Dicing With Death (Again)

avatarThis dicing with death thing is getting to be a habit. If you’re in the British Isles you’ll know all about the gales and high tides and the inevitable effect on the coasts, especially in the west.

We’ve certainly seen and felt the effects here in Jersey. On Friday and Saturday mornings we drove down to St Aubin to see the high tide and the truly impressive swell, even in the relatively sheltered bay. We got very wet both times, with the waves regularly surging over the sea wall and catching us out a few times.

On Sunday, though, we headed to the west coast, already renowned for its surf, even in ‘normal’ conditions. Here, along the ‘five mile’, there is a massive sea wall (built by the Germans during the occupation), that protects the low-lying road, nature reserves and dunes.

It’s also brilliant for sea watching, especially when things get a bit rough.

On Sunday things were very rough indeed, with the tide almost at its highest (we get a 40ft range here), and the waves were crashing into and over the wall along the full length of the bay. There was no need to get too close to get some very good pictures indeed.

But there are a few even better vantage points, on top of the various WW2 bunkers, set a little way behind the wall. One of those gave me a great view down onto the wall and the wild sea. Angry waves were regularly crashing over the wall but they were well below me…

Well, most of them were. I’m not sure if I saw it coming, but for some reason I had moved away from the edge of the bunker roof when a truly massive wave thundered over the sea wall and hit the bunker with almost its full force. With a tremendous roar, tonnes of water was launched into the air…

Gravity being what it is, those tonnes of water were very soon plummeting downwards, exactly where I was standing.

For maybe a second, I was essentially under water. Because it fell almost vertically, the water didn’t knock me over or wash my feet from under me.

Within a second or two, most of it had drained away from where I stood, now drenched to the skin.

No waves had hit that tower in the previous 30 minutes and none did in the rest of the time we were there. That one, though, had I still been standing at the edge of the bunker roof, could have washed me off the roof, onto the sea wall or maybe even over it. I wouldn’t fancy anyone’s chances in that sea, crashing against that wall.

I was being careful, standing where I was, or so I thought. Getting hit by that wave was freakish and funny. It might not have been, though.

As we went back to the car I couldn’t help noticing all the debris – planks of wood, glass bottles, plastic crates, rocks – that the wild sea had tossed over the wall in the last few days. If any of that had hit me I probably wouldn’t be writing this now.

No marketing message today, except that if you’ve read this far I will hopefully have shown the value of telling a story.

And that life is a balance between risk and risk aversion, seeking experiences and staying safe. I think life should be an adventure, but it’s a good idea to make it last as long as you can!


PS. I’m taking a risk with my new prices, although it’s a calculated one, with little risk on my part. Assuming, that is, I don’t get hit by a freak wave…

PPS. Why do we tell stories? Well, it goes back to prehistory, when story telling was a communal affair, building bonds within the group, sharing ideas, thoughts and mythologies. Specifically, it’s about you getting to know me a bit better, for better or worse, by finding out more about what interests and amuses me. If we’re a good fit, you’ll be getting a clearer idea about that.

If not, you might just wander off…