Up close to cyclonic swells…

Last week Cyclone Oma developed 1200 kilometres off our coast. Slowly she moved in a westerly direction, heading directly for us. She intensified to a category 3. The weather bureau predicted catastrophic winds and destruction if it crossed the coast and made a land fall. People were urged to make preparations. Stock piling sandbags and moving or tying down all outside equipment. The winds intensified, howling and battering everything in its path. Then on the weekend it changed course and started moving North. No longer expected to make landfall or be the catastrophe that had been expected.

But the huge cyclone driven swell surged onto the coast. Waves 5-7 metres high. untitled-8-4_4000x3000

The beaches were closed. But experienced surfers were in their element. They arrived in droves from all over Australia. And the crowds gathered to watch the show.untitled-10-6_4000x3000


I watched as this brave/crazy bloke waved in a jet skiuntitled-1-1_4000x3000The only way to get close up to the waves was to be towed in.untitled-2-2_3762x2822

The video is a bit shaky as it was hard to hold the camera steady against the gale force winds.


Look carefully, in the below photo the jet skier has just dropped off the surfer. That tiny figure is dwarfed by the massive swell

untitled-12-8_2633x1949I took photo after photo, mesmerised by the might and power of Mother Nature. The sound and fury of the waves cannot be truly captured in a photo.untitled-13-1_2805x1986What an adrenalin rush to have that wall of water thundering right behind you.

untitled-9-5_4000x3000An iconic ocean front restaurant, “Oscars”, had just had a million dollar makeover. Renowned for being so close up to the ocean, but in these conditions that is too close.untitled-3-3 copy_2714x1999

It will be a while before meals are served here again.

Today the wind continues to blow 50-70 kilometres per hour. But, unfortunately it has delivered only 2mm of rain. In 2 days time we fly to New Zealand. It looks like being a bumpy ride…


Leya has given us “close-up” for the “len’s-artist photo challenge this week. This is my interpretation of it….


  1. I hope your flights aren’t too bumpy, Pauline. There was a lot of talk about what the cyclone might bring us. In our part of the island we got some much needed rain but nothing like the swells you’ve had, despite the King tides. Have a wonderful time here in NZ!

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  2. Thank you for an opportunity to get closer to such waves, to hear the sound and to see the daredevils…Excellent shots, but I would never have ventured out in those waves…Glad you did not take the challenge far too seriously, Pauline! It was beautiful enough like this. Wishing you a lovely trip to NZ!

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  3. Maybe it is my age, but I have to wonder why when the beaches have been closed for safety reasons, these people go out and risk not only their own lives, but those of the people who would be called in to rescue them. And what happened to the guy who hitched a ride, behind the jet ski? How on earth did he hold on in those waves? So easy for accidents to happen. Good filming though and I imagine it was wonderful to watch the waves – our storms are most often in winter so too cold for me to go wave watching!

    Hope the flight isn’t too bad! I hate turbulence on aircraft when your stomach suddenly swoops 😦

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    • There are some crazy thrill seekers and yes they do put the life savers at risk too. The authorities have been pleading on tv with everyone to keep away, but of course they don’t, mainly young males. One 27 year old has been killed. Did you notice there were 2 on that jet ski in the video? there were dozens of the jet skis out there towing the surfers out to catch the waves. I guess they have to hang on tight… It was quite a show to watch from the safety of the shore.

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  4. I love the photo of the watchers silhouetted against the sky with their long shadows stretched out. It has been windy here for a week, but no rain.

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  5. Oh my Pauline – so glad you were spared a direct hit. Mother Nature can be quite fierce can’t she? Last year we had a similar fright but the storm moved north. Unfortunately it decimated the NC coast. Great photos but so hard to show the size of the massive waves. Crazy surfers!!!

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  6. Those are some serious waves all right! You did a fine job with the camera, both with stills and the video. Too bad about the restaurant. That’s one of the risks when you build right along the coast, whether ocean, lake, or river. Enjoy your trip to NZ.


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