I fell asleep last night with the voice of the BBC weatherman telling me that south and west Wales were experiencing strong winds with gusts of up to 80mph, with many households losing electricity thanks to trees taking out the power lines. Next morning, just as I was about to embark on my Happy Sunday Morning Toast, the phone rang. It was someone from the Harbour committee. When the harbour committee phone you after a night of strong winds you tend to assume the worst! We’d only recently moved our boat from its summer home on the local beach over to the shelter of the harbour for the winter. A couple of the old-timers warned us that even the very sheltered beach in the harbour occasionally experienced a combination of wind and tide that led to extensive damage to boats left there. They talked in terms of every 20 years or so, and we sort of shrugged it off. Well, a warning shot has been fired across our bows, so to speak!

boat fallen off trailer

Happily for us, the only thing that had happened was that the dinghy had floated free of the trailer. We checked, there was no damage at all to the hull, and we quickly had her lifted back into place and firmly tied down. Something we should have done before, but we thought we had time – this area very very rarely sees water come all the way up to the top of the beach.

snug boat

The boat cover has a small tear in it that we will need to repair, but otherwise we got off very lightly. The guy from the harbour committee who popped over to check that we were OK and didn’t need any help pointed at a boat further along:

not so lucky boats

Not the small half-drowned dinghy, though that is a bit of a nightmare for whoever owns her. The larger yellow boat. It isn’t meant to be on the beach, you see. She has a mooring in the middle of the harbour. Some small, unnoticed fault in the mooring line meant that the strain of the storm force winds and big waves that set the harbour waters boiling last night snapped her free of her mooring and dumped her, unceremoniously, on the beach. Our friend from the harbour committee and a couple of other men well used to boats and storms etc. were down at the harbour at gone 10pm last night doing their best to limit the damage and warn boat owners. They rescued the large and expensive outboard from the back of this boat – I dread to think what that must have been like, in the relative dark (the harbour does have some flood lights), with the sea boiling up around them. We were told they hadn’t seen it that bad since 1991!

I think we get used to the relative calm provided by the protection of the main harbour wall and the associated breakwater.

spot-the-difference

You can see in the photo above how smooth the harbour waters are compared to the more open area on the big beach.

contrasts

The ’91 storms led to the whole wall around the big beach being rebuilt, to offer more protection to the land and properties behind it. We were down there this morning, not long after high tide, and the waves were still breaking over the wall occasionally.

breaking waves caught in sunlight

spray and seagull

waves through the walkway gap

The gap in the wall you can see in that last photo is one of many that puncture the protection around the beach, all of which get boarded up during the winter months bar this first one. Walking back home I could see the sand and seaweed dumped on the pavement by the wall that divides the road from Little Beach, the beach that lies at the foot of our road, that we can see from our house and front garden. All in all a very timely reminder of the power of the sea, and what happens when storms arrive from exactly the wrong direction, combining with high Spring tides. The coast of Anglesey is littered with the wrecks of boats, large and small, that have foundered on these shores over the past few centuries. I hope this is as bad as it gets for us. A boat tumbled from its trailer and, on returning home, the discovery that I have yet more fencing to do.

broken fence by oil tank

The fence that partially conceals our oil tank has finally collapsed. No damage, and an opportunity to construct something sturdier, and higher. Something that will accommodate a couple of climbers. An opportunity.

40 thoughts on “After the Storm

  1. I’m glad you didn;t suffer too much damage. I bet it was quite a dramatic time, WE had strong winds last night but peanuts compared to what you experienced.

    1. Thanks Sue, me too!! Also very glad the acer is tucked away in the back garden, still a chance of some Autumn colour!

  2. We got the tail end of the storm last night here in Malvern not as bad as where you are but blowy enough for me, and lots of small branches down from the willow tree. glad your boat was OK

    1. Glad it wasn’t too bad down your way Helen, willows seem to shed branches a tad easily for my liking. Someone planted half a dozen in the corner of the park next to our house. They aren’t pollarded and are now much taller than our roofline. A branch came down last year in a storm and lay neatly balanced on our fence! I should ask them to cut them back…

  3. Relieved to read that you, garden and boat are ok Janet although sadly not such good news for other folk. As you say a timely reminder of the power of the sea :( It was very windy here last night too – much more so last weekend’s storm but fortunately no damage. Hail too – the year is definitely now heading in the direction of winter.

    1. Hi Anna, yes, it could have been so very much worse. Hail though! Wow, it was noticeably cooler here today but nothing like that. Yet.

  4. You have a good attitude to see an opportunity in the damage. Glad that you boat was not seriously hurt. Water can be a very powerful force. I used to live near the ocean, and it was easy to forget sometimes how dangerous storms can be. Glad you’re o.k.!

    1. Hi Holley, we were delighted that the boat wasn’t damaged, we were very lucky. Interesting to see how surprised the people who have lived here for years were about it having such a powerful effect, made us feel a tad less daft for underestimating the conditions.

  5. Janet glad you are alright and not too much damage, I think the problem lies in the fact that it doesn’t happen often, here you just do not leave things untied, even in summer when I finish gardening before going in I check I have not left anything loose or out that can be put away, so it just becomes habit to prepare for the worst, hope no one suffered damage to their home, take care, Frances

    1. Hi Frances, I think that’s exactly right, it is too unusual for us to have got into the habit of tying everything down securely. I learnt the hard way to prop the greenhouse door shut with a brick to stop the wind sliding it open, we lost several panes of glass last year, not long after we moved here.

  6. Thank goodness that you only suffered minimally. The combination of high winds and strong tides can cause so much damage. xx

    1. Hi Flighty, yes, we were really lucky, and were able to just enjoy the wildness of the waves this morning. Others have not been as fortunate.

  7. The storm yesterday, for us, was worse than Jude last weekend. I was working in the greenhouse until the glass rattling in the frame made me doubt the wisdom. A small branch of a beech tree came down a few feet away and many more leaves. Glad the dinghy is OK, the waves look dramatic!

    1. Hi Jessica. I think it was that way for loads of people, and yesterday’s storms recieved a fraction of the media coverage. Go figure. Glad you didn’t get caught out in your greenhouse, could be really nasty if a branch smashed in to it while you were inside. Mind you, one of my favourite things when I lived on the other side of the island a few years ago was gardening in the polytunnel in a storm. Hearing it howl around outside while I was safe and warm and dry inside was magical.

  8. Glad you and your boat are OK. We forget the power of the sea (and water in all its forms) at our peril. Today is windy here, after so many calm days, the walnuts have now lost the majority of their leaves but the mulberry hangs on. Your garden though, is quite protected?

    1. Hi Christina. The sea has a way of reminding us that we are dumb to ignore her power! Shame about your walnuts. Most of our back garden is nicely sheltered from all but the worst of the south westerlies, as witnessed by the fact that the acer has hung on to all her slowly colouring leaves. So far… The front garden is sheltered to some extent because our house is hunkered down a little and doesn’t bare the brunt of the northerlies that cause the most damage, but it is still pretty exposed. I may even have to stake the very young trees I hope to order for it today, something I generally avoid nowadays as I think they establish better with a little wind to help them put out stabilising roots.

  9. Hi Janet. Didn’t realise there were more storms your way. Glad the damage was minimal and you can now use the opportunity to plant something new! Do you have trouble with sea salt in the air? I’ve heard that some seaside gardeners can’t grow certain plants because of that.

    1. Hi Cathy, I have tended to try to pick plants for the front garden known to be salt tolerant – and wind tolerant! Fortunately plenty to choose from, but I am still very much learning, only been here 15 months!

  10. Hi – we were buffeted by the wind on our afternoon out on Saturday but It wasn’t till the next day that I realised that parts of Wales had caught a storm which we must have just been on the fringe of. Like everybody else I am glad that all was relatively OK with you – and it’s good to hear of the community spirit in action. It’s a timely reminder indeed.

    1. Hi Cathy, it as really nice to realise that so much help was available. Boaty people do tend to be that way in my experience, but even so, it was heart-warming.

  11. Glad the damage was minimal. We have had storms here too but although there have been trees down throughout the country our garden was left unscathed and no boats thrown onto our nearest beach – has happened in the past. I think the warnings in advance helped a lot.

    1. Hi Esther, glad to hear you didn’t get any damage, there wasn’t much warning about this particular storm up this way, everyone seemed very surprised by how violently it hit the harbour, but elsewhere very few signs of damage. It was MUCH worse in south Wales.

  12. That harbor wall is definitely an asset to the community! I’m glad you didn’t have too much damage, and your attitude about it all is quite refreshing. Thanks for taking us on a tour of the neighborhood!

    1. It certainly is an asset! And hopefully won’t collapse on our boat as an oldtimer suggested it might today!!

  13. Glad to hear that you and your boat are ok and survived the weekend. Nature has a way of reminding us that she is a force to be reckoned with. I’m not sure how Devon fared over the weekend, we escaped to London where it was beautifully sunny all the time we were there, but a horrendous drive home on Sunday night.

    1. Hi Pauline, sounds as if you timed your trip to London perfectly! That drive is usually a total pig though, isn’t it. A distinct Autumn chill in the air today, and down to 2C in the greenhouse last night, so I think winter is on its way.

  14. We had stormy weather too. Considering the coverage the previous week’s storm got this one seemed to come out of the blue. No damage here. Glad to see your boat was OK. I do love being by the sea with a bit of a storm going on. But only if people are safe. There is something wonderful for me seeing the power of the sea. Scary too. My dad’s side of the family come from a Cornish fishing village. They were all mackerel fisherman or in the merchant navy. Maybe that’s why I crave being by the sea so much. :) Bad weather does have a tendency to weed out those bits of our gardens and houses which need some attention. We lost a fence last year to gales. Hope we aren’t in for a stormy winter.

    1. Yes, I was a little ticked off that the Welsh storm didn’t get the same kind of coverage as Jude – didn’t eve get its own name! I do love storms, we’re lucky, we can sit snug inside and watch the sea boil and the clouds scud to our heart’s content! When I sailed regularly I loved it on really blowy days when you could only just keep control, it makes you profoundly aware of what you can, and what you can’t, control. My Mum has always said that the seafarers in her past are the reason she just had to live by the sea – they are in Brixham – I hope you wind up able to wave-watch from your home too one of these days.

  15. Crumbs. Glad that you got away without too much structural damage. The winds raged here too, far more than the supposed storms a week ago, but fortunately to no effect.

    1. Hi Sara, yes, we were lucky, though we got a right telling off by one of the old timers for leaving the boat on the beach at all!! He is full of dire warnings of the harbour wall collapsing on it… Glad you haven’t experienced any damage, lets hope that’s the worst of the storms over?! Just normal gale will do me fine from now on!

  16. You’ve captured some great photos of the aftermath, Janet! I do love a good storm as long as everything is secured and no-one is harmed. My childhood was spent between Cornwall, Yorkshire and the Florida Keys – all known to experience tempestuous weather on a regular basis! Now my parents live on the South Coast, in the lee of the Isle of Wight, but still get huge waves making the sea road impassable on stormy days. The weather is a force of nature not to be under-estimated! I love that you’ve found the silver lining in an opportunity to rebuild a stronger fence, hooray for optimism!

    1. Hi Caro, it as wonderfully dramatic, TNG got a little cross at my tendency to concentrate on wave-watching rather than boat-saving! I know the solent area well, have sailed in some pretty wild winds down there, and the waters off the needles can be spectacular, though I imagine you saw a lot worse out on the Keys, what a wonderful place to have lived. Must measure up for the new oil tank compound fence…

  17. I’m really quite loving your new home by the sea. Such a breathtaking place. Must be awfully nice to walk around and go out on the water – in better weather that is!

    1. Me too! Even in lousy weather it is still always interesting, so constantly changeable (!). Am very lucky!!

  18. I’m glad there wasn’t any damage to your boat and that you kept safe. Although the sea does look wild and beautiful in your photos, I hope there are no more storms for you. I can just imagine the emergency in the harbour and all the fears for those boats.

    1. Thanks Wendy. I’m torn about storms, I’d quite like another couple, just not from that same direction – any other direction and the harbour is nicely sheltered from it all and no damage results! But I do hope there is no more damage to boats this year, one boat in particular is in the process of breaking up, poor thing.

  19. I am glad you made it through the storm relatively unscathed, other than the fence, but you did use the word “opportunity”. I like the attitude.

    1. Hi Les, I am actually getting rather excited about that opportunity. I am trying to work out whether I can move the fence slightly and turn it in to the back wall of a small open store for things like pots and canes. With a green roof. Beause I have always wanted to build one but have never had the right opportunity. So watch this space!

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