The West

Boaties feel nature s power
Dan Avila captured this amazing picture of a water spout off Coogee.

A Coogee man ran to his balcony to capture this amazing photo of a waterspout touching down next to a small boat this afternoon.

Dan Avila, a professional photographer, was cleaning his camera equipment when he saw the funnel reach down from the clouds.

It was the first time he had seen a waterspout in his 15 years in Cockburn Waters Estate.

As he adjusted his 200mm zoom, he realised there were several small boats under the waterspout.

“That’s taken from my house. I looked out over the water and saw something unusual,” he said.

“I was actually prepping my camera gear for an art event tonight so I thought, ‘Right on,’ and I ran up to the balcony.

“I could see it contacting the water then I noticed three very small dinghies almost at the point where the waterspout was touching the water.”

The 41-year-old said it appeared the people in the boats were “chasing” the waterspout – something he would advise against.

“You can see the impact it’s having on the water and the size of that impact in relation to the boats,” he said.

“It’s many times larger than the boats.

A water spout forms close to boats off Coogee. Picture: Dan Avila

He said the waterspout lasted for about 10 minutes before it dissipated.

“Everything looked and felt normal except that cloud where the spout came from was particularly dark,” he said.

“My wife’s from Texas so for her it’s, ‘Oh yeah, a waterspout, big deal.”

Waterspouts can be formed when unstable air is forced up towards a shower cloud, creating condensation.

The funnel does not suck seawater from the ocean.

Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Richard Rattley said they could be quite forceful.

“It’s the same mechanism as a tornado but usually weaker,” he said.

“I wouldn’t have thought (chasing it) was a good idea.”

The West Australian

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