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Sam Pedican and the Rage at Glass Window Bridge

I had heard bits and pieces of this particular story as well as a few others from a taxi driver on Eleuthera: Man killed by rogue wave at Glass Window Bridge

As it was told to me, there have been similar incidents -- a vehicle or two washed into the ocean with the driver on board. There are other tragic stories as well, but I don't quite recall the details. Next time we are on Eleuthera, I am going to look up "Fine Threads." He runs a taxi around North Eleuthera and rents a few cars as well (Taxi 52, Fredrick Neely 242-335-1556/359-7780.) No doubt, he will have more "Glass Window Bridge" stories to tell.

I guess I should point out to those completely unfamiliar with the Glass Window Bridge at North Eleuthera; it is subject to being turned into toast by the more serious storms and hurricanes. And when the bridge goes out, North Eleuthera is cut off from the rest of Eleuthera -- a major pain in the butt.

My wife came with a few minutes of losing her life near Glass Window Bridge. No joke! There is a major "blow hole" just to the North of the Bridge. The first photo was taken as we approached the hole -- a friend of ours is walking to the edge where one can look many feet straight down the face of the cliff to the water below. It is an awesome sight I might add. Note the various water pools in the lower portion of the photo. That should have been a big clue, and I noticed it when we approached, but I chalked them up as leftovers from high tide.

The next photo is my lovely wife, Rose Mary, as she stands next to the left wall of the hole. She is happy as it's one helluva view from where she is standing!

After I shot this last photo, I started looking around the area through my camera's view finder -- looking for that next great photo. Within moments, I see a wave break against the right cliff wall. I framed the shot and waited for the next "right" wave to shoot the next photo. Within a minute or two, I got the shot off, and moments later, got half drenched by the same wave. "Damn! What the hell was that? The wave seemed to leap 100+ feet in the air!!

Mind you, I am purposely standing back a safe and considerable distance from the edge of the blow hole so I don't get my equipment wet. Dripping wet, I immediately look at my camera to see if it was ruined. I wear glasses and they were half wet so my vision was obscured.

And then shock.

I look up to see what happened to my wife and our friend. "Oh My God, they're gone! The wave sucked them into the ocean!" The emotion that followed was indescribable; something I had never experienced before. I frantically scanned left to right, right to left -- looking, looking and looking again. I can't and don't want to believe my eyes.

The drop off at the edge of the cliff to the water below is significant, and having seen that wall of water come through there, I knew I was in harm's way. I thought to rush to the edge to look for my wife and friend, but felt certain I would perish if I did so and turned back to head for the car for help. I was certain there was no way they survived -- I had seen how the waves below would slam against the cliff like a sledgehammer.

I felt helpless and very sick. You never know how much you love your spouse until something like this happens.

I turned back for the car to go for help -- a short distance up and over a little ridge and then down a short hill to the car. As I reached the top of the ridge, I see my wife and our friend walking towards the car. The blood starts to flow back into my brain. They look up at me and see I am drenched and rather sarcastically ask what the hell I was doing? They see the look of concern in my face and ask what is wrong. I was in shock. All I could say is "you just missed certain death within a minute or two."

They couldn't grasp what I was trying to tell them. It took me the next 20 minutes to dry off and get my head around what just happened so I could fully explain the chain of events. What I learned from our conversation was they had just turned to go back to the car the moment I started looking at the right wall with my camera. They were out of view and I never saw them leave. What are the odds?

Later in the day when we were with a cab driver, I explained to him what had happened and that is when we learned about "rogue waves." Since there are no reefs in front of the cliffs to break the waves as they approach the cliffs, there are those waves that hit the cliff with enough speed, and at the right angle. to produce these occasional walls of water.

Needless to say, I asked why the Eleutherans' don't have warning signs posted. We were told they used to. I can't believe someone else hasn't brought this up. But at least now we, and you, know to be very very careful when you approach these cliffs and hang around Eleuthera's Glass Window Bridge. Look for telltale pools of water on the ground and wet areas on the walls before you approach. If you have children, be sure they stay under your supervision.

One other bit of trivia while we are talking about the bridge: The Glass Window Bridge has been called "the narrowest place on Earth." I'll vouch for that. It is a "must see" when visiting Eleuthera. Just be careful.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

So this is a very late comment to your post. I used to have the video of Sam Pedican getting washed into the ocean. My Dad, my sister and myself were at the bridge when he first came down from the north end of the island. We were amazed anyone would try to cross the bridge with those kind of waves. Later on we heard that he'd tried to make the crossing again. The copy of the video has been lost in subsequent movings. But we watched it. And we were there for part of it.


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