12 September 2010

Day 169: The Wave

The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks, and Giants of the Ocean by Susan Casey.  ISBN: 9780767928847 (Bound Galley).

I might have been six.  It was an overcast day, chilly, but not too cold.  One of those California days where a windbreaker isn't a bad idea, and it was the early 90's or late 80's when windbreakers were "cool."  The entire family was out on the beach for the day, probably in addition to a trip to one of the more interesting coastal towns.

I was wading in the water, enjoying the feel of fine sand between my toes, and the push and pull of the water.  I looked back to watch my family walk further up the beach, away from the surf.  My dad cupped his hand around his mouth and yelled at me,

"Don't turn your back on the ocean."

And as I turn around, a wave knocks me off my feet and takes me out to sea.  I felt it suck me back as I gulped sea water, my eyes burning from the salt.  My head broke the surface some seconds later and I coughed the water back out and tried to orient myself before the wave pushed me back under.  I was actually more calm under the water than above.  Underneath I knew the wave would have its way with me, and there was not much I could do but wait for my next breath.  The calm I felt was uncanny, as if it would be okay if I just let go and let the ocean have me.  The wave finally let me go, pushing me out of the surf and onto the sandy beach.  I scrambled up before another wave could take me.  And I never turned my back again.

But it wasn't the last time the ocean tossed me around like a toy.  Read more tomorrow.

This is a good overview of what's in the book, if not an actual review.


  1. I'm reading this one right now, and so far I'm loving it!

  2. If that had been me, I would've been panicking, for sure. I've never been much for swimming, and being out in the ocean by itself would be a nightmare, let alone being dragged under.

    I can't wait to find out what happens tomorrow!

  3. Glad you're enjoying it, Trisha. The surfer narrative went on a little long for me, and I thought most of the descriptions of appearance, etc. were a little unnecessary, but Casey definitely has an excellent narrative style. I think the surf stories could have been cut back a little and the back end lost some of the scientific/journalist research and therefore fell a little flat. I actually would have liked the ending to be on a scientific note, but I guess when you spend so much time with surfers you feel obligated to give them the most attention.

    Your body takes over in situations like that. You wouldn't have time to panic, you just react. Being in the ocean is actually something I really enjoy, but there are definitely moments when it's terrifying beyond belief.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...