Wind Waves

Wind affects my experience on the outer shores.  A strong north wind is usually chilly enough to make things uncomfortable. A south wind is usually warmer but can still put a lot of sand in your hair. Any strong wind except an east wind will fog your glasses with sea spray. Wind also generates surface waves called wind waves. Wind waves and swell both contribute to how rough or gentle the seas are.


The angler in the photo above is contending with 7′ swell, 6′ wind waves and a stiff east wind. In the photo below, swell is similar but the wind waves are only 2′. Thus, the overall feel is different.


Wind waves can be huge during and just after storms. Outside of stormy periods wind waves are usually between 1′ and 6′.  There are plenty of other factors that influence what it feels like on the outer shores.  The main things I’m usually thinking about are tide, swing, swell, period (time between swells) and wind waves.

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