Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Windy Day, Frothing Sea

Longboat Key is a barrier island.

"Barrier islands are coastal landforms and a type of dune system that are exceptionally flat or lumpy areas of sand that form by wave and tidal action parallel to the mainland coast. They usually occur in chains, consisting of anything from a few islands to more than a dozen."

Though the barrier islands protect the mainland from erosion and storms, they likewise absorb the initial cause with the result that winds and wave actions are at times violent. Longboat Key is more susceptible to changing weather patterns than many other similar coastal landforms. It is for example considerably smaller (narrower) and further from the coast than Hilton Head Island, Tybee Island, St. Helena Island, St. Simons Island, Jekyll Island or Amelia Island.  It is irrelevant for my purpose that a "key" is sediment atop a coral reef and that an "island" is formed by volcanic action or part of a continental plate. What matters is that these slivers of land are in direct line of weather and tidal conditions.

Being on the frontline of attack from the sea affords exposure to more than mere wind and waves. There are the unique and unmistakeable sounds that go with it! The sand on the beach hisses; the fronds of the palm trees rustle wildly; the force of the wind through every stationary object (beach chairs and umbrellas, grape seed bushes, buildings) just howls. The combined heat of the sun and the cutting edges of the wind make one's skin tingle! Sitting on the beach on a windy day beside the frothing sea is a singular event!

It was such an event today which energized me.  I could not long resist the urge to go into the sea to confront the crashing waves, to be part of the noise and the commotion, to dive below the surface, to "salinate" and rejuvenate! Nothing cleanses and revitalizes like the frothing sea! The strong southerly wind carried me along the coast more quickly than I reckoned; and swimming back in line with my chaise longue on the beach was a dedicated effort. Getting out of the water afterwards also challenged me, buffeted by the large waves and powerful tide waters. But so worth it!

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