There will be times when I’m watching a good escape/evasion sequence, and then suddenly want to heave a deep sigh. Because a lot of people seem to think taking to a boat or crossing where they get their feet wet makes them suddenly untrackable.
And… that’s just not true. Here’s a definite trace left in water.
Granted, it’s more the absence of a trace, but… you can see where the wind makes waves on the water, and where the waves are dampened by the lee of the boardwalk. If something had passed through that water a little while ago, it would be obvious.
Now, this water would be harder to track someone over – too deep for someone’s steps to have disturbed the lake bed, too much movement for visible surface trails to last long. But if you bring a hound along in your boat to sniff over the water, they’d still lead you right to your prey.
This would be easier – shallower water, so you might have a visible trail of disturbed sediment or fish, more still surface so you might see traces in the surface film.
Too deep for stirring up stuff (unless your target sank, and then you’ve got whole different search parameters). But any movement against the low breeze would be obvious.
This might be the trickiest yet; wind and surface contours have a lot of small-scale wave action going on, meaning disturbances would get erased very quickly.
Whereas this one has enough still areas that you’d be able to pick out the trail by how those ripples would contrast with the prevailing pattern.
I know, these are the kind of small details that are easy to not write into a scene, or might not even fit in a Grand, Sweeping Story of High Herodom. But I tend to like a lot of stories set on a smaller scale – one kingdom, one valley, one family – and on that scale? The shape of water matters.