|Windswept beaches and dunes|
It is with some alarm when, being unfamiliar with a seafaring community, that people describe the weather in terms of wind. It brings about sudden and terrifying visions, I must say. In the village here on the island of Terschelling one might often hear the word, windkracht, which literally means "wind strength."
What they are referring to is a scale that was devised in the early 1800s - the Beaufort scale. Apparently, it came about because one sailor's take on the breeze can be quite different from another's. It is a subjective thing, I would agree. So, Francis Beaufort devised his scale to make a standardized way of recording the weather out at sea. The scale ranges from 1 - 12: 3 being a 'gentle breeze', 6 being a 'strong breeze', 9 being 'strong gale', and 12 being 'hurricane force'. In my last post, The Power of the Sea, I shared photos of from the storm that hit in the first week of December. That storm was categorised as windkracht 9. Here was the weather report for that particular storm - Terschelling is to the right of the number 10 in the top of the coast. As you can see from this map, most of the North Sea was 9 or 10 - 'strong gale' and 'whole gale'.
(I can't help but think of a man saying in a posh accent, "Yes, the wind is rather strong today.")
|Drenkelingen Huis (Drowned Man's House)|
Centuries of wind and water have shaped the coastline of the island, and it is constantly changing. Here too, inland streams form with the rising tide, changing the interior of "The Bosplaats" daily. Huge communities of birds live in this area, nesting and feeding on fish from the sea. Seal colonies can be seen resting on sand bars in lower tides. It is almost like another world on this end of the island. (Which, considering Terschelling is only about 34 km (21 miles) long, is impressive).
|The "Hook" at the end of the island|
What I found so thrilling about the end of the island was that it seemed so empty and barren, like a wasteland, and yet it was brimming with life. We saw more birds there than anywhere else along the coast line. There were also tracks, further in the dune, of wild cats - "Dune Cats". They were, appropriately, following the tracks of rabbits...
|Heading homewards along the beach|
It is also incredibly beautiful...