Even though I haven’t done a #WaveWatchingWednesday in a looong time, there has of course been a lot of wave watching going on. But the longer I wait with copying all the Instagram posts into a blog post, the more work it gets, the longer I put it off. Vicious circle! But here we go today. Plenty of interesting and plenty of beautiful pics! Enjoy!
Woke up at 4:11 this morning and was AWAKE. So the obvious thing to do is catch the sunrise from the bridge across Kiel canal!
And I was lucky that there was quite a lot going on in the locks already, too!
Look at this beautiful wake! Early morning wave watching is really the best because the light from a shallow angle makes all the wave features stand out beautifully.
Ha — caught the wake reflecting on the side of the canal!
I love early mornings! Another example of wave features that come out really clearly in morning light but that would be really difficult to capture if the sun was higher up already.
Anyway, on to the beach! Aren’t you happy I got up this early?
Maybe I should make people get up for sunrise on my wave watching tour! Would definitely weed out all the people who aren’t 100% dedicated to wave watching. I might end up alone on the beach, but I would probably enjoy that just as much as I enjoyed it this morning!
Definitely a very dramatic sky again!
Yesterday I found tons of fossils on a really short stretch of the beach, so I wanted to see if that was just a fluke. Today, the beach looked very different! Remember how yesterday there was a band with small pebbles all along the water line? Not today! Think of all the fossils that the sea claimed back over night!
Still a lot of stuff to be found today, though. I especially love the non-fossilised fishy at the bottom of the pic below. Isn’t he cute?
But on to wave watching. With only these long waves present, it’s really nice to observe how the wave crests behave as they reach the beach. Below: Breaking, but simultaneously…
…already pulling back. That wave front looks so … unreal?
For your morning meditation, watch the movie below (sound on!)
The peninsula that connects the lighthouse with the beach makes for super interesting wave watching, because the waves on either side of this small strip of sand usually look very different. Today: the far, upwind side is again a lot rougher than the lee side in the foreground.
But also very cool to observe here is how the sand ripples underneath the waves are formed by the wave field.
The picture below was raken right at the edge where, in the picture above, the sand dam meets the lighthouse’s island (you see the reinforced edge of the island at the bottom of the picture) and the ripples clearly show where the beach falls dry in between waves washing over it (smooth, no ripples), where the wave field is mostly regular (regular ripples), and where there is chaos of waves being reflected back and forth (small messy ripples).
Moving on towards the right (away from the dam), ripples get more and more regular. You still see the reinforced edge of the island at the bottom of the picture.
A little further to the right still, and the regular ripples reach all the way to the edge of the island.
And walking a lot further to the right, ripples are long and regular (those are the dark structures — all the messy light structure is the sun ding weird things in the water).
And here is a cool movie of a wake arriving and meeting a shallow stretch. For details of what’s going on there, check yesterday’s post!
And there we have it. Those are the waves that can typically be observed at Falckenstein beach (that is — those are the special ones. Of course we’ll also do all the basics! But as a faithful reader of my blog, I’m sure you know all those already :-))
Had a really early start yesterday (today again, but those pics will come in a separate post :-)) because I wanted to cycle to the beach to prepare a guided wave watching tour that I’ll be running for Ocean Summit later this year.
Quick detour on the way — I never realized what a cool spot this is in Christiansprieß! I will be back! Love the combination of linden trees (very continental in my perception) and the industrial maritime vibe of the docks!
But let’s get on to where we want to go: The beach at Falckenstein is ideal for #WaveWatching newbies!
The lighthouse is on a peninsula, meaning that the waves on the upwind side…
…always look a lot more dramatic than the ones on the lee side.
But even though the wind waves on this side are a lot smaller, this side is by no means boring!
There are very cool things to observe here, too. Let me explain…
When there are no ships, this side is pretty much flat except for small wind waves.
But as soon as a ship passes by and creates a wake, the coolest things happen!
The wake travels towards the beach. So far so not especially exciting. Ship still passing…
BUT! Check out what happens. I’m first filming the wake as it is arriving in the distance and then… (Turn your sound on — suuuper relaxing! :-))
Isn’t it fun how the waves appear as out of nowhere when the water becomes shallow enough for them to feel the sea floor and become steeper?
Remember, those were straight wave crests traveling towards the beach, only they get wrapped around the shallow bit and now two sides of the same wave crest even cross each other’s path!
Love the cool pattern created in this way.
And there are several shallow spots where cool stuff happens. Another one here (again, the wake is arriving in the distance, and then I focus on where the waves are going to do fun things).
How amazing is this? (And look at the shallowest bit, where the ripples in the sand have been wiped away by the waves, whereas in the deeper bits they happily exist!
Again, straight wave crests being wrapped around a shallow bit.
So fascinating how the waves appear out of nowhere and then behave in such a way!
You don’t want to know how many of these pictures and movies I have on my phone, this is really a curated selection ;-)
Ok, one last one of this specific spot. Don’t you just love the pattern that’s just there because the water is really shallow in this one spot?!
Here is another movie. Love it.
Wave crests arrive almost perpendicular to each other, even they were one straight crest just meters further offshore!
This is seriously the last picture of that sort.
Have a regular beach pic to relax ;-)
There was actually something that distracted me from wave watching (and that does not happen easily!). Due to the fairly low water level, a whole band of pebbles was exposed on the beach. Usually I find this beach booooring — just fine sand with some shells on top.
Not today, though!
I really enjoy collecting fossils, and I have never found so many on this beach! Usually I only find one or two per trip there.
What I also noticed today was that there were some shells overgrown with these thingies.
Even though they looked fairly solid, they came off at the lightest touch, so I didn’t end up collecting one of those. But they looked cool!
Yep, perfect day at the beach!
Oh, you thought I was done wave watching? Here is an interesting spot as seen from the lighthouse (see my shadow at the bottom of the picture). Another shallow spot that bends waves as they arrive, ending up in waves crossing each other.
And here is a video of what that looks like in motion:
And from the lighthouse island, you can see more cool wave pattern like this one where one wave field is coming towards us, and another one moving away from us (the wake of a passing ship, actually). Crests from both fields meet at almost a 90 degree angle, creating this zigzag water line.
Also, looking into the water reveals the cutest sand ripple pattern!
…and how the sand ripples get washed out when the water becomes too shallow and waves lap over them constantly. (Poor stranded jellyfish!)
There were SO MANY JELLYFISH!
Here is another view down from the lighthouse, showing how waves lapping on the concrete slaps radiate a new wave field.
And this I just thought looked cool.
Anyway, time to go home! Can you spot the lighthouse and the Oslo ferry in the background? (Obviously, the picture was taken for the nice wake in the foreground ;-))
Beautiful morning arriving back in Kiel… Looking downwind, the weather might seem pleasant (especially when focussing on the sunrise).
But looking upwind however, the wind rows on the water as well as the white caps on the waves indicate that it’s quite windy!
Very cool: the turbulent wake of a ship interrupts the wave field and therefore, with its different surface roughness, is clearly visible!
And below you see so many things: The sand bank running from the lighthouse towards the next headland becomes visible as waves are breaking on it. The turbulent wake of that blue ship we saw above already is still clearly visible, as is its V-shaped wake. And you see our own wake as the feathery pattern that runs all the way from the bottom edge of the picture to way behind the blue ship!
And here our own wake becomes even more prominent as we turn. Laboe in the background…
Here is another ship, waiting to enter the locks of the Kiel canal. It’s moving only very slowly (so hardly any wake visible), but you see how it’s sheltering the water from the wind so the downwind water appears completely smooth right at the ship!
And here are some more wakes and sheltered spots of water surfaces. Locks of the Kiel canal in the background!
And another look at the locks. Do you notice how the wind rows still indicate that it’s quite windy, but how it’s a lot less windy than it was further out?
And then we are in the Kiel fjord. This is the upwind shore — see how waves are only slowly forming and building up with longer and longer fetch?
And then in the sheltered port a different kind of waves: Our bow propellers mixing the inner Kiel fjord!