Tag: coastal

  • Story: Wave Runners

    Everyone has a story of something they did once upon a time, which, in retrospect, was probably not a good idea. This is one such tale.

    Flashback to the 1990’s. At that time, I was splitting an apartment in Grand Rapids, Michigan, with a friend named Ralph, who also enjoyed outdoor challenges. As such, every now and then, when the weather turned foul, we’d telephone a wave report recording, which detailed conditions present on Lake Michigan.

    One stormy summer day, this report cited waves near Holland, Michigan, as high as 8-12 feet, including a stern recommendation to avoid coastal areas. Well, that was exactly what we were hoping to hear, and so quickly jumped into the car on a road trip to the south pier, demarcating the channel between Lake Michigan and Lake Macatawa. Thirty minutes later, we parked and continued our trek on foot through strong winds and rain, toward the pier.

    This was a big storm, as whitecap waves crashed up and down the beach, surging far inland along the coastline. As we approached, it became apparent that roughly 20% of the pier was engulfed in waves at any given moment. This observation should’ve served as an omen not to proceed…

    However, after an extensive discussion it was decided that, though obviously dangerous, our individual attributes of bravery, keen sense of observation and quick reactions, respectively, were sufficient to undertake the challenge: which was, to see who could traverse farthest along the pier?

    Note: digital cameras didn’t exist on the market at that time, but I’ve included a few photographs taken many years later, which show the coastal landscape and piers:

    Relative to the second image – which is actually an aspect of the other pier, to the north – the storm we faced was significantly stronger and with much larger waves. In point of fact, unlike the common and predictably wind-driven pattern of waves rolling in uniform rows, what we encountered was less organized and wild, with waves crashing from both the front and side directions.

    Painted blue, bollards were positioned along the length of each pier. Were the situation to present itself where either one of us was unable to elude an oncoming wave, my friend suggested that the best course of action was to drop down onto the pier and secure oneself by clutching on to a bollard for safety.

    And so began the challenge.

    This endeavor was as difficult as it was foolish, as waves broke across the pier at essentially random intervals, all the time of which my eyes were glued on the water. Movement entailed both quick footsteps and brief sprints, scrambling on the concrete both forward and backwards in order to safely create space between potentially hazardous waves. It was a major adrenaline rush, to say the least.

    I’d estimate that I was approximately 50-60% of the way out on the pier when it happened. I glanced back to check on my friend, only to see Ralph hunkered down and clinging for dear life to a bollard…as he was swept away by a huge wave, washing him over the other side of the pier toward the channel, down into the rocks.

    I immediately moved back toward where he was, all the while watching over my shoulder to remain cognizant of approaching waves. From a distance of 15-feet away, I spotted Ralph among the rocks with only his head visible above water, and without a stronghold for safety. Glancing back once more, I then saw him suddenly disappear into a trough of shifting waters, sinking an estimated 5-feet among the rocks and vanishing, out of sight. There was nothing I could do to help him.

    Then, only seconds later, the water crested, lifting Ralph up and out of that den of death, tossing him like driftwood on to the rocks, where he latched-on and was able to dash up the incline to the top of the pier.

    We hightailed it back to shore as quickly as possible, never again to challenge such a storm as was experienced on that day.

  • Vintage Beach Scene

    Vintage Beach Scene

    This old photograph features a beach and lighthouse on Lake Superior in the Upper Peninsula – Marquette, Michigan – which was formerly referred to as “Michigan Beach”. It’s a beautiful area, though somewhat cold (note the absence of people actually in the water). You can see prints and more in my galleries at Pixels and ArtPal.

    Thanks for visiting!

  • Little Presque Isle

    Little Presque Isle

    This vintage photograph was taken from the top of Sugarloaf Mountain in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, near Marquette, and features a Lake Superior coastline with Little Presque Isle in the distance. Prints and more available. Thanks for visiting!

  • Vintage Lake Michigan

    Vintage Lake Michigan

    Enjoy this old photograph featuring waves and clouds rolling along a sandy beach of western Michigan, at Lake Michigan in Holland. This picture would make a wonderful accent piece in your home or office, and can be purchased through my galleries at Pixels and ArtPal. So, check it out, and thanks for stopping by!

  • Lake Superior

    Lake Superior

    This vintage photograph of Lake Superior features a rocky shoreline at Little Presque Isle – located near the city of Marquette, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. You can discover a variety of gift and apparel items with this image, in the following shops:

  • Big Air

    Big Air

    Enjoy this vintage photograph featuring an extreme sport jet-skier catching big air on the waves of Lake Michigan. You can find a variety of cool products available as gifts and apparel in my shops, here:

  • Vintage Lighthouse

    Vintage Lighthouse

    Located on the shores of Lake Superior in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, in the city of Marquette, this vintage photograph features a now automated Coast Guard lighthouse.

    Growing up as a child, I lived only three blocks away and spent countless hours on this beach – formerly referred to as Michigan Beach (now, McCarty’s Cove).

    This picture is available on several wonderful products in the following shops – check it out:

    Hope to see you soon!

  • Lake Michigan

    Lake Michigan

    Step back in time to the sandy shores of yesteryear, on a windy autumn day at Lake Michigan. This vintage photograph was taken at the Holland State Park (Holland, Michigan) and is available on a variety of cool products in the following shops:

  • Waves of Reflection

    Waves of Reflection

    This photograph of the Atlantic Ocean was taken from Miami Beach, Florida, with added geometric circles, shadows and a lime color overlay. It’s available of products via Society 6, Redbubble & Pixels.

  • Sea And Sands of Brazil

    This colorful, contemporary abstract artwork features a green, blue and golden color palette, and is based on an aerial photograph of coastal beaches in Brazil. There are prints available in a variety of formats – such as framed, canvas, art, poster, metal, acrylic, wood and tapestry. Other items to select, also. Stop by and discover your next decorative piece!

  • Beach At Sunset

    Enjoy this colorful digital art rendition of a couple walking along a beach at sunset. Based on a photograph, it’s available on a variety of different print types – and other items, too – in my gallery at Pixels. Thanks for visiting!

  • Gitche Gumee

    The Big Lake