The Seventh Wave

Trips to the beach hold many of my happiest memories from childhood. Exploring the shoreline, playing in the dunes, and searching for treasure washed ashore are just some of an endless list of activates that we enjoyed.

As kids, we believed in the myth that if you watched and counted the waves, you would find that every seventh one was noticeably larger than the others were.

I realise now that this is not true. However, having said that, if you stand on the shore and observe the incoming waves, you just might find a pattern that is repeated over and over again. It will not occur every time and much depends on location, local currents, and other factors, such as storms, hundreds and even thousands of miles away. It also requires a bit of luck – a matter of being in the right place at the right time.

The science of waves is a complicated matter. They travel great distances and sort themselves into groups as they head for land. A pattern develops and sometimes this will include the presence of higher waves that are intermingled with smaller ones. They might not arrive in such a simple and obvious pattern as every seventh wave, but the arrangement will not be random, and there will be a definite regularity to the sequence.

All you have to do is watch, count, be patient, and work it out!


  1. As someone who waited at the mouth of the bar for an opening to cross during many a winter day during crab season I concur

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