Monday, January 02, 2006

New Year's Storm Pummels The Farallones

Huge swells pounded the island and rain dumped out of the sky, flooding the pipe shop and forming a lake around the house. The new year roared in with a major tempest that blasted the landing with monster waves, and whipped the island with winds so fierce they threatened to blow away everything not bolted down. These extreme conditions are seen nearly every winter on the Farallones, making our field work difficult but also providing us with our water supply. We harvest rainwater each winter to supply all our water needs throughout the year. California's climate is a wet winter and dry summer, so whatever rainwater we can collect from December to March has to last eight months until it rains again. Our rainwater collection system was built for the lighthouse keepers and navy station that used to be out here, and is around 100 years old, but still functions great. When the giant swells slam into the island and I feel the rock tremble under my feet, I can believe the stories those old-timers told that the island is hollow, filled with an enormous 'Lost World' cavern.