Sneaker Waves and Other Shaggy Dog Stories

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I visited Cape Kiwanda, my favorite place on the Oregon coast last weekend.  The Cape juts out into the Pacific splitting two beautiful sandy beaches forming a wind break which has grown into a massive sand dune.  Just offshore is a haystack rock completing the scene.  If natures beauty isn’t enough, my favorite brew pub on the planet can be found a few yards from the beach.  The Pelican Pub and Brewery is everything a great pub should be and the beer is fantastic!

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I learned an important lesson about the ocean this weekend.  It is unpredictable, powerful and dangerous.  I awoke on Saturday morning to a cloudy scene but no rain and quickly decided this would be great time to walk our dog Gunner, especially since the weather forecast looked especially wet for the rest of the day.  Gunner was keen and we set off with pretty much the whole beach to ourselves.  Just as we were about to turnaround and head home, I noticed what looked like a big wave coming in to shore and not wanting to get my feet wet we started running up the beach.  Maybe I’m slow these days but the water soon caught us up and washed over my ankles, not a pleasant feeling.  To my surprise it just kept coming until it reached about waist high at which point it knocked me over.  It quickly went from a pleasant walk to swimming and what felt like being turned over in a washing machine.  Things weren’t helped when a piece of driftwood hit me in the head.  Luckily Gunner was on a leash and when the water retreated we  picked our bedraggled selves up off the sand.

As luck would have it, I had my iPhone in one pocket and in the other my brand new Intel Motorola Razr-i phone in the other.  Needless to say, no amount of drying out was going to bring them back to life.  Our walk turned into a scary and costly one.  I now understand how someone can be swept into the ocean and you don’t need to be in the water to start.  Despite this adventure the rest of our trip was fabulous and I got to take some pictures including some slow shutter ones.  I have much more to learn about this technique but was pleased with the start.

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9 thoughts

  1. These are lovely Andy. Some of your best yet, I believe. One question: How was it that your camera didn’t get wet in the wave? Sounds scary. Glad you and Gunner are okay. 😉

  2. Hi Heather, luckily I didn’t have my camera with me in the morning or that would have been a REALLY expensive swim! Thanks for the compliment, Cape Kiwanda is such a beautiful spot!

  3. Didn’t a similar thing happen to us all in Whitby nearly 30 years ago? No iPhones were lost on that day, of course, but I remember some disdainful looks from wiser members of the public on the pier and some fairly sheepish lecturers! Happy days!

    Keep up the creative stuff, mate – you might just have a flair for it and it keeps me occupied when I ought to be working! Do let me know if you’re ever back in Blighty.

    • Hey Tony, it’s great to hear from you. I have vague memories of the Whitby trip back in the day when phones were connected by a cable to the wall. I do remember being stranded by lecturers in the middle of Scotland and they were supposed to be the smart ones!?!

  4. Yikes. That is a scary story Andy. We’re so glad you and the dog are safe. Our beloved, pastoral ocean can be full of not so happy surprises. Dangerous it is. Lovely pictures make it all’s well that ends well.

  5. Great Shots Andy. One of my favorite places, the Oregon coast. Had a special trip with my dad in 1980 a week after Mt. St. Helens blew it’s top where we visited Honeyman State Park near Florence where my dad help design (as a landscape architect) back in early 40’s. Revisited with my family in 2006. Glad you were safe after wave.

  6. I was just near there and your shots put mine to shame. What beautiful work. Sorry to hear about the swim. I saw all the signs for sneaker waves but was pretty dismissive. I guess I’ll be more careful next time. The images are certainly good though.
    ps, try leaving your gadgets in a bowl of rice with the batteries out.

    • Thanks for the compliment. I tried the bowl of rice equivalent but it was sadly unable to stir either phone 😦 A friend of mine had a better idea today, put your phone in a zip lock bag if you are at the beach. I will do that next time!

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