Editor’s note: Thanks to Michael Powers, Eric Soares, and Jim Kakuk for these fabulous photos.
One of the cool things about the Tsunami Rangers is the lexicon they invented to describe the marine environment. Some of these terms have probably become mainstream, but just for fun I thought I’d reproduce the Tsunami Ranger Sea Cave Terms.
A good reason for knowing and understanding these terms is that when you encounter the reality you’ll have at least some sense of what you’re dealing with. You will find all these things in the sea caves of the Northern California and Southern Oregon coasts.
Balrog, n. a powerful demon who lives in crevices in the earth. Created by J. R. R. Tolkien in Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion.
Cavern, n. a cave featuring a big room (if elaborate called a grotto; if light pours through the ceiling called a cathedral).
Elevator, n. the rapid rise and fall of surge in a cave.
Exit, n. a back or side way out of a cave.
Fourth dimension, n. what it is like to be inside a cave. The most radical zone a kayaker can enter (e.g. first dimension is normal seas, second is surf, third is rocks, fourth is caves).
Grok, v. empathetically understanding a situation to its fullest, done immediately upon encountering it. Taken from Robert Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land.
Labyrinth, n. a cave featuring intricate, winding passages which make it easy to get lost (also maze, warren).
Sandwiched, v. getting crushed by rising up in an elevator and striking the ceiling or tooth hanging from the ceiling.
Sea trog, n. a valiant, cave exploring kayaker who dares to face a balrog.
Shaft, n. a long, narrow cave with a square, rectangular, or rhomboidal shape.
Soft spot, n. a safe place to be in a cave (also called station) (e.g. a giant cavern is a safe place because there are no squeezes or teeth of concern).
Sybil, n. a legendary, alluring female entity that inhabits sea caves (synonyms include mermaid, nereid, nixie).
Tooth, n. a stalactite or stalagmite (identified by shape, e.g. incisor, canine, molar).
Tube, n. a long narrow cave.
Twilight zone, n. a dimly lit part of a cave.
Wave in a cave, n. an expression indicating the worst real event that could occur in a cave.
We hope you enjoyed the Tsunami Ranger Sea Cave Terms. Even if you never encounter these scenarios, they still fire the imagination and give you a sense of what it’s like to kayak in dynamic sea caves. If you have some of your own sea cave terms not mentioned here, please share with us!