Not Just Another Day at the Beach - Pescadero State Beach California
As you walk down the trails to any of the beaches along this area of the
coast you will see warning signs regarding Sleeper Waves and to beware of
them and I thought I always had been, never turning my back on the ocean.
Sure I like most photographers around these parts I have been chased back
up the beach by large waves. It's something you come to expect. It was a
fairly windy day and there were some showers as the sunset was unfolding
after a recent Pacific storm. The waves were big at times but
nothing I hadn't seen before and could easily outrun. I had taken about two
dozen shots (including this one) of the setting sun when I decided to climb
the rocks and stand on the ledge you can see on the right side of this
image. Once there I set up the tripod and noticed the ocean spray and
mist from the shower was blurring the view so I pulled out my cleaning cloth
and was cleaning my filter when it hit. Out of the corner of
my eye I caught a large splash on the rocks below and looked up to see the
rocks completely disappear under a large wave which raced incredibly fast up
the beach reaching all the way to the base of Highway One, a good 100-150
feet or more up the beach and completely cover the area where I had just
been shooting the sunset under 3 or 4 feet of rushing water. I suddenly
wondered if I was high enough but by the time I had the thought the wave had
already passed my position and it didn't matter anyway as I could go no
higher. As quickly as the wave had rushed up the beach it was headed back
out to sea. Had the wave come about 5 or 10 minutes earlier I would have
been carried a good ways up the beach camera gear and all. There was NO
WAY I could have outrun this one or even scurried up the rocks just 20 feet
or so away. It was sheer luck and boredom of the scene which I had many
pictures of that got me to move up the rocks. I thought to take a
picture of it but I simply didn't have a wide enough lens to get anything
that would show the scale of what had occurred just a few feet below me.
I did snap off one shot but just had moving water toward the end of the wave
going back out to sea. Nothing really worthy posting. It took me a while
before I was ready to move down off my perch on the ledge but eventually I
made my way down and took a few more shots.
So today, this photographer is seriously thinking of heading towards
Yosemite or the Sierra for the next few photo shoots and steering clear of
the beach for a while. Anyways, I did get this and a few other fine
sunsets at the very north end of Pescadero beach along the California coast.
I'll post more later.
Be careful out there.
© Darvin Atkeson