Friday, 9 September 2016

I must go down to the sea again...

There seems to have been a lot of people lost to the sea from the beach this summer. The sea can  be fun and it can be hateful and dangerous. I have waded between the rocks in this water catching shrimps in my net and feeling the warm water moving on my legs with hardly a wave in sight.

The sea is so clear and blue on a sunny day, inviting, a watery playground to enjoy. But just look at it on this wild August afternoon. To go into those waves with the rocks beneath would not lead to shrimps for tea, but more likely a meeting with Davy Jones and his proverbial locker.

It doesn’t come across in the picture but those breakers are seven feet high, and when they hit the cliffs in the distance the spray shoots thirty feet into the air. Across on the other side - under the castle - the stone jetty disappears in a froth of white spume with each wave. Three teenagers run halfway along the stone flagged outcrop and then stop, daunted by the force of the wind and spray. Another ten feet and it's almost a certainty that the sea will pull them in, claiming their foolish lives for King Neptune or Poseidon or whoever it is that rules the vast underwater kingdom beneath the waves.

Ironically, across the road, just tens of yards from the pier, the lifeboat station is open waiting for a call-out, probably caused by some fool who doesn’t respect the power of the churning waters and pushes his luck too far. Of course the sea is no respecter of luck, it cocks its green wet nose at even the most experienced seaman sometimes; so how these ‘down for the week’ holidaymakers expect to gamble and win is stunning in its stupidity. ‘Place your bets, place your bets’, I don’t think you stand much chance of beating the odds.

The wind gusts, the waves rush over the promenade breakwater and the cars - probably parked by the inner wall before the waves came so high - are scratched and pitted by the round pebbles that the water brings with it. A crack goes up and a windscreen breaks as water pours over the dashboard of some unsuspecting tourist who’s probably having a cup of tea in one of the cafés across the way. The waves continue not quite satisfied yet, and more water pours into the car. If I knew for sure where the owner was I might try to find him, but of course it’s too late. He’ll be driving home in the wet later.

And there we have it; a summer’s day at the seaside. What fun.

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