16 April 2018

Mon., Apr. 16, 2018 - Terrifying reminder!

St. Peter's Pool
St. Peter's Pool.  A sight to behold with swells crashing in from yesterday's storm.
We hiked to a lovely cove with rock descending to the water in shelves.  It was the place to be to see the enormous rollers crashing in and many people - stuck indoors as we were yesterday in the storm - were coming for the thrilling view.

Just as we came upon the cove at the top of the cliff, we saw a woman on the bottom most shelf hit by crashing surf and swept into the cold water.  It was absolutely terrifying!  We could do nothing being about 60 meters above sea level.  Even those closest to the woman were also helpless being kept from the shoreline by the tumultuous water.  All around the cove people were riveted to the scene in horror.

Now this is not an average cove.  There is no soft sand beach.  Only rock.  At the bottom of the cove the rock has been hollowed out so that the water sweeps into an underwater cave with the ledge hanging over it.  Luckily, the woman had not fallen there but just outside where it widens to about 20 meters but is still surrounded by sharp rock cliffs.  The eddies and current seemed to keep her out of the worst.  But she was being pummelled by huge breakers, being swept back and forth with the surf, perilously close to the rocky cliffs.
The woman in the centre of the bay was attempting to make her way to closer side.  It was a slow and painful 10 minutes of inching forward, swept back.  Awful!

Swells come in groups of increasing height and then subside a bit.  Between the largest she was slowly able to swim away from the cliff and gradually make her way to a jagged lower area.  Brave people formed a chain to haul her out.  Just as her feet had planted on the submerged rock, another of the larger swells pounded the rock.  She and her live chain were soaked but still somehow stayed secure.  One last haul brought the woman to safety.  Just in time as the swells continued to increase.
Safe!  She had been swept off the far side where the ledge in this picture is dripping like a waterfall after another huge swell came in.

It was terrifying to say the least!  The woman's legs gave out several times as she made her way to a dry spot but she seemed otherwise physically fine.  She was very, very lucky!

A horrible reminder of the power of the sea!

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