October 15th, 2009

the last 24

Yesterday afternoon a northeaster was raging: big-ass waves, no real line-up, no telling where waves would break, horrible current, tough paddle out, deep overcast, and a chill in the 20 mph wind that made 60 degrees feel a lot colder.  The Oceanic was small; C Street was the place.  I was out for less than an hour: just too much hassle.

This morning the waves had cleaned up, the sky was still slate, the air temp was 55 degrees, the ocean was steaming.  (When the air temp is 20 degrees cooler than the water temp, it looks like steam is coming off the ocean. This only happens a few times a year.  It's especially cool with a sunrise.) 

The wind switches from NE to NW and finally to a clean west wind -- straight offshore.  The sun comes out.  I check the waves on a rising tide: what!? -- waist- to chest-high barrels at my back door.

This afternoon the ocean was alive: fish, big and small, jumping everywhere.  Dolphins lazily making their way north.  Pelicans, petrals, terns and gulls circling, diving, eating, hanging out on the pier.  A flock of terns would arc a certain way and the sun would hit them and it was like a burst of fireworks; arc a different way and they turned black.  Rainbows formed in the spray off the top of every breaking wave.  As the tide came in the waves lost a little bit of their hollowness, but became more makable.  As the afternoon advanced, people got off work, got out of school, and the amount of surfers doubled, tripled; but there were peaks as far as you could see in either direction.  It didn't seem crowded.  By 5:00 the tide was in and you could ride all the way to the shorebreak, which was pounding, just blasting.

Pics an hour later:

The trajectory's not looking good.

And what happened to that guy's head?