Sunday, December 4, 2011

Beach Babies

The first day of December is the first day of summer here in the Southern half of the world. As the temperatures soar past 27 degrees, my cold-blooded little heart sings. Warmth, at last! I swear I have some reptile in me. Which is odd really, because I'm awful in the ocean. As a country kid who lived hours from a beach, I never grew up in that great Aussie tradition of being at the beach every weekend. Two weeks at Christmas, but that was about it. And I pretty much always just hung about in the shallows with my dad (when I was little) and sunbaking when I got older (silly girl).

So it was with morbid fascination that I watched a recent science experiment here in Oz which, through the injecting of harmless purple dye into a rip, showed the path and lifecycle of a rip in the ocean.

Check this out:

This is the water being filled up with purple dye.

Anyone who has been caught in a rip knows that it doesn't take long before you're much further from shore than you realise (you move at a rate of about 1 metre/second) and that's when you realise you're in a rip and, if you're me, panic sets in. Which is when we swim parallel to shore (the best method out of a rip). As you can see from the rip, it doesn't just move in a straight line.

The boomerang effect of this other rip shows that even if you can't swim parallel to shore, all is not lost... 80% of rips return back to shore, so if you just lie there and take it easy (i.e. don't panic) you might be transported back to shore safe and sound.

Provided a shark doesn't snap you up!

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