a customized cover. (The actual number of books he prints is a proprietary secret, he said.)
    Inside, the book gives monthly tide tables for different popular areas around Alaska. Doing business as Alaska Tide Book Co., Pioneer publishes three zoned editions, with "South Central" stretching from Anchorage to Kodiak to Cordova.
    Aside from charting the rise and fall of the sea, the books offer plenty of small-print fodder for a slow fishing day -- explanations of how tides work, diagrams of nautical knots, mariner safety tips and a halibut length-weight guesstimate chart.
    Thompson said that before he started publishing his tide books in 1988, the guidebooks were much less user-friendly. Kenai River fishermen had to study the chart for Seldovia and then add two hours and 57 minutes, he said.
    Now there are special sections for the Kenai River and Ninilchik's Deep Creek. Thompson said he was an early user of an Apple computer and figured out how to calculate the adjustments from primary stations provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
    But it was a computer glitch that caused the "typeface discrepancy" requiring a recall of this year's first edition.
    New software installed this year didn't account for the occasional day when three tides -- say, two high tides and a low -- occur before or after noon. If it's in the morning, the second high tide should be in light typeface in the tide book. But the new software showed it in boldface -- as, say, 11:45 p.m. instead of 11:45 a.m.
    The problem was detected and called in by a Sitka fisherman in the first week of January, Thompson said.
    A sharp-eyed mariner would quickly detect the error. But not every user of the South Central Alaska Tide Table is a sharp-eyed mariner.
    Thompson told his clients he would send out a correction insert. But one client objected, so last week he decided to ask companies to remove the books until a second printing could be done. The job will take another four weeks or so, he said.
    "I didn't want to provide two solutions to one problem," he said. "We're really bummed by the inconvenience it's caused."
    Thompson said he knows how much people count on his books, because they call him. New features have been added at popular request, such as recent years' daily catch totals for the Russian River.
    "I had one gentleman who called me to say, 'I read my Bible every day, but when I'm on the water this is my bible,' " Thompson said.
    Living the Alaskan Dream
    Gary Keller
    Anchorage, AK

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