I was wrong. Rain does not hate Märket. Today it came by at noon, so this will be the day I finish off everything inside the lighthouse. Also, my departure day is coming closer. Every kind of weather here is OK for me and, by now, on my 12th day here on the reef, I had a bit of everything. Everything but a heavy storm.
The wind did probably not quite rise to 16 m/s last night, despite the strong wind alert and no gale warning is in sight for the incoming week either.
As a sea photographer, I have been watching the logic of the waves on this very special location for almost two weeks now, whenever I have had the time between my keeper’s duties, my most important assignment.
How far the waves wash the reef at different wind speeds and directions, how high they climb and with which intervals the biggest ones of them hit the reef, all in an effort to plan what would be the different locations to safely shoot a portrait of the most stormy location in Finland if I would be lucky enough to experience that out here. You know one of these national romantic nautical scenes lighthouse paintings are made of.
On this very low reef, where the highest point raises just 3 metres over the sea level, there are not many spots to catch both the waves and the lighthouse in one shot. Already at a rather moderate wind speed of 15/ms and the lack of a higher dry point at the Eastern end of the reef makes it impossible to shoot anything.
And when the wind speed from N increases over the official gale level of 21 m/s, you do not have any business out on the Easten or Western side, following a painful logic. Great waves, but no access and no shot.
Today was the best opportunity so far. Some waves were left, a dark misty sky and the weather forecast predicted less wind for the evening, making it probably the last chance to shoot anything windy for my whole stay.
The only spot, the outmost reef on the Eastern side was yesterday a no access zone, but today the wind had already decreased just enough to enable a try, and the waves do not stop for a while, a bit like a train that hits the brakes but still passes on for hundreds of meters.
The reef was still surrounded by water and a separate island of its own and the use of the boat was, of course, out of the question. Wading out there was the only way. So, I spent a great deal of time watching from a distance just how high the highest waves hit the spot and with which force, knowing that if a wave strikes you not more than up to your waist, you are washed out in the sea.
Everything looked good and safe, so I decided to hit for the reef, jumped into my survival dry suit packed with distress signals and my VHF, neopreen gloves and hood, inflatable life vest and attached a life cord to the reef, not too much safety at all when you are alone, which I am most of the time spent at sea.
With one eye on the object itself, and the other one on the incoming waves, I stood on the reef just enough to catch at least something from the quiet nice view. Not the best scenery I could imagine, but it was a shot and no wave got any higher than to the knees, so my observation had been adequate this time.
But you never know with the sea and the second golden rule for sea photographers is: When you got the shot, don´t wait for a better one, get out!
My dear readers, you may try this at home, but please do not try it on Märket.
Your still dry keeper,