The Sea

September 13, 2021

Passing storm at Wells Next Sea


There is something about the coast and the sea that gets to me. The sounds sights and smells all work together and whether it is for 5 mins or 5 hours’ time spent there always leaves me relaxed and refreshed.

So, it was a couple of weeks ago when I went to Wells Next the Sea. The harbour and latterly the beach. It was supposed to be a photography trip but there were too many people around and setting up would have bought far too many questions. So, I spent my time exploring in more depth going to places I have not been before.

Sights and Sounds

I am not sure how to describe the smell next to the sea. A sort of damp, slightly rotten vegetation, and saltwater. It always takes me back to my childhood. Time spent next to the sea was very precious to me and I loved it. The rougher the better. A storm was superb, just the raw power of the water and the strength of the wind. Getting soaked in the rain, huge waves crashing against the Cobb in Lyme Regis, afterwards, the telling off was always worth it. The sense of escape and freedom has remained until this day, and I still get a rueful look from my wife, which has the huge WHY? statement across it.


The wind is different at the coast. Fresher not so contaminated. Stronger but in a different way. It catches the spray and spume driving it onshore stinging as it hits bare skin. Everything gets sodden and, when it eventually dries it has a hard crusty layer of salt that is sometimes driven into the cloth. It makes for an enjoyable walk on the cliff tops, The Gulls shriek and wheel. Twisting and turning in the updraft, their slender wings outstretched to capture the movement of air, while down below the waves crash onto the rocks.

Sand gets everywhere. In food, between toes and gets onto the car floor and into the seats no matter how hard you try to keep it out. It grates and rubs making the skin sore. It does add a novel crunch to a sandwich though.


The grasses on the dunes sway gently in the offshore breeze of the morning. The gentle sigh as the wind moves across them. The soft hiss as the sand moves then silence for a moment then the sounds start up again. Not the intrusive traffic noise, but the softer noises of life next to the sea. The popping of seed cases as they open, the rush of the waves on the pebbles and the rattling as the smaller stones get dragged back into the sea. The hum of flies in the heat of the day that dull your senses and cause you to doze when you had not expected to. This is particularly the case when the sun is out. Lying in the dunes the grasses about you, the sun beating down. The gentle rush of the waves and the humming of the aforementioned flies. All conspire to put you to sleep.


I was in Hunstanton recently on a similar photographic trip. My first thought was food, the walk into the town was hot. The tide was out revealing a huge expanse of, technically sand but more like dried mud. This is part of The Wash a huge silty area of the sea. Essentially a mudflat.

Same smells, same wind, same feeling. I was only there for a couple of hours a walk along the base of the cliffs taking some test shots ready for an extended visit in a couple of weeks’ time. Probably a couple of months as I would like the weather rougher and fewer people about.

The thing about seaside towns is they can be very busy in summer then the throng melts away in favour of warm houses and TV leaving the beaches virtually deserted. The rides carousel around deserted, just the wind howling through them. These people miss the best bits. Crashing waves, spray, wind, rain getting soaked. The problem bits of protecting your gear.

What could be better than a windy, empty beach? The wind blowing, driving the drying sand across the desolate surface.


The sights and sounds that make you feel alive


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