Friday, March 02, 2012

It's Not Only Hurricanes

Hurricanes get a lot of attention here. And rightly so. But there is another natural phenomenon that occurs that hardly ever gets mentioned. Maybe because, thankfully, they do not happen very often.

I'm talking about waterspouts. Which are actually tornadoes over the water. They have been known to come ashore and do devasting damage. Several years back one went ashore at Lake Chapala and caused a lot of damage.

I always get a little nervous when we spot them. Unlike a hurricane, there is just no way to prepare for them. On this particular day, we saw six of them develop and disappear quite close to shore. The one pictured above actually got so close that we could see the funnel spinning. It was just a bit scary.

I remember back in the '90's, while a tourist here, that one came ashore. We were not on the beach at the time, having left about 30 minutes earlier for lunch. Thank goodness. I clearly remember the powerful wind and rain that came with it. We had no idea of what was happening. It was quiet and sunny one minute and all Hell broke loose the next. We found out later that there had been several of them that day and they did cost the lives of several fishermen. We were here and saw the funeral procession. A very sad day.

If you have visited the island, you have no doubt seen the statue at the end of the road across from Jax's Restaurant. It is a fisherman with a net, a woman and, I believe, a shark. No idea why the shark is there. Anyway, this statue was commissioned to commerate that day that the fishermen were lost at sea to the water spout.

My advice to you, if you are here, sitting on the beach, and see one of these things on the horizon, is to run! Take shelter and don't stand there stupidly taking pictures of it. I was fairly safe because I was on my porch and could retreat quickly back into my house. You won't be so lucky if you are on the beach and one comes ashore.


Marc Olson said...

Interesting pictures. I have a similar photo taken in Querétaro several years ago. At the time I thought that it was a funnel cloud, but wasn't sure, because the actual tornado was a little less developed than this one. However now after seeing these I am sure that's what it was.

Life's a Beach! said...

Very interesting. I didn't know the story behind the fisherman's sculpture. Thanks for the info! I did see one this year off the Caribe side when we were on Isla.

Ann said...

i didn't know the story behind the statue either--thanks for sharing that, Wayne.

Anonymous said...

Reminds me of a year or so ago when my lady and i were flying from San Juan PR to Culebra on an 8-passenger commuter, and flew right by 5 water spouts about a mile away .... needless to say, the pilot was ..... attentive.

O Robert

(Nice to have you back, Wayne....sorry we missed you in February)