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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Blogging a tropical storm

Posted by: Jambo / 12:12 AM

Late last night, about 1:00 am, a few of us ventured down to the ocean to see what the water looked like during a tropical storm at night. Walking the block or so from our apartment to the beach (I went barefoot but wore my rain jacket) I was guessing the winds were about 40 knots but when we climbed over a little ridge just before the beach we guessed it was closer to 55-60 knots. That's well short of hurricane strength but still pretty impressive. Spreading out her jacket and leaning into it my friend Luciana was able to stand at almost a 45 degree angle with the wind holding her up. This is a beach I have been going to for over a decade and the waves were higher and coming a good 30 yards further up the sand than I ever remember seeing before. The blowing sand stung your legs and the roar of the surf made it hard to talk to anyone more than a few feet away. But what was really amazing was the feel of the water when it washed over my feet (don't worry, we were all smart enough to not go more than about calf deep.) The water was so whipped up from the wind that not only was it white as far out as you could see but the last two or three feet was more foam than water and it almost felt like you weren't getting wet--there was so much air mixed with it that it felt more like a powder than a liquid. I can't quite find the words to describe it but it was one of the strangest things I've ever experience. The waves would roll in but as they slid back out the foam would keep blowing as the wind blew it up the beach almost like drifting snow in a blizzard. At one point a bunch of it formed a drift about 3 inches deep and when we walked through it it felt like walking through a very light whipped cream and when we stepped out it looked like we were all wearing thick white socks. Then there was a break in the clouds and we saw a few stars. It was the first open sky we had seen in days and we thought maybe it was a sign that things might clear up enough to get back on the water in a few days. But 15 minutes later the sky had closed back up and we wondered if we were getting our hopes up.

By this afternoon the winds had died a bit and the rain was gone so we are going to put the boats back in the water tomorrow morning and hope the storm is far enough passed to go out again. The winds were now down in the 30s and tho the "no swimming" flags were up all down the beach a few surfers have ventured back into the water. We'll cross our fingers and hope to be able to catch a few dolphins tomorrow. The water's going to be churned up for a while so our visibility will be crap for a few days and the rain will have dropped the water temp a few degrees too. And people wonder why I bring my wetsuit to Florida in the summer?


on land or sea or foam

By Blogger Joey de Vivre, at 8:55 AM  

I love being on the gulf beaches during a storm- beautiful in a frightening way. ( Of course you are always welcome to come stay with us & experience the power outages too) Wishing you good dolphin hunting!

By Blogger BETH, at 10:35 PM  

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