Thursday, September 07, 2006

Another real life experience of a freaque wave event

I came across the following story from here this morning:

"My wife and I lost everything to a freak storm in the Caribbean. Our sailboat was our home and also our business. We were far from land, and in just one hour, with no warning, the glassy water with no wind turned into 30-foot waves driven by hurricane-force winds. Then we hit a true rogue wave, at least 60 feet and probably more like 100 feet high. Our 90-foot boat went airborne, was buried, was picked up again, was thrown and broken and finally sank along with everything we owned and all our dreams and plans. But here's the thing: I long for another storm, for a bigger storm, a more frightening storm.
"When our freak storm formed so quickly, in that one hour, it was nothing I had imagined was possible, even though I'd grown up in Alaska and often been at sea. I was certain my wife and I would die, and though we lived, I was injured and penniless for almost two years. But none of that diminishes the beauty of the storm. It was entirely unforecasted, was unreported even after many hours, and covered hundreds of miles. It caught ships unawares. We had an expensive satellite weather system onboard, and it was worthless. Our life raft and other safety gear were worthless as well, because the 30-foot waves were hitting from multiple directions, their top 10 feet breaking onto us, flooding our deck with thousands of gallons of water. We could not possibly have launched and boarded our raft. The storm stripped away our technology and left us in an ancient world."
This is another of the kind of real-life stories of freaque wave occurrence told from a first-hand experience. This particular freaque wave event was actually occurred during a storm. According to the author's estimate, it was a 60' - 100' freaque wave which he and their 90' sailboat encountered during the estimated 30' wave field generated by the storm. Anyone who had read the author's memoir "A Mile Down: The True Story of a Disastrous Career at Sea" would probably not going to question whether or not if this had really happened. While sympathetic with the author's misfortune, we would also appreciate that he could give such a sober-minded, vivid eyewitness account of such a frightening event he experienced. I do detect some sarcasm when he commented that the event was entirely "unforecasted" even with "an expensive satellite weather system onboard" so he concluded that the"storm stripped away our technology and left us in an ancient world" which is pretty much summed up our "state of the art" today. No matter how much technology we have, and we have basicaly nothing at all in connection with freaque waves except may be some satellite pictures, when someone is out there in the ocean and suddenly a freaque wave appeared, like it or not, this someone, he or she, will be entirely on his or her own luck! No amount of theoretical model simulations we can produce, that will not do any good to help when that happens. Tsunamis can be forecast to some extent, but for freaque waves we only know they are happening out there, that's all. We don't know where, when, how, or why. It can happen in calm condition and it can happen during storm. If you are out there and it happened, well, good luck!

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