The Wonder of Cross Seas: Beware of the Hidden Dangers

Nature has a way of captivating us with its incredible transformations. One such phenomenon that never fails to amaze is the formation of cross seas, creating mesmerizing watery grids. But don’t be deceived by their beauty, as these grids can pose a great danger, both to swimmers and ships.

Cross seas occur when two sets of wave systems converge at angles greater than 45 degrees, or when wind and swells push the waves in different directions. While this spectacle may be visually striking, it hides treacherous currents beneath its surface. Navigating through these chessboard-like patterns is extremely challenging and has been the cause of numerous boating accidents and shipwrecks.

According to the European Space Agency, the occurrence of cross seas is quite common in the ocean. They result from the coexistence of a windsea and a swell, or two swell systems. In fact, a study conducted in 2004 highlighted that a significant number of ship accidents happened in crossing sea states.

The western coast of France, particularly the Isle Rhe, is known for experiencing this phenomenon. Although it may be tempting to witness these water grids up close, it is crucial to prioritize safety. Visitors are advised against entering the water when cross seas occur. Instead, they can enjoy the view from a lighthouse located on the western part of the island.

So, next time you spot these square waves forming in the ocean, remember to stay out of the water immediately. The beauty of nature should always be admired from a safe distance.