Storm Freya

Updated: Mar 1, 2020

South-westerly wind, with gusts up to 70 miles per hour. The wind, although not cold, is strong and it is a challenge to walk against it. Any hedge or rock is a momentary blessing of shelter from it’s constant barrage of noise and strength. The sunshine fleets bright and dim as the pale grey clouds scud along at great speed. As I walk along the coast at the base of Samson Hill, past the boat yard, the wind howls through the trees and clatters and clangs the halyards in the boat rigging. Small white topped waves are flurried and scurried up the channel between Bryher and Tresco. A large group of oystercatchers take shelter on a small rocky beach, peep peeping in the sun. All of a sudden, as if caught on a gust of wind, they rise in unison and fly out to sea. Swooping and skimming over the turbulant greeny grey water, little flashes of black, white and orange. My towel smacks around my bare legs and I cling tightly to it to prevent it blowing away completely. I reach Rushy Bay, the smell of salt and seaweed so strong I can taste it. This perfect little beach of golden sand, banked by rushy, green dunes, is taking the full force of Storm Freya as she pounds the western side of our tiny island. I find it a battle to reach the beach, down the narrow sandy path. The sand stings my skin like a thousand pricking needles and blasts my eyes. The beach has a luna-like landscape, sand blown so hard, little dunes and drifts are created behind anything strong enough to withstand the wind. The icy green sea rolls in with a roaring force, frothy white foam runs onto the pale sand. The uninhabited islands of Samson, White island and the Western rocks are barely visable in the sea spray and glinting sun. Further around to the west, the towering granite rocks of Castle Bryher, Illiswilgig and Maidenbower are almost submerged in ferocious, crashing seas. As I scamper down through the swirling sand, I am faced with the awesome sight of the sea raging, I hold my breath as I edge myself in. The waves hit my goosebump covered skin but I don’t feel the cold, my adrenaline is running. I sink down into the waves and immediatly they sweep me up into a surge of glassy blue water and creamy froth, racing me back to the beach. I feel the sand grind onto my knees and tops of my feet like abrasive sandpaper as I try to find my footing again. I breaststroke back out into the deeper water and again I’m sucked back up into the wave. I whoop, shriek and giggle, the overwhelming sense of exhilaration fills my body and I am drunk and giddy on it. Back and forth I am pushed this way and that, a large wave crashes over my head filling my nostrils and mouth with cold saline. For a moment my whole world is a whirling wash of blue and silver. I go with the wave and am spat out into the sandy shallows. I leave the sea to rage behind me feeling totally invigorated.

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