Real-time Earth and Moon phase

Thursday, February 28, 2008

A rescue at Rest Bay, Porthcawl.

It is always heart warming to read a successful rescue story. Here's one today in icwales.icnetwork.co.uk with a rather detailed headline: "Surfer thanks rescuers who plucked him from Rest Bay" written by Matthew Aplin of South Wales Echo.

The story is straight-forwardly simple:

A SURFER swept towards cliffs by monster waves said today he would have drowned if it hadn’t been for the lifeboat crew who saved him.

The surfer, 28 year old Jon Hibbert of Roath, Cardiff, according to Aplin's article, and a friend were drove down to Rest Bay for a leisurely surf, on Sunday afternoon. In Jon's own words:
“We thought there would be waves of about 3ft but they were two or three times the size of that,

“I didn’t have my leash with me so I used a roof rack strap off my car. That was a big mistake but I just didn’t think of it at the time. It was quite irresponsible because I couldn’t control the board so it was like a torpedo.”
Lesson #1: Be well prepared, have all the equipment accordingly. No substitute is accepted. In Jon's case, as Aplin described, he fought with the currents and was dragged further away from the bay and toward the cliffs. He didn't want to admit defeat but the thought of drowning did came across his mind:
He frantically looked for help.

He said: “I saw two people on the cliffs so I screamed at them. I saw one of them run off and then a crowd started to gather there.

“I didn’t know if they were going to take me seriously. My heart was in my mouth every time a wave came. Luckily, they had called Porthcawl Coastguard.

“They shot a flare out and I saw them waving. I looked over and saw the lifeboat and they came and rescued me. It only took them about 20 minutes. They were so quick.

“When we arrived all the lifeboatmen’s families and babies were there waiting for them. I think I disturbed their Sunday dinners!

“If I had got swept off my board I know that I would’ve drowned. I’m so grateful to the rescuers. It was getting dark and it could’ve taken them hours to find me in a black swim suit.

“I have no doubt in my mind that if it wasn’t for the speed and bravery of the guys in the lifeboat and those on the cliff who saw me, I would have died.

The especially heart warming part is that the rescuer interrupted his family dinner to take upon the rescue. We share Jon's gratefulness for the rescuers and we are really happy that he is alive and well and can continue to tell his story eloquently.

By the way, for us in the other parts of the world who have no idea where Rest Bay, Porthcawl is, the following map from Wikimedia may be of some help:

Monday, February 25, 2008

Stormy California Coast

I remember a long long time ago a high school teacher once told me that a good writer is someone who has the ability to write what's on everyone's mind but no one can put it in writing. I suddenly remembered this because I just come across a new post from a blog that's just something I have in mind but never able to do it so eloquently:
The California coastline is always a dynamic environment especially as storms generate large surf. Like clockwork nearly every big storm there are news stories of people knocked from the rocks by rogue waves and killed. When taking photos in precarious places along the coast one always has to have one eye out to sea. Even 15 feet above the water during this shoot I still had to retreat a couple of times as large sets moved their way in. Being respectful of Mother Nature often includes being cautious and factoring in the unpredictability of your surroundings.
This is from the today's blog of JMG-Galleries entitled "Stormy California Coast." Along with this fabulous picture of Montery, California:


The gallery is by Photographer Mr. Jim M. Goldstein. He explained the great caution he took when taking this picture. But his sharp observation that frequent "news stories of people knocked from the rocks by rogue waves and killed" is really something I dread the most since the start of keeping this freaque wave blog. The dreadful stories are not only come from California coast, but it happens from coasts all around the world.

My heartfelt appreciation for Mr. Goldstein's blog today. I am sure he is probably not interested in freaque waves per se. But his advice that one should always "being cautious and factoring in the unpredictability of your surroundings" is more than any freaque wave aficionado can expect to offer.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

One more sad beach story

It's freaque waves again. What else? This news just in from from South Africa with the headline "Freak waves hit Durban beach" as
One man drowned and 18 others had to be rescued after being swept into the sea after a freak wave hit the main beach on Sunday.
The article described it as "Unexpected waves" since

It appears that, with the rising tide, a set of waves unexpectedly swamped the beach, sweeping 19 bathers wading in ankle-deep water off their feet.

All are rescued except
lifeguards and police doing cardio-pulmonary resuscitation on a man of about 40, but without success.
So even in the ankle-deep water, the unexpected onshore freaque waves still sadly took away one life unnecessarily on this otherwise nice Sunday afternoon on the beach.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

It's a mad, mad, mad, mad world!

A collateral interest for a freaque wave data analyst is always on alert for freakish large numbers. Yesterday I came across some totally incredible numbers that are more than just mind-boggling. I am referring to this AP article by Angus Shaw published in the Washington Times which tells the inflation rate in Zimbabwe: 100,580 % in January 2008, up from 66,212% in December 2007. It was 24,470 % in November 2007.

As the article reports:
The National Incomes and Prices Commission, the government's price control body, this month allowed sharp increases in the prices of the corn meal staple, sugar, bread and other basics in a bid to restore viable operations by producers and return the goods to empty shelves.
and
Executives at a milling company that produces corn meal said the price increase allowed by the government was already overtaken by soaring production costs and gas prices. The National Bakers Association said bread shortages are set to worsen unless the price of a loaf is nearly doubled to more than 5 million Zimbabwe dollars (55 U.S. cents at the dominant black market exchange rate) for a regular loaf.
The article was accompanied by this AP photo:

that says "A child with wads of Zimbabwean dollar notes begged Tuesday on the streets of Harare."

Yes, the freaque waves front has been relatively quiet, so I can't resist to blog this non freaque wave, non scientific topic today. There are plenty of miserable things happening in this world of ours that never get to be reported by our drive by media. This is one of them. My hat-tip to Mark Krikorian of National Review Online for calling this article to our attention. The numbers are just too absurd to be true. How could it happen? How can the Zimbabwe people cope?!

Krikorian entitled his post the "Misery Index." Yes, indeed, I remember the "good" old days under the founder, architect, and patriarch of misery index, Jimmy Carter, when the inflation rate in U.S. s in the 13-14 percent range. That same Jimmy Carter, as President of U.S., authorized to have the U.S. underwrite the communist takeover and redistribution of property in Zimbabwe in 1980 by his favorite dictator, Robert Gabriel Mugabe. In Carter's description Mugabe is:
"A notable world leader, exemplifying the finest aspects of humanity in achieving liberty and justice based on freedom and decency, and a result which thrills the whole world . . ."
The end effect is "Zimbabwe, once the breadbasket of Africa until socialist brutal dictator Robert Mugabe got a hold of it, has seen staggering inflation and severe food shortages." ( See here.) That was also the time, thanks to Carter, according to this BBC report, "The path to the seizure of white farms was opened and thus began the long slide to today's economic chaos."

Everyone in their right mind can reasonably expect "economic chaos." But I doubt any one in their wildest guess can come up with a 6 figure magnitude!

For the record, while Mugabe was completing his genocide against Ndebele in 1986, the University of Massachusetts, Amherst bestowed an "honorary" doctorate of laws to him And of course, amidst all the miseries where ever he goes, Jimmy Carter received 2002 Nobel "Peace" Prize.

Here's some relevant background and comments by Barbara Simpson:

When the West wanted to rid South Africa of white apartheid, the world united ? against the whites.

In Zimbabwe it's worse ? racism against whites, brutality against blacks and the intentional destruction of a country.

But this time, under a black, Marxist leader, the world is silent.

It's racist, immoral and ? dangerous.

So what was the title of that Spencer Tracy movie in the early 1960's again?

Oh, yes, "It's a mad, mad, mad, mad world!"

Monday, February 18, 2008

Peril of onshore big waves

The news front has been quiet for a little while, suddenly a couple of tragic news from the California coast were reported to have been resulted possibly from onshore freaque waves -- what locally called the sleeper waves.

This one according to this SanLuisObispo.com article:
A 27-year-old San Luis Obispo man swept off the Limekiln State Park beach by a powerful wave and presumed dead . . .
Here's what happen: the young man, Chris Patridge, with his cousin, Eric Kleiner, and several friends were
. . . watching the waves at the Big Sur campground, about 80 miles north of San Luis Obispo, when Partridge ventured closer to the water.

A wave came in as he went down to the shoreline, and as it receded, Kleiner saw Partridge had been taken out with the surf.

Unexpectedly and unlikely as it may seem, a young man's life, gone, just like that!

Another one, a little up north of the coast, reported by the Santa Rosa Press Democrat
The body of a missing 42-year-old Berkeley woman who was swept off Gualala Beach by a wave on Saturday was discovered early Monday morning.
Molly Keane was dragged into the ocean by a large wave as she attempted to rescue her dog from the frigid surf.
A life lost untimely and unnecessarily, trying to rescue a dog. But that's not all, the article also mentioned a few weeks ago,
On Jan. 12, 19-year-old Ann Madden of Petaluma and her fiance had walked down from the overlook at Portuguese Beach north of Bodega Bay with their two dogs in tow.

Large waves engulfed the two animals and when Madden went in to rescue them, she was caught in the surf and drowned.
Another life lost trying to rescue dogs. All perils of onshore big waves. Can ever learn to watch out for the freaque onshore waves?

In another Santa Rosa Press Democrat recent article, there's this picture by Mark Aronoff showing the excitement of beach going:


with the warning "A Sonoma Coast State Park aide said people should stay away from the waterline, especially those with small children and pets." How easily it can forget, in the midst of fun and excitements, danger and even possible tragedy could be just prowling nearby. Other than warnings from the coast guard or park rangers, everyone is on their own. Many lives lost, all around the world all the time, but there is no outcry for academic researches on the onshore freaque waves. There are tons of fundings for research on average temperatures that might raise by 0.8 degree in 10 or 20 years while we can't even be certain about the temperatures next week. But that's the mighty global warming research industry and mighty academicians are certainly happy with the plentiful of fundings. Who cares about the meaningfulness of their research? And who cares about a few life lost near the beaches anyway? Que Sera Sera!

Friday, February 15, 2008

No, it's not global warming -- it's Asian winter cyclone!

According to this "Northeast Monsoon Tutorial" there is such thing as "Cold surge effects of the Asian winter anticyclone":

With the onset of the Northern Hemisphere winter, an intense surface high- pressure system develops over the East Asia continental region, centered south of Lake Baikal. The dominating characteristics of this anticyclone can be seen by noting the huge geographical area over which it lies. The anticyclone is sustained and intensified by strong radiational cooling over the frozen land mass and by consistent cold air advection from Arctic latitudes.

Could this be the reason for the worst snowy winter over Mainland China? No wonder Algore and his band of his consensus "me-too" media and scientists have been so deafeningly quiet not to blame it on global warming. Of course who could ever criticize the Peiking Commie comrades for driving luxury gas-guzzlers -- global warming or no global warming! For the rest of us poor "skeptics" souls, we are guilty for the natural climate change anyway!

Well, there's also this NEMS (Northeast Monsoon Surge) thing:

The occurrences of winter season cold air outbreaks cause high pressure to extend eastward over coastal waters off the China mainland. Strong winds turning anticyclonically around this eastern extension of high pressure and the associated weather is referred to as a Northeast Monsoonal Surge (NEMS). These surges produce strong, steady, northerly to northeasterly monsoon winds along the East Asian coast near Sakhalin Island, across the Sea of Japan, the Yellow Sea, the East China Sea, the Philippine Sea and into the South China Sea.

A cold surge or NEMS is generally progressive, starting first in the far north and then moving southward with time. A major surge takes about 6-7 days before its influence is apparent at near-equatorial locations.
So this is what is happening in the Philippine Sea area, as two news headlines from there: "5 missing as cargo ship sink off Sorsogon" and "26 rescued after outrigger boat sinks off Bohol island." In the first case, the cargo ship LCT Don Wilfredo was "capsized and then sank after being battered by giant waves and strong winds." And in the second the outrigger M/B Clemer was battered by "huge waves." Both cases happened on February 15, 2008 within a few hours apart. We pray for the rescue of the 5 missing ones. Giant or huge waves are to be expected during storms at any rate, at least no one utter the word "freaque" in these cases.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Winter in mainland China

As we are all guilty stricken for driving our SUV daily that supposedly causing the hell-raising global warming "disaster" the whole world is supposed suffering right now, the land of my origin, where I have not set foot on ever since the Commie thugs seized it from the ROC, is going through the worst cold, snowy winter in over 100 years. It's been reported world wide while the thugs government only worrying about their image toward the oncoming summer Olympic later this year. Here I wish to show a few pictures I found from the Yahoo News:
This AP Photo above by Kin Cheung has the description "A woman prays at a village in Pingshi in southern China's Guangdong province." What in the world is this "pray at a village" thing? I think that little building in the middle of the snow ice covered field is the shrine of Earth God the woman is praying to. After nearly 60 years' firm control by the God-less Commie thugs, people still believe in their own fundamental Earth God! May be the photographer just do not have the liberty to say it as it is, so make it up this ridiculous "pray at a village" nonsense.
This picture by the same AP Photographer Cheung showing the heavily snow and ice covered electrical tower in Pingshi. The state media admit that there were already 11 electricians lost their lives trying to do the repairs. Most of the power outages remain unrepaired.
This tree covered with ice is seen in Chenzhou, Hunan province by AP Vincent Yu.
Now this is a farmer walks under frozen grape racks in Chenzhou by AP Zhao Zhongzhi.
This sunset over snow covered field is near Suzhou, Chiangsu province by AP Eugene Hoshiko.
This snow covered field is also in Suzhou by AP Hoshiko.
Here are two farmers walk along a snow covered field in Wuhu, Anhui province.
Ah_ha, an army tank to crush the ice covered road. Last time we saw the Commie government use army tank was June 4, 1989 in Peiking Tienanmen Square to crush defenseless students asking for freedom!

Most of these pictures are showing the kind of sceneries of what winter season has to offer. I guess I picked them more for their scenic rather scientific nature. What could not be shown were the human misery, hardship, and sufferings behind the pictures under the Commie thugs regime. After sixty years solid oppression and tyranny, people can only resort to pray to the Earth God hide in the field for help. Rest assure, under commie regime, pray is illegal -- to earth God or whomever else. May be that's why they cooked up the expression: pray at a village. One thing one can surmise: the people are most likely praying for the end of the excessive snow ice -- in the midst of Algore/UNIPCC's screaming of global warming!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Chicken-gore-little's polar bear picture

This above picture accompanies the article by Christopher Booker today in Telegraph.co.uk with the title "So it appears that Arctic ice isn't vanishing after all." I enjoyed reading the article and intrigued by the picture. I did not see any specific indication regarding copyright information about this picture. So I copy it here to spread the story. This interesting picture is now internationally famous. If anyone think I should not put this picture here in this blog, please let me know ASAP, I'll remove it immediately.

It turns out that there is an interesting news story behind the picture also. Another article published a week earlier in NewsWithViews.com by a Canadian journalist, Carole "CJ" Williams as cited in Booker's article tells the whole fascinatingly detailed background of the story behind the picture without using this picture. The title of Williams' 01-26-2008 article is "How the environmental extremists manipulate the masses." It is a highly recommended reading for anyone interested in the ins and outs of global warming matters. Here are some segments:

Al Gore, who was awarded a 2007 Nobel Prize for drawing the world’s attention to the dangers of global warming, as well as a coveted Hollywood Oscar in ‘07 for his documentary “An Inconvenient Truth”, stands to make millions of dollars selling carbon offsets through his London based corporation, Generation Investment Management.

Gore, who apparently can’t tell a polar bear with nowhere to go from one that’s playing on an over-sized and wave-beaten ice cube . . .
and
Just as Gore’s endangered polar bear picture was a hoax, so is the assertion repeated by politicians and global warming/climate change criers that “2,500 scientists of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) agree that humans are causing a climate crisis”.
but
. . . very few credible IPCC scientists out of the 2,500 who supposedly agree that global warming is manmade.

Virtually hundreds, if not thousands, of qualified and well respected scientists who have studied global warming and its causes and effects disagree with the IPCC scientists who were hand-picked by the notoriously corrupt United Nations organization to come to a consensual agreement regarding global warming. However, for the most part, those who disagree are being ignored by mass media, appointed bureaucrats, and our elected government officials.

And finally this conclusion:
The truth of the matter is that the man-made global warming fear factor is based on little but computer modeling, conjecture, hype, contrived hysteria, and the desire of bureaucrats, politicians and radical greenies to eliminate the use of fossil fuels and gain control of people’s lives.
It's nothing complicate, just some common sense. Why should anyone fall for chicken-gore-little's mumble jumble?

Battle with giant waves

Freaque waves are uncertain, but in the winter ocean giant waves are to be expected. Here's a heroic story of battle with giant waves in observer.guardian.co.uk today by Caroline Davies.
An RAF winchman who risked his life in 'horrendous' gale force conditions in a bid to rescue an injured ship's captain off the Isles of Scilly yesterday described the mission as 'the most challenging' he had ever experienced.

For more than an hour on Friday night, Sergeant Gordon Watt, 27, was buffeted by force 10 winds at the end of a 130ft winch as he tried to gain a foothold on the 12,887-tonne vessel Horncliff, which was listing and rolling in 40ft waves.

Hampered by the pitch dark and with the ship rolling badly, he was unsuccessful and the RAF Sea King team, from 22 Squadron at the Royal Marines base at Chivenor, Devon, was forced to abandon the rescue.
The vessel's Lithuanian captain suffered severe spinal injuries and internal bleeding when a giant wave smashed into the deck cargo of bananas and melons from Costa Rica. He was eventually airlifted to hospital after a second, successful attempt by a Royal Navy helicopter at first light yesterday.
Thank God for this second successful rescue.
A Royal Navy helicopter from RNAS Culdrose in Cornwall managed to winch a paramedic aboard yesterday, then airlifted the captain and six others to safety. Among the 31 passengers and crew were two honeymooners from Germany. Suzanne Carstensen, 50, from Hamburg, said that she and her husband Dahne, 64, thought they were going to die after the huge waves hit them off the south of Ireland on Friday. Six passengers were on the bridge with the captain at the time.
According to Mrs. Carstensen:

'We had changed course to try to get away from the storm when the ship was hit by three big waves. First it went right over to the left and then the right and we were all crying. I thought it was our last moment of life.

'The captain and my husband crashed over the floor and the captain was in big pain, crying out. The ship went right over and then the containers came off the ship and it came back up. Then we knew we had survived. It was really horrible, and you cannot imagine unless you are there.'

Yes, indeed, while we can imagine to some extend, we really cannot imagine what they went through since we are not there. As one who was there, Mrs. Carstensen is a super eye witness in describing that the ship was hit by three big waves and the waves went right over to the left and then the right. It was frightening for certain!

This BBC News gave the location of the happening and a picture of the condition of the vessel:
As shown in the picture the cargo were shifted when the giant waves hit that caused injury to the ship captain and two others. There were 31 passengers and crew on board the ship, the Horncliff, which had been travelling to Dover carrying a cargo of fruit from Costa Rica. The ship is now sailing towards Falmouth and is expected to arrive later on Saturday.

Friday, February 01, 2008

The ferry Riverdance


This is the picture of ferry Riverdance that was stranded at a sandbank off the Lancashire coast of U.K. It's been world wide news by now, typical headlines like:

Ferry runs into trouble when struck by freak wave (Melbourne Herald Sun of Australia.)
Battle to save stricken UK ferry hit by freak wave (Euro News.)
High waves strand ferry in Irish Sea (Independent Online of South Africa.)
Ferry carrying 23 people stranded at sea off England (The Canadian Press.)
Stricken ferry runs aground in northwest England (AFP)
Emergency in Irish Sea as ferry faces capsize (The Times of India.)
Ferry carrying 23 stranded off UK (USA Today.)
Ferry runs aground off Blabkpool (BBC News)


Just reading these headlines we can pretty much have a general idea of the what, where, how, and why it happened. Here's some details from the BBC News:
A roll-on roll-off ferry which ran into trouble in high winds in the Irish Sea has run aground off Blackpool.

A total of 19 crew members and four passengers were flown to safety from the Riverdance, after it was hit by a freak wave in bad weather.

The ferry, Riverdance, owned by Seatruck Ferries Limited,
. . . was carrying trucks and trailers from Warrenpoint in Northern Ireland to the port of Heysham in Lancashire, when it was struck by the freak wave.

The wave caused the ship's cargo to shift resulting in the vessel developing a significant list. Speaking during the rescue operation, John Matthews from Fleetwood RNLI described the sea conditions as "horrendous" with 7m waves and winds of up to 60mph (96km/h).

I guess the most irritating part of the news reports to me is that they all alluded to the fact that the ferry was struck by a freaque wave, but no one give any details regarding the freaque wave. It was horrendous sea conditions with winds up to 60 mph and big waves all around, if it was may be just caused by one of the large storm waves -- which is entirely possible, then what was there to make it a freaque one?

For a long time, the "academic" types refuse to believe the seafarers when they say that they have encountered a freaque wave. But I think seafarers know an unusual freaque wave when they encounter one. It's the modern "journalists" who brought up amongst a world of nothing but code words and sensationalism. Truth and accuracy are superfluous in their profession. So journalists, especially the MSM types, are the least trustworthy. We should always reconsider and query the details as to what do they really mean by freaque wave? (Hopefully it's not a word just for sensational effects.)

Update February 5, 2005:
The stricken ferry is still out there waiting to be salvaged. All the passenger and crew were winched off. Salvage efforts have been working to reduce the severe listing of the ferry. Efforts were being hampered by weather conditions.