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One exciting morning, sea kayaking and a water spout

On my second day here, Micah and I took the older kids from Uptown School sea kayaking. The forecast called for light wind in the morning, getting stronger in the afternoon, with possible storms. The sky was a pretty gray and we could see bands of dark clouds.
The wind was constant but not hard, maybe around 10-13 knots, and the sea was rolling swell around 2-3 feet. The wind was headed toward the shore, made it safe enough to take the kids out. We did decide it wasn’t wise to paddle all the way to our normal destinations, so instead we picked two stopping points within sight of the Golden Tulip resort and our starting point. After a Kayaking 101 on dry land, we hit the water.
Micah and I teaching on the beach.

The kids did well launching into crashing surf and paddling over the swell. The sea grew higher the further we paddled. Eventually we were among rolling swells between 3 and 4 feet. The kids were having fun and didn’t seem scared at all. When we reached the second stopping point, the swell became more vertical and choppy; making staying upright more challenging so we decided to turn around and head back. After turning around, a couple of boats flipped. The swimmers stayed calm and listened well to directions during the rescue, making it back into their boats in a minute or two. Everyone surfed the waves back onto the beach where we decided to go for a swim.

A narrow band of dark clouds was about to pass over us when we noticed a small tendril of cloud reaching downward about a mile off shore. We watched it grow longer and saw swirling spray of salt water it was pulling upward.

First, it moved parallel to shore but then turned, looking like it might head toward us.

If the spout came ashore, there was a nearby cement building we could seek shelter in. It turned again and headed to the far end of the beach. It transformed from waterspout to tornado as it came ashore. There was a family on that part of the beach, and they stood right there and watched it came ashore, no further from it than a few dozen feet. Did they not know what it was? Did they not think it was dangerous? I don’t know a way to tell how strong a tornado is from looking at it, and I’ve never been in one. I would have been scared being as close as they were. It squeezed between the bases of two mountains before retreating back into the band of clouds.