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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A Coast Guard exercise

I read this news in Global Surf News today, but it was first published a week ago (December 20, 2007) in the Daily Boat Magazine written by Kari Pugh. But the heart of the story is really the pictures taken by photographer Gary Robershaw. Because words are less effective in this case, one has to see the pictures to appreciate what was happened in California's Morrow Bay on that day, December 4, 2007.

According to Kari Pugh
Big waves are nothing new in California's Morro Bay Harbor. Each year for the last decade, the bay has claimed two lives, putting it near the top of the Coast Guard's list of dangerous waterways.
On Dec. 4, a Coast Guard crew on a training mission found out first hand just how treacherous Morro Bay can be. The crew's 47–foot rescue ship–a "Motor Life Boat" built to withstand the roughest surf–was out on a training exercise, jumping 12 to 15–foot waves, when it got slammed by a mammoth whitecap.

Photographer Gary Robertshaw was there taking pictures of the wave action for the Coast Guard. From his vantage point, high above sea level, he could see some huge swells breaking–even bigger than the 15–foot waves that prompted small craft advisories in the area throughout the day.

He knew the Coast Guard crew wouldn't be able to see the waves until it was too late.

"By the time they could spot these waves from the boat, I seriously doubt they had many choices as to what action to take," he said. "The first wave of the set passed by them without incident, but the second, much larger one followed very quickly."

Robertshaw kept clicking, but didn't know until later that he had captured images so amazing, that some people doubt they are real (the Coast Guard confirmed their authenticity).

Yes, indeed, but the images are more than just amazing. Imagine what you might feel if your were on the boat in the following picture:
most definitely it's not for the feint of heart kind like me. As Pugh described it:
. . . a towering wave tosses the boat high atop its crest, and then swallows it entirely. And for a few breathtaking frames, the vessel, dubbed "unsinkable” by the Coast Guard, disappears in the roiling surf.
while
Robertshaw kept clicking, but didn't know until later that he had captured images so amazing, that some people doubt they are real (the Coast Guard confirmed their authenticity).
And
for a few breathtaking frames, the vessel, dubbed "unsinkable” by the Coast Guard, disappears in the roiling surf.

Just as Robertshaw began to worry the boat wouldn't resurface, it popped up.

"It was definitely exciting," he said.

I think the fact that the boat popped up and resurface and resume their duty continuously makes every one wants to stand up and cheer. Just look at this one
which clearly show the boat turned 90 degrees toward upside down. So the title of Pugh's article was given as "Coast Guard Capsize." It probably really did happened as:
The Coast Guard Spokesman later announced that "Everybody was alright. That boat's made to roll!" somehow made me feel like an under-statement. Nevertheless, for an encountering like that, "everybody was alright" is really heart warming to hear. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God! (And of course thanks to Mr. Robertshaw for the pictures,)

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