A stormy sea front walk.

31 October 2019 – St Leonards.

I had arranged to meet the electrician at the flat on Friday. After trying to secure a date for him to do quite a list of small tasks, I reduced the list just one urgent thing, install a Hive central heating controller. The Hive allows me to turn on the heating remotely using my phone. I need this, the flat is cold now that autumn has sent in. We want to spend some winter time here, planning to do Christmas, and the last thing we want is to turn up of an evening and have a freezing cold flat. It works well, I love technology. Sometimes!

I came down on the train after work on Thursday, it was a nice night so I walked the 30 minutes to Hastings old town. There was a day of the dead thing happening, but it didn’t happen too much in front of me; and I was not engaged enough to get any decent photos. At least there was something happening though, good signs for a healthy nightlife in a fairly deprived coastal town.

I did take a few photos in Bottle Alley as I walked there and back home again.

I worked from the flat on Friday, I get a lot done when I am working here, no distractions, and importantly I am close to coffee and the stereo. It was a very productive day. I will do more of them. I walked down to the supermarket at lunch time, via St Leonards Park, which is round the corner from the flat and is a scenic and largely car free way to get to the seafront.

I have started working on a photo project to document the ever shifting beach along this stretch between St Leonards and Hastings. Every time I walk along here it is somehow different. I love how the beach furniture is slowly disappearing into the stones. It was not the best of days, a good one to be working inside.

On Saturday I was returning to London, the weather was really bad, with high winds and at times horizontal rain. High tide was as at 14:30 and looked to be a big one soI decided to stay until then and get down to the sea front and try and get some photos of the sea crashing on the wall. I also wanted to finally get to see what the sea is like is when it strong enough to push stones over the lower boardwalk. My original plan was to walk to the station via the sea front, but as high tide approached the rain was very heavy and I did not fancy 90 minutes on the train soaking wet. I just went for a walk instead. I got soaked.

The sea was pretty wild, the wind was howling, probably one of the strongest I have experienced. I walked down to the beach straight down the hill from the flat, near the Azure bar. There are often stones on the path here, so it was a place to see some of the waves coming right up the beach.

Almost immediately I was experiencing the waves, luckily they were quite slow and I did not get sea wet, though I did have to make a few sudden runs to jump onto a seat or step. I did get very rain wet though. Less fun, but just as cold.

I see how the stones get there now…

I walked along to Goat Ledge Cafe, which was open and had a few visitors. I took a warming coffee, though I was tempted to sit with a glass of red and watch the sea through the window, but I was pretty wet and didn’t want to sit down for long. There were a surprising number of people out considering the conditions. Though I guess they were so bad that they were almost good.

Leaving Goat Ledge I walked to the nearby shelter of Bottle Alley, the wind was blasting through but at least I was free of the rain.

I stopped to take photos in one of the bays, and BOOM, a massive wave burst against the side, I was leaping back and snapping the shutter at the same time, expecting to get a complete drenching. Not the best quality photo but the timing was good!

What actually came through was a mere trickle of the wall of water that hit sea wall. Luckily.

Thankfully I stayed completely untouched, though it was a good reminder of how strong and unpredictable the sea can be. I waited for a few minutes to see if another boomer came though, before walking along to the pier end of Bottle Alley. I wanted to get a bit closer as waves were breaking over the end of the pier.

Annoyingly I only had a 20mm lens on the GX800, the effective equivalent of the 50mm on the big camera. Not the best for close up photography when it comes to wild seas, but good enough for the closer images.

I was hoping to get some shots of the sea breaking onto the sea wall at the end of the pier. The beach is really close to the wall at this point, so I was expecting some decent wave action, and I was not disappointed at all.

There were a few others taking photos, or just watching this magnificent wind blown sea crashing on to the land, none of us get wet when this wave came to say hello, much closer than the last one!

I was wiser after that one, so the next was less of a surprise for me.

I have taken a number of photos using the pillars of Bottle Alley as a frame, today was such a good day to use them to show off that lovely wild sea.

It was getting to be time to go home, it had stopped raining, so worth taking the walk back to the flat, get changed and get back to the station before the next wave of heavy, cold and horizontal rain arrived.

I walked back along the front, the path was reasonably dry in most places, but past the slight bend in the beach just before Azure it was really wet, ankle deep in parts and I was lucky to avoid wet feet, finally giving up and taking some steps to the upper boardwalk.

Now knowing what the sea looks like when the beach stones are pushed up on the path, and seeing another wall of rain coming, I turned up the hill and walked home. Missing the downpour by seconds.

It was fabulous out there today!

I have since bought a replacement big camera. Finally acknowledging to myself the Canon 5d was an absolute gem. After two years of thinking about upgrading the mk1, and 6 months since I dropped it, I have now picked up a second hand Mk2. No way could I afford the £2400 Mk5!

I am looking forward to using it.