Falling at Quansoo.

Across Crab Creek bridge is a short ess of a well-walked path.

Today at path’s end a drift of sand partly fills the notch in the dunes.

We see but a sliver of the sea.

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The object in the upper left is a “high flyer” buoy. They’re used by fishermen to mark nets, longlines, and the start and end of sets of traps. Storms will rip these buoys from their intended locations, and they wash on the the beaches. Someone has place a buoy upright here, perhaps to mark the location of the path.

Step over the sanddrift, go to the shore, and look left, look to the East.

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A gentle northwest breeze means a pleasant beach, as the dunes to our north break the flow of cold air.

And now look to the West.

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In the distance are the constantly eroding cliffs from which much of this sand comes from. Winter waves move sand from beach to offshore bars, concentrating these beds of pebbles on the shore.

And look south, into the Atlantic, into the glare of sun on water.

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Small swells are the only real wave action.

It’s a good day to watch and to photograph waves.

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Each wave, at each moment, is different.

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Their transparent interiors glow, backlit from the low winter sun.

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When two or more waves interact, the structure of the breaking water get more complicated.

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Waves break when the bottom slows the progress of the lower part of the wave. The top part doesn’t slow down, it piles up, and keeps moving ahead. When the underneath part of the wave isn’t there anymore, the top has nowhere to go but down. The wave trips over its feet.

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The broken wave rushes up the beach, and comes after my foot.

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Then over a low crest of sand, the last of the swell flows slowly.

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To a swale, and runs back to sea.

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