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Old 12-21-2011
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Waves on beaches (stupid question?)

Twice in the last few years I've been on islands in the Pacific where the waves felt the same whether the beach I was on was windward or leeward. In both cases I was on a small boat about 100 +/- yards offshore, messing around on the beach and snorkeling. On both sides of the island the waves were nearly identical in size - height and wavelength.

This struck me as a little odd as I'd expect the waves to come onto the islands in the same direction of the wind. But when I experienced nearly identical waves on the leeward side I figured I was wrong.

So ... my question: are these waves coming from the natural uplift of air that brings breezes and winds onto the island, from the low pressure system over most islands? Otherwise one would expect there to be no waves on the leeward side, right?
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