Monday, September 07, 2009

Swell, Wind Waves, Tide, Surf

It's not that I expected 12-foot walls of water breaking directly onto the shore, and I should have gone around to First Beach to see what it looked like coming in from a different angle; but I'd love to better understand the relationship of swell, wind waves, tide, and surf. I'd ask Instigator Surfing, but he's locked up his blog and I don't know any other way to reach him. Hello? Hello, Gator, are you there? Help!!!

Sunday, a happily wild afternoon of intermittent driving showers, bright-weather patches, one purely gorgeous forked lightning strike on the sea stacks off the point to the north, with thunder (five seconds later). One eagle. Some pelicans. Flocks of duck-ish birds flapping by out to sea. Bunches of gulls intermittently, hovering in columns outside the surf line (what fish?). And endless carpets of foam, oceans of foam.

The Ocean Prediction Center gave us something like a 12-foot swell on Sunday, and the Marine Weather Forecast said wind waves 1 to 3 feet. The high tide was at 2:15 PM, and a whole lot of people were out there to get a taste of it, all dolled up in ponchos, slickers, umbrellas, or nothing but t-shirts (it was warm).

Intermittently there were bigger sets of waves, roar woosh, and the people playing with the edges of power would have to hold on to the nearest log while foam washed up their thighs, or happily run shrieking back up the beach. (Only the older and more timid folks like me seemed to have last month's rogue wave at Acadia National Park in the back of their minds.) Indeed it was pretty energetic out there.

James Island, etc.; can't decide whether better with sky drama or without, so here are both... (Click for larger image.)

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