Monday, March 01, 2010

How to Play Chicken with Waves that Can Kill You

How to Play Chicken with Pacific Ocean Waves that Can Kill You
Monday Jurubida, Choco

Playing Chicken with Pacific Ocean Waves

For awhile I watched from the beach as Doris played “chicken” with the waves. When there was a lull in the heavy waves, I slipped out of my cap, shoes and T-shirt to slide into the water myself. It was surprising how warm the water was. I have taken many baths in water that was a lot cooler than this and I don’t take cold water baths by a long shot.

The water is really warm”, I said to Doris.

Yeah, isn’t it great?”

I couldn’t believe how warm two sunny days had made the surf.

Heavier Pacific Ocean Waves Begin Rolling in

Higher, heavier waves now began to roll in. We played chicken with them, running to the water’s edge when the waves crested more than about six feet in height.

Don’t go out too far”, my wife warned.

The undertow from the breaking waves told of an outgoing tide. With higher waves, it could easily carry a person out past the breaking point with potentially disastrous results.

A Nealy Fatal Case in Point

Minutes later, barely 20 feet from the waters edge, we turned to see a towering wave of turgid water bearing down on us. In unison, we bolted for the shallows with Doris a couple of steps ahead of me. I high-stepped like a football tight end through a sea of opposing team tacklers to get speed through the waist-deep swell. It was a race to beat the slam of that monstrous wave and its terrible undertow.

I lost.

A Mack truck slammed into my body from behind to send me tumbling helter-skelter in the bubbling brown sea soup. Emerging from the froth to the sounds of Doris’ laughter, I struggled to get upright. But before I could regain my feet, the dreaded undertow began dragging me seaward like a limp rag doll. Doris splashed over grabbing my arm to try to prevent me being swept out further. The undertow started taking both of us. Fighting to break free, we pushed against the receding sands finally getting a foot hold. The sea lost this battle. We dried off deciding to take another dip the next day in calmer waters. Still, it was amazing how warm the Pacific Ocean was with two consecutive sunny days to warm Jurubida’s Bay.

I hope it’s still that warm tomorrow. Unfortunately, the unpredictable sea had yet another surprise waiting for us all the next day. And this time it was much more serious than we could have imagined.

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