Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Beach Boys tell you to "Catch a Wave"...and I'll add,

You've probably heard that old Beach Boys' tune, where they're glorifying the surf, the sun, the babes laying on the beach, and all the other things that go with being on the ocean. Well, today, I caught a wave. Actually, it would be more accurate, though, to say that "the wave caught ME." I'll proceed to explain...

Today was one of those days when there was nothin' but blue sky everywhere, which can be something of a rarity here on the coast. More often than not, it'll be sunny everywhere else, but hanging over the coast, usually, is an innocuous but highly annoying strip of coastal fog, created by the clash of land and water temperatures. Today, though, no fog. Lots of sun. And quite a bit of wind, too. But it wasn't a cold wind; it was just right; a cool, moist wind. Breathing the ocean air is just amazing. You can just about taste the salt in the air. And visibility seaward was unlimited today. There, I've set this tale in motion...

Gosh, it was beautiful on the beach today. I drove out to a lookout point high above the beach, and it looked so good down there, that I just had to be on the beach. I drove down, parked my car, strolled out onto the beach, and walked about half a mile north along the beach, to where the rock jetty at the entrance to the bay is located. Between the north and south jetties, there's a fairly deep channel of water through which ocean vessels sail to or from the bay. Earlier in the day, I had tuned into the little coastal radio station, which features marine forecasts on a tape loop. Today's report said there were 4 to 8 foot ocean swells, and that pleasure craft under 40 feet were not allowed to "cross the bar" (between the two jetties), so I knew that water conditions would be turbulent.

One of my objectives down here is to try and become one with my environment. And, the power of the ocean endlessly fascinates me. So, I climbed to the top of the jetty and watched the huge waves as they crashed into the jetty and made their way into the bay. I had a perfect front-row seat for watching the fury of Mother Nature, with blue skies, an abundance of sunshine, and pelicans and seagulls flying overhead as the waves crashed against the jetty where I was sitting, shooting spray and foam all over the place. Well, you know "it's not nice to fool Mother Nature". And it might not be wise to tempt her, either. Waves were crashing all around me as I sat on top of the jetty, but largely, the spray was landing all around me, but not actually "getting me".

And I stayed there a bit too long, it turns out. For, there was a wave out there with my name on it. And Mother Nature was telling me, "this ocean ain't big enough for the both of us", but did I listen? Nooooooo. And then it happened. A wave headed toward where I was sitting, and CRASH! BOOM! WHAM! The wave SMACKED the jetty, and before I could move, a wall of water slammed into me, and it felt like I got hit by a defensive lineman...BAM! WHAM! CRASH! And I got absolutely DRENCHED. And got the wind knocked out of me besides. My hat, my coat, my glasses were inundated with salt water, which I also had in my eyes. Whew! So, I peeled myself from the rock I was sitting on, climbed down from the jetty, got my walking stick, and trudged a half-mile down the beach to where I was parked.

So how do I feel about this? Well, I tell ya, "it was somethin', all right." And I'll go back out there AGAIN and sit on the jetty, watching the enormity of the waves. But next time, maybe I won't stay there as long. Or maybe I won't sit on the jetty if "4 to 8-foot swells" are happening out there. That little radio station airs a piece of info about ocean safety, and it advises beachgoers "never turn your back on the ocean". Well, I didn't, but the ocean attacked me from the FRONT instead. But...I am glad I went through this. I not only saw, but FELT the power of the ocean. For something like this to happen to me, it was scary, but in a quite extraordinary way. And the weather forecast calls for blue skies all the rest of this week. By tomorrow, my clothes should be dry...and I think you know where I'll be.

Here it is; this is the culprit. The wave that had my name on it. From a distance, it looks like a harmlessly innocuous little bit of water, but let that thing slam you in the face, and "oh my". You consider that water weighs roughly 8 lbs. to the gallon...and it felt like I'd gotten struck by a whole lotta poundage. A veritable oceanic smackdown. Maybe next time I go and sit on the jetty, I'll wear a helmet in addition to a couple of raincoats. Couldn't hurt!

Well, all I need now are a Pirate's hat, an eye patch, a peg-leg, and a parrot sitting on my shoulder. Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum! Well, I have parakeets and a bottle of Pepsi, so that'll hafta do.


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