Friday, August 15, 2008

The Cortez Bank

Photo: Robert Brown/BillabongXXL
At the edge of the continental shelf, one hundred miles south-east of San Diego, there is a chain of undersea mountains called the Cortez Bank. The tallest peaks of these mountains come within 20 feet of the surface. Gathering energy from 7,000 miles of open water, the ocean swell breaks over these peaks like a beach. The result is enormous breakers, the biggest waves in the world. Its an eerie and dangerous place. I'm not much interested in surfing, but the video below is haunting. Well worth a minute to watch. Remember this is 100 miles away from the coast, in the open ocean. Even professional surfers find the place frightening.

The New York Times ran a story about the Cortez Bank earlier this year.