Of the many dangers in the ocean, one that doesn’t get talked about much are cross waves. Beautiful to look at, these waves form watery grids, and are also referred to as cross seas. But they can spell trouble for ships, surfers, and swimmers who get caught in their crosshairs. If you’ve ever seen across the sea in real life or through images, then you’ll notice it looks like a square pattern has formed on the ocean's surface.
It’s the result of two sets of wave systems blending with each other at differing angles.
A distinguishing feature of these waves is that the angles are typically greater than 45 degrees. How does this even happen?
When the waters are in a cross pattern, it is not safe to enter. Instead, visitors can watch from the lighthouse on the western part of the island or from the shore and take pictures of the phenomenon.
Now, the waves don’t permanently stay in this pattern as eventually, the energy systems weaken. The older waves will dissipate, causing the square form to fade away as well. That makes it safe for tourists and locals to take a dip in the water.
If you see water like this, do not be a hazard to your own health. Don’t paddle into it, don’t swim in it, and don’t try to take a selfie in it. It will be more than difficult to disentangle yourself from the waves, and the principles that apply to escaping rip currents may not help you.
Extraordinary incidents like these gorgeous but dangerous cross swells are a perfect example of nature that should be left alone.
Are you already familiar with these square wave patterns? Have you ever seen a cross swell up close and personal? What’s the most interesting thing you’ve seen in the ocean?