Watching Winston’s Waves

In the silence of the night, I heard them. A long smooth shshissshhissh made of a million sounds merging. White noise made of waves. Sound waves. Ocean waves. Winston’s waves.

When morning woke, I rode to the beach to see what he was bringing.

Ex-tropical cyclone Winston is about 1,000 kilometres east of Brisbane and moving west into the Coral Sea. Last weekend he passed through Fiji in the South Pacific Ocean, as a Category 5 Tropical Cyclone, leaving thousands of homes destroyed and 42 lives lost.

All week the surf has been building. No surfing for me this week though. I know my limits and I know they’re different to what they once were. My physical strength has changed over time but not the sea’s.

When my family moved to live by the beach, my father told my brother and me, ‘never lose your respect for the sea’ and always added, ‘if you do, that’s when you’ll get into strife’. His words weren’t about fearing the sea, as many do. They were about respecting the power of the sea, always.

And when the powerful waves carry their shshissshhissh three kilometres to my nighttime ears, I know it’s not time to surf but time to make my way to the altar of the sea, that edge, blurred and shifting where water meets sand and rock, grass and trees. It’s time to watch in awe as the ocean’s wildness tames the beach, its swimmers, its surfers and me.

I love the reminder it brings.


A video of scenes from this morning’s high tide at Currumbin Alley…

Satellite image

The Gold Coast (red circle) with Winston, a swirling cloud mass to the right (source: BOM)


18 Comments on “Watching Winston’s Waves

  1. as I was saying : ) … apparently two people were washed off the rock yesterday and one was hurt. Your dad was absolutely correct. We forget to respect the power of nature at our peril. It’s always exciting to see such enormous swells. I plan to view them from Point Danger in the morning – another wonderful viewing platform.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There was a lot of action at the Alley yesterday morning Robyn. I saw a middle-aged woman stretchered from the beach by the lifeguards. She couldn’t walk and seemed to have quite a few lacerations on her leg. I also saw a couple of close calls with the rushing water. Three twenty-somethings were walking across the alley to the rock and didn’t notice a big swell coming in. They were knocked over and I thought one of the women was going to be swept out. The guy standing in front of me thought so too and rushed out to them, ready to rescue.
      I think some people, through lack of knowledge or experience, underestimate the surge of the waves in their speed and power. Or maybe overestimate their own ability…

      Point Danger in the morning sounds great – you’ll get a birds-eye view of the lines of swell from up there!

      Liked by 1 person

      • You’re on the mark there. I think often its an unawareness that allows these accidents to happen. The swell this morning was amazing. Yes, I did have a great view of the waves marching in from Point Danger.Then I went down to Snapper Rocks. Surfers limbered up on the beach in front of admiring crowds like warriors preparing for battle. Photographers with high powered lens set up at very vantage point. The huge waves were so crowded – like fleas on a dog. Every time there was a wipe-out the crowd voice rose in sympathy. I was exhausted watching it : ) But it was exhilarating even so.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Love your writing, Gail! The introductory paragraph was perfect at setting the scene. I hope you are thinking of writing a book sometime? I adore the sea and miss living by it so very much. Like you though, I respect its power. It can be a place of fun or danger. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hi Gail, I have enjoyed reading your recent posts. Cycling certainly has enriched your life as you have changed pace and appreciate experiences more deeply.

    I loved the video – well done!

    Liked by 1 person

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