Nantucket is a lovely island on the eastern coast of the U.S., located in the state of Massachusetts just 30 miles south of Cape Cod. The popular tourist destination has reached some seriously cold temperatures this winter, breaking records and causing freezing ocean waves to roll in as slush.
These waves are certainly not ideal for surfing (unless you’re a penguin), but they do create a really awesome appearance. One frigid day in February, Professional photographer Jonathan Nimerfroh beautifully captured the freezing waves in a series of photos.
Jonathan Nimerfroh is a Nantucket-based photographer and surfer with a true passion for the ocean. Nimerfroh is always happy to go to the beach, even when the weather is too cold for most beach goers. Nimerfroh shot these photos in February on a day when temperatures hovered near, but never reached higher than, 19 degrees Fahrenheit (-7C).
This precise temperature range meant it was cold enough for waves to turn to slush near the ocean shores, but it wasn’t cold enough for the water to turn to ice completely. This in-between temperature created just the right climate for pristine slush waves to roll in.
While the freezing waves might look like a yummy drink from 7/11, we don’t recommend taking a taste! The frozen ocean waves contain a lovely mixture of salt, pee and plankton… not too delectable to most human palates.
The temperatures were cold enough for thin sheets of ice to form over the top layers of shallow ocean waters. Yet, the deeper portions were not fully covered in ice because the waves and surrounding water temperatures were not quite cold enough to support a solid sheet of ice. It was this odd middle ground, between frozen and not frozen, that transformed waves of water into slush.
The map below highlights the change in average temperatures over the last 30 days in comparison with the annual average. This visually demonstrates how much colder temperatures in the eastern U.S. and Canada have been this winter compared to usual. February was the coldest month of all throughout the Northeast, breaking a number of all-time records as well as creating these slush-like waves that formed along the coast.
Temperatures on the day these photos were taken never reached higher than 19 degrees Fahrenheit, although the average low in Nantucket is slightly higher at 25 degrees Fahrenheit. As locals cranked up their heaters and huddled up near their fireplaces, this dedicated photographer braved the unusually cold temperatures in order to capture these uniquely perfect pictures.
The unusually cold weather that is spreading throughout southern New England has created a number of record-breaking occurrences. Including collapsed roofs, and the freezing over of the Hudson River in New York.
Also, vehicles have been leaving behind ice bumper shells in parking lots, like mysterious phantom ghost cars. The freezing ocean waves made of slush are just another rare occurrence to add to the list.
The photographer behind the lens is also an avid surfer, the perfect combination… if it’s warm you go surfing; it’s too cold you take awesome photos.
Nimerfroh specializes in ocean and surfing photography. This travel bug and outdoor enthusiast has so many awesome photo collections worth scooping out.
If you like what you see here, be sure and check out more of Jonathan Nimerfroh’s work on Instagram, Facebook, and his official website. You can also buy prints of his work to decorate your favorite spaces.