Photo of Bluebell Woods in Sussex Photo of Bluebell Woods in Sussex

Navigating by Sea Swells off Foula, Shetland

Image Credit

Here is a lovely nod to sailors navigating by sea swells off the Shetland Isles – it is rare to find reference to this swell technique outside of the Pacific Islands. The following passage is from the book, Foula, Island West of the Sun by Sheila Gear. Foula island lies at the western edge of the Shetland archipelago and it is one of the most remote of the inhabited British Isles.

For Those that Have Eyes to Read It…

“The Foula men knew the sea well. Without a compass they could navigate to the Far Haaf or to Orkney in thick fog, and return safely back to the isle. Like other Shetlanders they could read the “Midder Dye”, the deep underlying swell that always runs in the same direction towards the shore, regardless of the surface motion caused by the wind. Round our isle it ran from the north-west down towards the south-east end of the mainland, and it runs there yet for those that have eyes to read it.”


Foula, Island West of the Sun by Sheila Gear
Foula Excerpt

My thanks to Peter Gibbs for sending this my way.

Tags