Never Turn Your Back On The Ocean
© 2010 Colleen M. Griffith. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, modified, or redistributed in any way without written agreement with the creator. This image is registered with the US Copyright Office.
To capture this photo, I was standing on the edge of a very dangerous reef that is located just alongside the Half Moon Bay harbor, during a minus 1.3 foot low tide (a fairly rare event). A bit further off shore, just beyond the large rock formations you see in this shot, is where the world-famous Maverick's surf contest is held. During the right conditions, you can see the gargantuan 40 to 60 foot waves (12 to 18 meters) the surfers conquer during the contest. What a sight!
Why the title for the photo you ask? Well, that's a lesson I learned first hand when I attended the February 2010 Maverick's surf contest - a sneaker wave came onto shore and overwhelmed the crowd of spectators who had gathered to watch the contest. About a dozen folks went to the hospital that morning. Luckily I was high off the ground, perched on a cliff, and so wasn't in danger from the first sneaker wave. I did find myself running very hard and fast when the second sneaker wave came on shore about an hour later - I narrowly missed injury that time! Whew! I was even standing significantly farther back from shore than I thought necessary after witnessing that first sneaker wave! Since then, I am much more wary around the shoreline. Here are links to some videos I found on UTube that captured the first sneaker wave (note - I've been to this contest many times, and where the crowd was standing, had always been a very safe spot in the past):
In addition to being part of the Maverick's Surf Contest reef system, what I found particularly interesting about this photo is the abundance of Sea Palms (they look like miniature Palm Trees) and Feather Boa kelp. The Sea Palms usually grow on exposed rocky areas with high wave activity - because of that, it's typically difficult to get up close to them unless you find them washed up on a beach. The Feather Boa kelp tends to grow in rocky, subtidal areas, and you can sometimes see it in the waves as they roll onshore. And due to the heavy surf at this particular location (even during such a rare low tide), there is a lot of fine mist in the air, causing that soft feel to the photo.
If you'd like to see all of my Tidal Pool shots, go to:
Posted 11 November 2010. This photo was captured during the November 6th low tide.
Feather Boa KelpSea PalmHalf Moon BayCaliforniaPacific CoastTidalpoolMavericksColleen M Griffith
From 2010 New Photos