The tattered remains of Hurricane Ophelia blew in to the southwest of England yesterday, starting with the most ominous and eerie light in the morning. I have never felt so oppressed being on the beach before – the darkness was like dawn even at 10am, and the sky had a yellow cast, which we later learnt was from Sahara dust and Iberian wildfire smoke.
I left the beach before the wind really got up, but the next day (today), Ophelia* had largely reshaped the strand, with sheets of hard-packed sand and grit neatly arranged over the scoured wave platform. She had stirred up the sediments and released her treasures for us to find – lots of “tears”, some unusually coloured glass, a blue marble, lots of wreckage and wrack – and perhaps most interesting of all, the remains of many Portuguese men-o-war, like sad post-party balloons along the high-tide berm. There have been mass strandings this year – the first I’ve ever seen in the 30+ year’s I’ve been here.
* Ophelia is the name of a decaying hurricane. A name I think of à la Millais linked to a tranquil watery end is now spoilt, thanks to whoever named it. Ironically, a brewing storm waiting in the wings is Brian – with altogether different and humorous associations 🙂
A friend pointed me at the web site showing the wind and waves – it is both beautiful and useful. Thank you, Earth!