Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Typhoon Melor (#18)

Typhoon Melor (#18 in Japan) made landfall a few nights ago here in Shizuoka/Aichi and was raging outside for a couple days. The days leading up to the typhoon were rainy and gray, but the waves were pretty good. I have experienced some bad weather in California before, but I have a new respect for the power of these tropical typhoons (or hurricanes or cyclones depending on your location). There have been times when I have been been scared in the ocean, but this was the first time that just walking outside has seemed life threatening to me. The worst of the storm hit in the middle of the night with 70-90 mph winds, making for a very sleepless night.

Before the typhoon made landfall, I took trip down the coast to explore some different surf spots.

I found many miles of surf like this, gray and offshore with nobody around and much bigger than it looked.

This is a photo from left that is closer to home near the local rivermouth. Mostly closeouts, but every once and awhile a gem would come through. Again, much bigger than it looks, no humans around to give it some perspective.

This is one of the more well known spots on the coast, Tahara Long Beach. There are a few professional surf contest held here each year, since it seems to be a consistent wave. This day was big, but still pretty manageable. This wave is very similar to Morro Bay, minus the warm water river from the power plant.

Unsurfed slab #1. Fun wave to look at, but probably painful to surf. I was waiting up on the cliff for a Japanese charger to take it on, but nobody showed. I thought about paddling out for 1/10th of second then thought better of it. Not to sound like a broken record, but it is bigger than it looks...

More unsurfed beachy, where is everybody?

Me, about to go storm riding the morning after the typhoon passed. If I look a bit tired it is because I was up all night listing to the wind scream and waiting for our apartment to blow away.

A few gems made it through the chaos, but this was more of a day for watching.

Nature, meet man...

Looking north up the river following the worst of the storm.

This used to be a bike trail, quite a few pine needles were shaken loose from the matsu trees.

Toyohama looked semi-surfable, nobody around, just one car in the lot.

This is my favorite check spot. Just a random construction along the side of the bike trail to give you a view over the pine.

Storm clouds pushing out the last of the typhoon.

After two days of searching, I found my rivermouth sandbar perfection, perfect and peeling 6 inch drainers. I mind-surfed myself silly for hours, it was fantastic.

One of the most incredible things about the storm systems here is the speed in which they come and go, one day will be gray, rainy, windy and huge out-of-control surf, and the next day will look like this, calm and glassy and inviting.

I will be off visiting the Island of the Gods for a little while, taking many photographs, but probably without the means to upload and share the photos. As soon as I get back online I will share the goods.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Bridges, Waves, Trails, Signs

As I mentioned in my last post, my camera has decided to stop working, but the good news is I have a replacement camera in my hands now and I had a chance to go through some photos from the past month. I picked out a few that caught my attention, here they are in no particular order...

Traffic trails on highway 150, the main coastal road that runs through town. If you squint your eyes you can see the McDonalds golden arches.

Not these golden arches... here are a few views of Higashi-Bashi (east bridge) at sunset. This is one of the main bridges into the town, follow the road straight to the beach and you end up at Higashi-Bashi the surfspot.

View from Higashi-Bashi toward the west.

When the west winds pick up, everybody heads for Toyohama since the jetties here protect the surf from the strong wind. Notice the stadium seating jetty, perfect for jumping off into the lineup if your to lazy to paddle out.

Two photos from a bike ride towards the west, along the pacific coastal bike trail. This trail stretches for miles and miles along the coast, I've explored about 2 hours in each direction but there is plenty more to do. Many stretches of the trail look like this with empty beach and nobody around.

You don't have to speak Japanese to get the point of this warning sign.