Real-time Earth and Moon phase

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Encountered by USS Ross

Here's a news item in the Palm Beach Post today by AP's David Sharp:

— Cruising through the darkness in rough seas, the USS Ross encountered a rogue wave that smashed into the destroyer's bow, sending a shudder along the entire ship that knocked sleeping crew out of their bunks and damaged the sonar housing.

As alarms sounded, sleepy sailors scrambled to shore up the leak.

"We cracked the hull and kept on going like it was nothing," retired sailor Jonathan Staeblein, of Hagerstown, Md., recalled. In fact, the 510-foot destroyer was never out of service for repairs during any deployment in the three years he served aboard as an electronic warfare technician.

The article was about the destroyer's strong records, but it was inadvertently disclosed that USS Ross encountered a freaque wave that had caused damages without causing service disruption. Unfortunately there was no detail information about the freaque wave encountered. We don't know where or when the encountered took place and we don't know what or how high the freaque wave was. May be someday the details will be come out, at any rate, all we know that an encounter of freaque wave did happen to USS Ross during the last 22 years. So freaque waves have no preferences on who or where to hit. Just someone at the wrong place and the wrong time. They encounter small boats, fishing vessels, cargo ships, cruise ships, and military destroyers all the same! The only thing we can surmise is probably that large ships can sustain damages but survive, smaller vessels certainly could not expect the same. Beyond all the unknowns on where, when, what, how or why, the chance for an encounter is still relatively low, so just hope for the best and pray!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Happened at Thurlestone Sands beach

Here's a frightening story with a happy ending happened at Thurlestone Sands beach in South devon of southeast England as reported in thisisderbyshire.com.uk:

A COUPLE almost died after they were swept into the sea while on holiday in Devon.

Stephen and Jean Baines, of Main Road, Smalley, were enjoying a trip to the beach when a series of large waves carried them and their dog into the water.

Mr Baines, who walks on crutches, managed to grab hold of his wife's hand as they struggled in the water before quickly losing strength and his grip on her.

The 62-year-old, who runs Smalley Stores, said: "We were less than minutes from death.

According to the report:

The couple were on Thurlestone Sands, in South Devon, a beach which they have visited for the past 25 years, during a holiday to celebrate their 41st wedding anniversary.

Mrs Baines had gone onto the beach with their Golden Retriever, Bailey, while her husband watched them from the steps.

She was swept out to sea as she stood watching the dog playing in the surf.

In the words of Mrs. Baines: "I remember being taken up on a wave and knocked up and down on it. I could feel myself starting to go unconscious." That's frightening! Here's more from the report:

Mr Baines said: "There was a freak wave which crashed on to the beach and went right round her and then straight away another massive wave came and knocked her off her balance and then a third one took her into the sea.

"It was so surreal. Frightening is not the word."

Mr Baines managed to get down onto the sand but fell to his hands and knees as a result of his disability.

At that moment another wave carried him into the water.

He said: "It swallowed me up. I got hold of Jean's hand and I was shouting "fight it, Jean, fight it".

"I could feel her fingers going out of mine and then the next wave took her and went over me and I lay in the water.

"I saw her being washed about like a rag doll."

Fortunately here's the heartwarming part of the story:
Moments later, the couple were rescued by local residents who took them ashore and wrapped them in blankets while they waited for the ambulance.
It was an ordinary beach going on a leisure holiday, we can not say it's unexpected. Certainly no one expects things like this will happen. But it does happen and happens on beaches all around the globe. We don't know where, when, how or why. Mrs. Baines may not realize what was happening when it happened. This time Mr. Baines observed clearly that ". . . a freak wave which crashed on to the beach and went right round her and then straight away another massive wave came and knocked her off her balance and then a third one took her into the sea." Just be aware, it may or may not be similarly occur next time when you take a stroll along the beach. But please don't let your guard down!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Lorne beach waves

As an ocean waves aficionado, I always interested in different descriptions of wave conditions. How do you describe a beach wave that's not strong, vigorous, or powerful? How about this way:
the waves coming into shore from the big Southern Ocean are but the afterglow of violence. Robust but a little messy, unspectacular. They don't so much break as peter out - or collapse half-made. Small fitful dumpers.
which is from an article about surfing at Lorne Beach, Great Ocean Road of Australia by John Elder in The Age. I was in Lorne two years ago attending a conference organized by my friend Alex. We stayed at a hotel by Lorne beach. I remember the peaceful, tranquil, and less than spectacular beach scenes. They were certainly not North Shore of Oahu, but I never thought of the descriptors as "afterglow of violence", "collapse half-made", or "small fitful dumpers". I wonder if they ever have freaque waves come to the beach. May be the local people are smart enough to avoid them. If a freaque wave come to shore and no one there to encounter it, is it still a freaque wave?

The gift of surf

In an article today in the Hawaii Star Bulletin by Rob Shikina that includes this surf picture by Cindy Ellen Russell :
along with this:
On a day when giant surf pounded Oahu's North Shore, one wave at Waimea Bay stood above the rest.

"It broke about 100 yards outside of the surfers," said one lifeguard who estimated the freak wave at higher than 40 feet (face value).

"Everybody in the lineup was cleaned," the lifeguard said.

Ocean Safety Lt. John Hoogsteden said about 20 surfers were in the water and that some 10 boards were damaged or broken by the wave.

In the aftermath, lifeguards on a personal watercraft pulled about 15 surfers out of the ocean.

"It was the biggest wave," said Sylvain Cazenave, who was taking photos when the wave hit at about 1:30 p.m. yesterday.

Cazenave, who has been visiting the North Shore from France every year since 1980, said the surfers could not get out of its way.

"Those guys were paddling very fast, but they all got nailed," he said. "Many boards were broken."

Now here are some side effects of big waves:
. . . lifeguards were busy. On the island's north and west sides, lifeguards gave 2,400 warnings, made 25 rescues and assisted 20 people to shore by 3 p.m., said Honolulu Emergency Services Department spokesman Bryan Cheplic.

At least two surfers were injured at Waimea Bay. One suffered a head injury and another a hamstring injury, lifeguards said.

Traffic on Kamehameha Highway slowed to a standstill near Waimea Bay yesterday as spectators gathered along the road and at the beach to watch the surf.

plus this rather surprising effect:

But the large surf also repaired some beach erosion.

Van Der Leeden said high surf during the Eddie Aikau big-wave contest earlier this month took about 15 feet of sand from Sunset Beach, forcing the city to remove a lifeguard stand from its concrete foundation and replace it with a temporary lifeguard stand on skids.

Yesterday's swell brought back about 10 feet of sand, he said.

"The swell brought us a Christmas present," he said.

Waves have always been blamed for beach erosion. How about that? Giant waves can also bring back sands! You win some, you lose some. Nature has her own way of handling things. No need for headless-jackass kind of "blame the human" human to pretend to be able to meddle the nature process -- they can only make things worse. The Star Bulletin ably entitled this article "The gift of surf" I guess it is because 'tis the season of gift giving. Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!


(from Deacon Keith Fournier)

On this one wonderful day called "Christ-Mass" the entire world rightly pauses. Heaven has come to earth so that earth can be brought to heaven. The great event of Christmas touches every man, woman and child. The entire world is again presented with the Christian claim---"the Word became flesh and dwelt among us."

Let those of us who have embraced the truth of this claim now manifest- in our own lives and families- the fruits of the Incarnation. Let us become a Christmas people and offer through our lives of love the greatest gift of all. Let us continue to manifest the beauty of the Incarnation to a world that still waits to be born.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

4th Sunday of Advent


Turn again, LORD of hosts; look down from heaven and see;
Attend to this vine, the shoot your right hand has planted.
Those who would burn or cut it down
-- may they perish at your rebuke.
May your help be with the man at your right hand,
with the one whom you once made strong.
Then we will not withdraw from you;
revive us, and we will call on your name.
LORD of hosts, restore us;
let your face shine upon us, that we may be saved.
(Ps 80:15-20)

Waking up to a shipwreck

Here's part of a story in the Japan Times Online by Winifred Bird:
It's not every morning that a 169-meter-long ship gets knocked over by a giant wave and lands like a beached whale virtually outside the front door of your quiet seaside home.


The ill-fated Ariake had set out from Tokyo the previous evening bound for Okinawa. By 5 a.m. it was making its way through a storm off the shores of southern Mie Prefecture when it was blindsided by a huge rogue wave.

As the boat listed from the impact of countless tons of North Pacific, its cargo — including, among more weighty items, a consignment of the latest issue of the popular manga, Jump — broke free, slid to one side, and dragged the starboard half of the boat underwater.

The captain then maneuvered the crippled ship as close to the shore as he could. By 10 a.m. that morning, all seven passengers and 21 crew had been safely plucked from the deck by a rescue helicopter, but the vessel itself was here to stay, like a rather large nautical gnome suddenly camped out in one's rosebed.
Mie Prefecture (δΈ‰ι‡ηœŒ), is in the southern Japan according to this Wikipedia picture:


I am sure this is not the first nor the last freaque wave encounter ever happened near Japan. But this is the first reported by a western reporter who obviously lives there nearby. That's probably why the article is entitled "Waking up to a shipwreck" and regrettably no other details about the freaque wave that was encountered. But it did happen and fortunately all passengers and crew are safe, that's comforting to know!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The encounter of RMS Lusitania

The next issue, January 2010 issue, of Scientific America carries the follow news from the magazine 100 years ago:
WAVE VS. SHIP— “Was it a last despairing protest of Old Ocean, when he lifted his giant hand in the blackness of night on January 10, and smote the Cunard liner ‘Lu­sitania’ a blow which racked and splintered her lofty bridge and pilot house, 75 feet above the sea, and crushed down her forecastle deck and decks beneath, giving them a permanent depression of several inches? When the mass of the wave struck the breastworks and pilot house, every one of the stout wooden storm windows was burst in, the woodwork being stripped clean to the sashes—and this, be it remembered, at an elevation of 75 feet above the normal sea level. We are inclined to agree with her captain in his belief that many smaller and less stoutly built ships which have disappeared utterly at sea, may have been sent to the bottom by the crushing in of their decks under so-called ‘tidal waves’ of these dimensions.”
with the following footnote:
[NOTE: The Lusitania survived the rogue wave but was torpedoed and sunk by a German U-boat five years later.]
I guess the fact given in the above footnote that she was torpedoed by a German U-Boat is well-known at the time, while the encounter of Lusitania with a freaque wave seems not. But actually the New York Times on Sunday, January 16, 1910 has a detailed Page 1 story entitled "Lusitania Battled by 80-Foot Wave " with this relevant description:
On Monday evening, when the Lusitania was plowing through high head sea, whipped up by the westerly gale, an accumulative wave struck the vessel. She was buried in a mountain of water. . .
and
"When I left the bridge," said Capt. Turner, "the vessel was going nicely through the high head seas. The wave came as a surprise. The ship was going down when she met the sea, and it is hard to estimate the height of the wave. The water came to the top of the wheel house, which is 80 feet above the deck. I have heard of tidal and accumulative wave before, but I never met one in my experience."
So the expression "a mountain of water" has been around at least from a 100 years ago -- long before freaque (freak or rogue) had become a household media word. It is interesting to see the descriptions they struggled to use in the old days: tidal, accumulative wave, and high head sea. That was nevertheless an unmistakable freaque wave Lusitania encountered. It is also of interest to note that the encounter of Lusitanis had been missed from recent studies when they tried to account for known cases of freaque wave encounters.

By the way, here's a picture of RMS Lusitania:


It is rather sad that people generally did not pay much attention to her freaque wave encounter when there were only minor damage and injuries. Only when they were torpedoed by the German U-Boat were they managed to become the second most famous case after Titanic.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

100 reasons to contend with!

European Foundation just issued 100 reasons why climate change is nature and not man-made according to this UK Daily Express article. Here are some:
2) Man-made carbon dioxide emissions throughout human history constitute less than 0.00022 percent of the total naturally emitted from the mantle of the earth during geological history.

3) Warmer periods of the Earth’s history came around 800 years before rises in CO2 levels.

4) After World War II, there was a huge surge in recorded CO2 emissions but global temperatures fell for four decades after 1940.

5) Throughout the Earth’s history, temperatures have often been warmer than now and CO2 levels have often been higher – more than ten times as high.
Just this few has already convinced me that the author or authors of this list know scientifically what they are talking about. There are other things on this list may not be scientific reason but facts that alarmists wish to hide from people. For instance these:
11) Politicians and activiists claim rising sea levels are a direct cause of global warming but sea levels rates have been increasing steadily since the last ice age 10,000 ago.
19) A petition by scientists trying to tell the world that the political and media portrayal of global warming is false was put forward in the Heidelberg Appeal in 1992. Today, more than 4,000 signatories, including 72 Nobel Prize winners, from 106 countries have signed it.

33) Today’s CO2 concentration of around 385 ppm is very low compared to most of the earth’s history – we actually live in a carbon-deficient atmosphere
.

44) The historical increase in the air’s CO2 content has improved human nutrition by raising crop yields during the past 150 years.

56) The manner in which US President Barack Obama sidestepped Congress to order emission cuts shows how undemocratic and irrational the entire international decision-making process has become with regards to emission-target setting.

66) The “Climate-gate” scandal revealed that a scientific team had emailed one another about using a “trick” for the sake of concealing a “decline” in temperatures when looking at the history of the Earth’s temperature.

74) To date “cap and trade” carbon markets have done almost nothing to reduce emissions.

89) It is a myth that CO2 is a pollutant, because nitrogen forms 80% of our atmosphere and human beings could not live in 100% nitrogen either: CO2 is no more a pollutant than nitrogen is and CO2 is essential to life.

100) A report by the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change concluded “We find no support for the IPCC’s claim that climate observations during the twentieth century are either unprecedented or provide evidence of an anthropogenic effect on climate.”
Please go read the whole list and ask yourself, why would you ever think scoundrels like Algore and his UN goons can say anything meaningful in the first place.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

3rd Sunday of Advent

Brothers and sisters:
Rejoice in the Lord always.
I shall say it again: rejoice!
Your kindness should be known to all.
The Lord is near.
Have no anxiety at all, but in everything,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,
make your requests known to God.
Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding
will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

(Phil 4:4-7)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Deconstructing Global Warming

I was searching on Youtube for "Hide the decline", by luck or by chance, I came across the following:



the video of a lecture given by MIT Prof. Lindzen in late October. Lindzen was among the 141 scientists demanding scientific proof of man made glabal warming I blogged about yesterday. A good source about the details of this video can be found from here or here. If you can spare 55 minute of your time, this will be the most educationally rewarding experience you'll ever have. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Global warming is not a settled science! Prove it is scientifically if you disagree.

No one in the Obamanian Media report this but there are 141 world true heavy-weight concerned scientists sent a letter to the UN Secretary-General challenging the political notion and demand proof. Here's the letter. American people can now read and make your own decision. No matter what please don't let politicians fool you anymore!

8 December 2009

Dear Secretary-General,

Climate change science is in a period of ‘negative discovery’ - the more we learn about this exceptionally complex and rapidly evolving field the more we realize how little we know. Truly, the science is NOT settled.

Therefore, there is no sound reason to impose expensive and restrictive public policy decisions on the peoples of the Earth without first providing convincing evidence that human activities are causing dangerous climate change beyond that resulting from natural causes. Before any precipitate action is taken, we must have solid observational data demonstrating that recent changes in climate differ substantially from changes observed in the past and are well in excess of normal variations caused by solar cycles, ocean currents, changes in the Earth's orbital parameters and other natural phenomena.

We the undersigned, being qualified in climate-related scientific disciplines, challenge the UNFCCC and supporters of the United Nations Climate Change Conference to produce convincing OBSERVATIONAL EVIDENCE for their claims of dangerous human-caused global warming and other changes in climate. Projections of possible future scenarios from unproven computer models of climate are not acceptable substitutes for real world data obtained through unbiased and rigorous scientific investigation.

Specifically, we challenge supporters of the hypothesis of dangerous human-caused climate change to demonstrate that:

  1. Variations in global climate in the last hundred years are significantly outside the natural range experienced in previous centuries;
  2. Humanity’s emissions of carbon dioxide and other ‘greenhouse gases’ (GHG) are having a dangerous impact on global climate;
  3. Computer-based models can meaningfully replicate the impact of all of the natural factors that may significantly influence climate;
  4. Sea levels are rising dangerously at a rate that has accelerated with increasing human GHG emissions, thereby threatening small islands and coastal communities;
  5. The incidence of malaria is increasing due to recent climate changes;
  6. Human society and natural ecosystems cannot adapt to foreseeable climate change as they have done in the past;
  7. Worldwide glacier retreat, and sea ice melting in Polar Regions , is unusual and related to increases in human GHG emissions;
  8. Polar bears and other Arctic and Antarctic wildlife are unable to adapt to anticipated local climate change effects, independent of the causes of those changes;
  9. Hurricanes, other tropical cyclones and associated extreme weather events are increasing in severity and frequency;
  10. Data recorded by ground-based stations are a reliable indicator of surface temperature trends.

It is not the responsibility of ‘climate realist’ scientists to prove that dangerous human-caused climate change is not happening. Rather, it is those who propose that it is, and promote the allocation of massive investments to solve the supposed ‘problem’, who have the obligation to convincingly demonstrate that recent climate change is not of mostly natural origin and, if we do nothing, catastrophic change will ensue. To date, this they have utterly failed to do so.

Take a look at the list 141 honorable and honest scientists who signed the challenging letter here. They may not be able to break through crooked politicians and their science goons' stone walling. Our life may still be disrupted by the crooks. But at least we know now there are still realistic, honorable and honest scientists exist in this world. So there is hope for the future!

Surf wave is not freaque

Holly Anderson of the SB*NATION has this to say today:
Whatever you're doing right now, it cannot be as cool as what's going on at the Quiksilver Big Wave Invitational in Memory of Eddie Aikau, kicked off today at Waimea Bay on Oahu's north shore. It's an invitational surfing competition that's as rare as it is revered, held only when waves in the bay reach 30 feet in height. Known by its more manageable name, the Eddie, it's named for a beloved local surfer and lifeguard lost at sea in 1978.
For those of us not fortunate to go to Waimea, Hawaii right now, we can still fortunate enough to follow the event on the internet. Here's a picture of group surfing at the wave crest from BBC News:

and here they are, moments later from Korva Coleman of NPR:

Hey they started with six, there's one missing. What happened? Oh well, they all have a good time as these people, again from BBC News:

And so are we!

When a freaque wave hit . . .

What happen when you got hit by a large freaque wave? Well, in the article by Kate Dwyer of Camden Courier has a lively answer:

TAKING ‘Time Out’ proved a risky business for father and son sailors Col and Aaron Purton last week.

The experienced yachtsmen were sailing their newly-purchased Top Hat 25 from Trial Bay to Sydney for renovation in preparation for its future as a family fun cruiser on Sydney Harbour.

After mooring overnight in the Camden Haven they rose early Thursday morning with news of favourable conditions to cross the bar and continue their southward journey.

After crossing the bar safely their yacht ‘Time Out’ was hit by a large freak wave.

“It stood us on our end and we came smashing down,” said Aaron.

Yes, “It stood us on our end and we came smashing down” is one case that had really happened. No one can make it up unless you were there. The father and son sailors in Dwyer's story were lucky, they had a third radio on board. Only their boat "Time Out" sustained some damage that needs to be repaired. There might be plenty of other possibilities that can be worse. We'll never know for certain what might happen when a freaque wave hit. Just be prepared as much as possible and pray!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Freaqueness of climategate reporting

Two weeks ago I blogged a non-freaque wave item on the climategate case that was disturbed the climate science world but not yet in main stream news news. Most of the science news sites: EurekAlert, Science Daily, and New Scientist, for instance are all still not reporting it to this day. It is of interest to note that Science News, which is also not reporting, but interestingly to the news articles on Copenhagen climate change meeting there inevitably propelled some readers comments on climategate nevertheless. Here's a sober example by SN subscriber James Hutchinson:
I agree with the above comments. I have been a subscriber to SN for over 30 years, confident in its reporting. If I do not see in its pages some fair coverage of the genuine scandal that is climategate, I will have no choice but to cancel my subscription. And I recommend everyone who calls him/her self a scientist to do the same. Science MUST NOT be a political tool, no matter the pressure, and science reporting must report, not influence. The truth will out.
I guess I am surprised and disappointed that Science News should allow themselves to fall into a pitiful position they are in now. Another reader has this advice for SN:
This is just disgusting. How can you have this artcle on Copenhagen and not mention that, as has been dicovered by climategate, we may be asking the world to spend billions of dollars for nothing. I know you guys are smarter than this. This is as simple as follow the money. Get off this train before the wreck.
I hope SN and science writers would listen! But I have to go to Pravda to find some sagacious comments by a Mr. Gregory Fegel on what's in store:

‘Climategate’ is not an ordinary case of falsifying data by a few rogue scientists. The fraudulent theory of Global Warming has provided the basis for an international political movement which has the stated goal of completely restructuring the entire global economy based on that fraudulent theory. ‘Global Warming’ is a con game perpetrated by dishonest scientists and the government and corporate leaders who provide the corrupt scientists with opportunities for advancement.

If we fail to stop the further politicization and institutionalization of the fraudulent theory of Global Warming, we will most certainly experience a future of ‘science’ controlled by government decree and of a world government that facilitates the operations of corporate industries while imposing severe restrictions and arbitrary taxes on the general public.

That is a future which would fully justify resistance and rebellion among the international populations who will be the victims of this massive global fraud. If we fail to stop this fraudulent enterprise by legal means, we will certainly have a future of global oppression based on fraud, with its attendant institutionalized crimes, and whatever popular backlash might eventually result.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Rock fisherman survived a freaque wave encounter

This New Zealand case happened two weeks ago as reported by TVNZ:

A man watched in horror as his mate was swept off the rocks at a remote Dunedin fishing spot and drifted out to sea on Wednesday.

After 20 minutes in the chilling sea, 30-year-old Glenn Coleman was picked up by a passing fishing boat.

Both his ankles were broken and he had suffered a badly gashed knee.

Coleman, a freezing worker, and his mate Allen Taylor had taken the day off to go fishing near the lighthouse at Cape Saunders east of the Dunedin.

Taylor has told the Otago Daily Times how he saw Coleman lifted off the rocks by a rogue wave and dragged out to sea.

He said he felt "so helpless" as he had nothing to throw to Coleman to assist him and was "not that flash a swimmer".

Taylor ran for 20 minutes to reach an area with cellphone coverage and called police, who contacted a nearby fishing boat, which then picked up Coleman.

The man had been carried about 100m out to sea.

Both ankles broken and a badly gashed knee, but Mr. Coleman is lucky to be alive and there's a fishing boat nearby, thanks to his friend Mr. Taylor who ran for 20 minutes for help. This case demonstrated once again the importance of never, ever be out there alone! Being "swept off the rocks " by a wave is something to be expected -- not unexpected. I assume they all wore life jackets. That's another "must" no matter what! Thank God for these lucky survival stories, we can be lucky but we have to make certain and taking all the necessary precautions!

2nd Sunday of Advent

A voice of one crying out in the desert:
“Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths.
Every valley shall be filled
and every mountain and hill shall be made low.
The winding roads shall be made straight,
and the rough ways made smooth,
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”

(Lk 3:4-6)

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Happened at HMAS Canberra site

One of the typical reportage of freaque wave cases in the news is just the mention of freaque wave as the culprit but without any details. The report today in Herald Sun of Australia by David Hastie is no exception:
A FREAK wave has capsized the first dive boat to moor at the controversial HMAS Canberra site, which opened this morning.

Four people on board the 7m boat were swept into the water early this morning after the vessel capsized off the coast of Ocean Grove.

The coastguard was required to haul the dive team and their boat back to Queenscliff.

No one was injured, police said.

We have no doubt that it happened and it was a freaque wave that might have caused it. I guess it will be too much to expect further informations beyond what was reported. It's just not amenable to be useful for any possible scientific studies. Anyway, the good news from this brief news is that "No one was injured"! Hope we can say the same for all cases.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Simulating wave hitting ocean platform

In the ITWire this morning, there's the following report by William Atkins:
Australian scientists at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) have created virtual ocean waves over twenty meters tall in order to test how different types of oil and gas rigs withstand the real monster waves that impact them in the open sea.

These virtually designed ocean waves crash into virtually made semi-submersible oil and gas production platforms in order to compare how the different mooring designs stand up to the force of the impacts.

The offshore platforms (sometimes also called oil and gas rigs) are large structures that house workers and equipment needed to drill wells into the ocean bed.

The wells are then used to extract oil or natural gas for processing on the mainland. These platforms may be fixed to the ocean floor or may float on the ocean surface.

The oil and gas rigs have to withstand rogue waves, which are sometimes also commonly called monster waves, killer waves, and other such descriptive names. These monster waves are extra large ocean surface waves that are serious threats to offshore platforms, along with ships sailing the seas.
The article was based on CSIRO news release and this image page where the following video was downloaded.

video

This is a very impressive computer simulation of what might happen when a freaque wave hits the platform. The question immediately come to my mind is how realistic this simulation can be? One can nitpicking about the wave was not breaking and lack of follow up waves. But this is a brilliant start. The important issue remains to be that we don't know what is really happening out there. Measurements and more measurements are pressingly needed to help improve this kind of studies. More important is that single point measurements as presently practiced will be most definitely inadequate and may even be useless for realistic freaque wave studies. When can we expect new generation of wave measurements to re-energize the true ocean wave studies?

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

The Ellan Vannin Tragedy

The Liverpool Echo of U.K. has an article today by Peter Elson reporting the tragedy of Ellan Vannin 100 years ago:

IT was not a maritime tragedy on a par with the Titanic or Lusitania. But in its own way, the dreadful fate of the Manx steamer Ellan Vannin and the 36 souls who died in her, deserve to be remembered just as keenly.

Tomorrow is the centenary of this little ship’s mysterious sinking, within sight of Crosby on December 3, 1909.

with this detail:

Ellan Vannin, sailing from Ramsey, Isle of Man, to Liverpool was overwhelmed by a freak wave in one of the worst storms of the century.

A force-11 hurricane gale sent 25ft high waves crashing over Mersey Bar, where she foundered.

In the list of freaque wave encounters I compiled when I first started this blog, this case was missed from the list. The list was later published in Geofizika, 24(1), 2007 also with this case missing. Now the list has been added and an addendum to the publication will be prepared.

The case is clearly well known locally in the Liverpool, Irish Sea area. I found the following Youtube song by the Spinners:




In particular I would like to use these lines from the song:
Less than a mile from the Bar lightship,
By a mighty wave Ellen Vannen was hit.
She sank in the waters of Liverpool Bay,
And there she lies until this day.
to commemorate the tragic case caused by a freaque wave 100 years ago.

As a matter of fact, here's New York Times reporting this case on December 5, 1909:

Somehow New York Times was not very accurate with numbers even 100 years ago. There were 15 passengers and 21 crew members for a total of 36 souls as reported in Liverpool Echo above. Has New York Times ever been trustworthy?


Update 12/4/2009

This from today's Liverpool Daily Post:

IT WAS only a rose, but each blood-red bloom represented a lost soul. In all, 36 roses were cast over the side of the Mersey ferry Snowdrop to mark the deaths of 36 people lost on the Manx steamer, Ellan Vannin.

Yesterday’s remembrance service was 100 years to the day the small steamer was overwhelmed by a freak wave at the Mersey Bar.

The 21 crew and 14 passengers were sailing from Ramsey, IoM, on December 3, 1909, and witnesses saw the ship’s lights snuffed out as she foundered off Crosby.

. . .

The Steam Packet owned Ellan Vannin and, as the tragedy was the worst Manx maritime disaster, her name was never reused.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

1st Sunday of Advent


Jesus said to his disciples:
“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars,
and on earth nations will be in dismay,
perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves.
People will die of fright
in anticipation of what is coming upon the world,
for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
And then they will see the Son of Man
coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
But when these signs begin to happen,
stand erect and raise your heads
because your redemption is at hand.

“Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy
from carousing and drunkenness
and the anxieties of daily life,
and that day catch you by surprise like a trap.
For that day will assault everyone
who lives on the face of the earth.
Be vigilant at all times
and pray that you have the strength
to escape the tribulations that are imminent
and to stand before the Son of Man.”

(Lk 21:25-28, 34-36)



Update:

Pope Benedict XVI's address at the St Peter Square, in part:
The Lord Jesus came in the past, he comes in the present and will come in the future. He embraces all the dimensions of time, because he died and rose, he is "the Living One" and, sharing our human precariousness, remains forever and offers us God's very stability. He is "flesh" like us, and is "rock" like God.

Whoever desires liberty, justice and peace may now lift himself up, and raise his head, because in Christ liberation is close (cf. Luke 21:28) -- as we read in today's Gospel. Hence, we can affirm that Jesus Christ does not only look at Christians, or only at believers, but at all men, because he, who is the center of faith, is also the foundation of hope. He is the hope that every human being constantly needs.

Dear brothers and sisters, the Virgin Mary fully incarnates the humanity that lives in hope based on faith in the living God. She is the Virgin of Advent; she is well-rooted in the present, in the "today" of salvation; she keeps in her heart all the past promises; and they extend to future fulfillment. Let us enter her school, to truly enter this time of grace and to welcome, with joy and responsibility, the coming of God to our personal and social history.
-- Amen

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The death of J. D. Farrell

In this blog we have seen a plethora of tragic cases that freaque waves swiped victims from shore in all kinds of nearshore places, at all kinds of times of the day all around the world ocean. Today we add another victim that had happened 30 years ago to a well-known British novelist, James Gordon Farrell (1935-1979). In Wikipedia Farrell's death was described this way:
. . . In 1979 Farrell decided to quit London to take up residence on the Sheep's Head
peninsula in southwestern Ireland. A few months later he drowned in Bantry Bay, apparently while angling.
In an article discussing a new book on JG Farrell's works, writer Brian Lynch provided some details on Farrell's death in the Independent.ie today:

Thirty years ago, in August 1979, 15 people died during a terrible storm that struck the Fastnet yacht race. The former British prime minister Ted Heath, a keen sailor and a participant in the race, very nearly died too. On the same day, but in relatively calm conditions, a man fishing on the rocks at Kilcrohane in Cork was swept away by a freak wave and drowned. Onlookers say that the man did not struggle in the water but seemed to accept his fate calmly.

This strangely unforgettable death was suffered by the then 44-year-old James Gordon Farrell, the author of three novels, . . .
Clearly 1979 was many years before "freaque wave" had become a popular media concept in connection with describing those drowning tragedies. But Lynch's new sketch on the historical case certainly makes sense -- at least not surprising from this blog's point of view. Lynch, a poet himself, described the last moment of Farrell rather poetically as "accept his fate calmly". How does a victim accept his or her fate when they known that they have become an inevitable victim anyway? We have been convinced that onshore freaque waves can happen any time at any place all around. Other than some Coastguard groups' perfunctory warnings, no one can predict or prevent it's happening. No one is even try to do any realistic study or measurement at the present. May be fate is the operating word here, since science certainly has not been able to do anything meaningful yet!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Big wave surfing picture

It's always exciting to see surfing pictures. Here's one in the Maui News today:


The picture was taken Wednesday by Ron Dahlquist of big wave surfer Archie Kalepa nears the bottom of a monster wave at the Jaws surf spot in Peahi.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

A Mr. Christopher Kocourek sent the following message on 21 November 2001:
Hi all,
Let us not forget to count our blessings and give
thanks to God who has blessed this great nation of ours.
In spite of 9-11, this nation enjoys the greatest
freedom and liberty that the world has ever known,
and there's no other place and/or time I'd rather be.
Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!

Christopher Kocourek
Tool & Die Designer
Flextronics Enclosure Systems
which I found from here and I think it is still the best and most concise and completely meaningful Thanksgiving messages ever. Yes, let us all have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Evil acts in Climate Research

Something disturbing in the climate science world has come to light in the last few days shocked the science world in general but still unknown to many people because a lot of media elements still are trying to pretend nothing has happened. It is hard to put it in a nutshell, but I think John Lott of FOXNews did successfully provided a super concise summary to begin his article:
Science depends on good quality of data. It also relies on replication and sharing data. But the last couple of days have uncovered some shocking revelations. Computer hackers have obtained 160 megabytes of e-mails from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in England. These e-mails, which have now been confirmed as real, involved many researchers across the globe with ideologically similar advocates around the world. They were brazenly discussing the destruction and hiding of data that did not support global warming claims. The academics here also worked closely with the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
There's one minor correction needed in the above paragraph, the size of the emails is 60 megabytes not 160.

As a proud data analyst myself, I am particularly sensitive to the cases of playing games with data. I think altering, messaging, creating, hiding, or destructing scientific data in scientific studies represent pure shame and even evil. All scientist should be outraged by the evildoings disclosed in the Climate Research Unit. I can excuse Algore because he's an idiot, knows nothing about science. But these people are trained scientist, they have no excuses and they should be all kicked out of science once and for all!

On the brighter side, however, these evil actions clearly and unmistakably demonstrated that their contention is wrong since they can only resort to fraudulent falsehoods to substantiate them, so there is really no anthropogenic global warming what so ever. UN IPCC should now be summarily abolished or disbanded!

Lucky angler in his own words

Three months ago, Tom Shiel reported this news in the Irish Times entitled "'Lucky' angler rescued off Achill":

A MAN who slipped and fell into the sea while shore angling on Achill Island, Co Mayo, on Saturday survived by treading water for about 90 minutes until a rescue helicopter winched him to safety.

The man, who did not have a lifejacket or other buoyancy aid, had to contend with strong currents.

“He certainly is a very lucky man,” said one rescuer yesterday, who did not wish to be named.

The man, who was later treated for hypothermia at Mayo General Hospital, is in his 40s and is visiting Achill.

He went shore fishing at a place known locally as White Stone Quarry near Dugort on the north side of Achill Island with a companion on Saturday.

Shortly after 2pm, the man slipped into the sea and could not get out because of a steep, slippery incline. Sea conditions were rough at the time with a force four or force five wind blowing.

The man, who is from the Birmingham area of England, was quickly swept out to sea by a strong current.

Yesterday the Mayo News published the details in the angler's own words:
Patrick Williamson, from Sutton Coldfield near Birmingham, was fishing along the rocks at the back of Whitestone Quarry at Slievemore on the north side of Achill Island. He tells The Mayo News how his life flashed before his eyes when a wave dragged him out to sea before he was rescued by the Achill Island Coastguard.

I WAS over in Ireland for a three week period for a conference in Kerry for the National Federation of Demolition Contractors, which I chair. My wife Jacqueline (nee McNamara) is from Achill and I travelled there on Friday to do a bit of fishing at the back of Slievemore. I had a colleague with me and at about 2pm a freak wave came on the rocks and caught the back of my legs and I slid into the water. The alarm was raised about five minutes later by my colleague.
There was a strong current and I couldn’t get out of the water and the tide was turning which pushed me further and further out. I was trying to keep afloat but it was hard and it felt like someone was dragging at my ankles. I was terrified and exhausted and I was saying to myself to just keep on top of the waves and not go under. I have to say that what people say about near death experiences and their life flashing through their eyes is all true. While I was in the water I just kept recounting all I did in my life.

I thought I was a goner but when I saw the orange jackets on the shore and saw them waving to me it gave me encouragement to hold on for a while longer. The Coastguard dinghy came up beside me and I was winched into the helicopter and brought to Mayo General Hospital in Castlebar. At the time I did not realise how ill I was until I was told my body temperature was 26 degrees when it should be 38. I also lost a stone and a half while I was in the water. I was five days in Intensive Care suffering from hypothermia and the list of things that could have killed me if I was in the water for much longer was so long, it was hard to believe.

I am so glad to be alive today but I wouldn’t have made it without the heroes in the Achill Coastguard. They are all volunteers and they all risked their life to help me and I have to say they deserve all the praise they get. They are a credit to the island of Achill and deserve better facilities than they have.”
All it happened was "a freak wave came on the rocks and caught the back of my legs and I slid into the water", yes, it's that simple. It happens just in that very brief of a moment. Mr. Williamson was very lucky indeed. We congratulate for his luck and we are grateful to hear his real story during that brief moment in his own words. The harsh danger of being on those rocky shore and beaches just can not be over emphasized!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Indonesian ferry disaster

The Indonesian ferry boat sinking disaster yesterday is now world wide news as typified by this AFP report:

TANJUNG BALAI, Indonesia — The captain of an Indonesian ferry which sank killing 29 people rejected claims of overcrowding Monday and blamed a freak storm for the disaster, as officials launched an investigation.

The search for survivors from the Dumai Express resumed for a second day off Karimun island, near Singapore, amid fears scores of people could be lost at sea or trapped in the wreck at the bottom of the Malacca Strait.

With the official toll standing at 29 dead and 250 rescued, officials arrived at Karimun to try to piece together what caused the latest in a litany of ferry disasters in Indonesia, an archipelago of 17,000 islands.

The 147-tonne vessel's capacity was 273 passengers and crew, but local police said more than 400 people could have been on board. Two survivors told AFP its decks were packed with undocumented passengers.

Here's the ferry captain's contention:
Captain Johan Napitupulu rejected the allegations and said he had no warning he was sailing into a massive storm when he left Batam island on Sunday morning.

"The weather was fine when we left Batam port. There was no sign of rain and we also didn't get any warning from anybody saying the weather could turn bad at sea," he told AFP.

"About half an hour later the weather suddenly turned really, really bad. The waves were higher than two metres (six feet), the winds and currents were strong."

The captain said the crew had done all it could to arrange lifeboats and life-jackets for the terrified passengers.

"The ferry was sinking fast, front first. Within 27 minutes it was totally submerged... There was panic, everyone was screaming," Napitupulu said.

The word "freaque", representing either freak or rogue, to a large extent implies some happening that's basically unexpected. The captain is not first one to blame the disaster on a freaque storm -- which means that the storm was unexpected. Now I can be persuaded that a wave comes up unexpectedly, but an unexpected storm is a little far fetched for me. It may not be predicted by the weather people, but a quick storm comes up quickly in the open ocean is something to be expected for the alert sailors if they kept an eye on the air when they are out there. Isn't keeping an eye on the air and weather the job of the ferry boat captain?

Expect the unexpected should be an axiom for everyone especially sailors. Some one has called freaque waves as unexpected waves recently. I think that could be a misnomer. Unexpected things always happen. I have began to feel that freaque waves should be "expected waves" rather than "unexpected waves". Because when one treats it as expected, then one would always be alert and prepared for its occurrence. I have recently noticed some discussion on "unexpectedness" which seems to be some new thinking into the rare occurring cases. I did not see any actual numbers yet, but it appears to me intuitively that unexpectedness must be a very large number. Only the expectedness (probably there is no such word yet) can be correlated with the general conceptual basis of rare occurrence. Freaque waves, and freaque storms for that matter, are expected albeit with very small "expectedness"!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Psalm 93 : 3-4

The flood has raised up, LORD;
the flood has raised up its roar;
the flood has raised its pounding waves.

More powerful than the roar of many waters,
more powerful than the breakers of the sea,
powerful in the heavens is the LORD.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Gigantic waves in eastern Atlantic Ocean

The ephotozine today has a message for big wave fun photographers: "If you're a fan of big waves you need to get yourself to the west coast of England this weekend as some big swells are forecast." with the following enticing pictures:

and this advice:
Although strong wind is always an accompanying force along with big waves, it is the increasing swell heights building in the mid Atlantic that are the most important to the photographer. Waves are predicted to be in excess of 30-40ft, but it’s the rogue waves that should be looked out for. Every twelfth or thirteenth wave seems to pack that extra ingredient, so with the right composition some truly spectacular images can be captured.
I am wondering how do they arrived at the "every twelfth or thirteenth wave seems to pack that extra ingredient" statement. Anyway it should be a place for big wave aficionados.

I also found this Youtube video of Longships Lighthouse took on the morning of March 10, 2008:



and this one "taken on the 7th of december 2007 in "Raz de Sein" at the western tip of France, in Brittany, on a (very) stormy day"!



More info on the lighthouses can be found here.

Happy wave watching!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tragedy at North Carolina beach

The peril of a simple walking on the beach is manifested again from this report by Jeb Phillips in the Columbus Dispatch this morning:

A West Side woman on vacation at North Carolina's Outer Banks drowned Sunday after a wave knocked her down and she inhaled water.

Wilma Froggatt, 63, was walking on the beach with her husband and a friend after days of being cooped up by bad weather, said David Froggatt, Wilma's husband of 46 years.

The Froggatts had arrived in the community of Rodanthe with another couple the previous Monday, and remnants of Hurricane Ida had begun hitting the Outer Banks on Wednesday. A part of the highway serving the area was washed out on Thursday.

The roughest conditions had passed by Sunday, and the Froggatts and their friend went to the Rodanthe beach in the early afternoon, Mr. Froggatt said. They were near a sandbag barrier when a "rogue wave" hit, he said. It knocked his wife down, and she began sliding toward the water. As he went after her, another wave drenched them both.

Mr. Froggatt was able to pull his wife away from the ocean, but she had trouble breathing. She managed to talk for a few minutes.

"She told me, 'I'm not going to make it,' " he said. "She told me she loved me."

By the time the first emergency responders arrived, she had lost consciousness, said Mike Daugherty, chief of the Chicamacomico Banks Fire Department. Daugherty was one of those first responders.

Mrs. Froggatt was taken to a Rodanthe helicopter pad and then flown to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital in Norfolk, Va., where she was pronounced dead. The chief medical examiner's office in the Tidewater District ruled the death an accidental drowning.

She had always loved to travel, especially to the East Coast, her husband said, and had a positive outlook on life.

"She was a wonderful companion," he said. "She was the rock of my life."

Our heartfelt sympathy and condolences go to Mr. Froggatt and his family and friends. The kind of freaque wave hit can not be considered as uncommon, but the damage it caused is of immeasurable human tragedy that no one should expect to suffer. Similar things happen all the time all around the globe. We don't know how to prevent it or predict its happening. We need more measurements for real research all around which are not presently available. A few academic textbook or computer exercises are grossly inadequate. When will the power that be be expected to pay attention to this kind of research needs?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Warnings on wave watching!

Wave watching is exciting -- only if you are certain at a safe distance away from the action. Here's a picture of watching waves at the Portland Bill near the southern central Dorset, England north side of the English Channel

as published in the DorsetEcho with the following report:

FAMILIES risked their lives to get a closer look at the monster waves hitting Portland during hurricane winds, coastguards said.

The Portland Bill Coastguard Rescue Team found hundreds of people had clambered over flood defences designed to keep them a safe distance back from 30-foot-high waves described as the roughest in 10 years at Chesil Cove.

They were shocked to find parents and their children among those strolling along the beach seemingly unaware that a wave could climb the beach and drag them into the stormy seas at any moment Coastguard and flood bailiff Bob Naerger said: “It was madness. One day somebody is going to lose their life down here.

“It is quite something to see down here and nobody wants to stop them looking at the waves but just be more responsible.”

Mr Naerger said he helped one girl aged five or six over the sea wall who told him she was ‘really scared’.

He added: “Parents don’t realise they are putting their lives at risk as I don’t think they’ve got a clue what the consequences could be.

“I don’t know what goes through their heads.”

A team of four coastguards warned people to stay behind the flood defences as waves threw pieces of wood and pebbles the size of tennis balls on to the beach and promenade.

Coastguard Nick Gould said: “All of a sudden you would get a rogue one and that could catch you out. You could be whipped off your feet and dragged down and then you are gone.”

Mr Gould said children were most at risk.

He added: “It was very careless behaviour because people with kids on the sea wall were letting them run around.

“You don’t need a big wave to wash a little kiddy away.

“There were people putting their kids over the floodgates and they need to be aware they are putting lives at risk.”

Nigel McColm, Portland Bill Coastguard station officer, branded the behaviour as ‘stupid’ in what he said was the ‘roughest sea at Chesil in 10 years’.

He said: “I liken it to playing football on the Dorchester bypass. If you get dragged into the sea you’ve got no chance of getting out.

“When those waves come up over the beach and it all drags back the pebbles you’ve got a hell of a drag going back with the pebbles.”

A coastguard spokesman said they recorded storm force 10 at Portland on Saturday and are expecting up to gale force 8 again this week.

I am wondering why people tend to ignore the obvious dangers involved. Mr. Gould of Coastguard gave very sober warning that everyone should remember first and foremost: “All of a sudden you would get a rogue one and that could catch you out. You could be whipped off your feet and dragged down and then you are gone.” That kind of things had been happened so many times all around the world, it is really no excuse not to be aware especially for family with small children. Wave watching is really not fun and game at any rate!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Today's Gospel

Jesus said to his disciples:
"In those days after that tribulation
the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light,
and the stars will be falling from the sky,
and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.

"And then they will see 'the Son of Man coming in the clouds'
with great power and glory,
and then he will send out the angels
and gather his elect from the four winds,
from the end of the earth to the end of the sky.

"Learn a lesson from the fig tree.
When its branch becomes tender and sprouts leaves,
you know that summer is near.
In the same way, when you see these things happening,
know that he is near, at the gates.
Amen, I say to you,
this generation will not pass away
until all these things have taken place.
Heaven and earth will pass away,
but my words will not pass away.

"But of that day or hour, no one knows,
neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."

(Mk 13:24-32)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A case happened in Japan

This case reported by CKWS TV of Kingston, Ontario that was just happened in Japan but not much details, just these:
A dramatic rescue from Japan, 28 people were plucked from a sinking ship off the coast of Japan. The crew said a rogue wave hit them thirty kilometers from shore, forcing the ship onto it'a side. The Japanses Coast Guard sent three helicopters and six vessels to the scene and saved everybody.
The last statement about "saved everybody" is certainly music to everyone's ears.Good job for Japanese Coast Guard!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Remembering SS Edmund Fitzgerald with Mr. Lightfoot

It's November and inevitably we'll remember SS Edmund Fitzgerald again. It remains to be the victim of freaque waves, even though we can never verify it by any means. The sad story remains to be favorite pursuit of medias. Over the past year there was someone from Canada interested in making another program about Fitzgerald and contacted me about freaque waves speculations. I declined to respond since I don't think there's anything new to talk about. Here again 34 years later, we'll never forget the tragedy that happened. Thanks to Youtube, let's remember her with Mr. Lightfoot:



The lyrics of the song can be found here. Here's the last stanza:
The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
Of the big lake they call Gitche Gumee
Superior, they say, never gives up her dead
When the gales of November come early.
A fabulous memorial page is given here at Echoes of History completes with the list of 29 crews that were lost on that voyage with Mr. Lightfoot read out all 29 names. Highly recommended!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Reading I

The jar of flour shall not go empty,
nor the jug of oil run dry,
until the day when the LORD sends rain upon the earth.

(1 Kgs 17:14)

Friday, November 06, 2009

Star fish tragedy

Here's something which is not meant to be funny, but it might be:

Local Scientists still remain baffled about how and why tens of thousands of star fish became washed up on Lissadell beach in Sligo yesterday.

Between 20-50,000 of the fully formed adult of the species measuring between 3-8 inches in diameter appeared on the strand.

No explanation has surfaced as yet but the Department of Environment, heritage and local Government believe that they were as a result of a storm or freak wave.

It was reported by Ocean FM of Ireland. We know freaque waves can swipe someone on the beach shore into the ocean. But swipe 20 to 50 thousands star fishes from the ocean to the beach by a freaque wave? Well, you learn something new each day!

By the way here are the poor star fishes from Belfast Telegraph:

Freaque waves can do all that?

Munscong Bay storm

This is an awesome happy-ending story that happens in the eastern Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Freaque wave may have played a cameo role here. The story reported as a staff report in the Sault Ste. Marie Evening News:
Munuscong -

MUNUSCONG BAY — For three friends from downstate a quiet duck hunt on Munuscong Bay turned into a battle for their lives on Friday, October 30.
“It was a quiet hunt, with none of us even taking our safety off. However it was pleasurable nonetheless, just to be out on the bay in one of my favorite places,” said Alonzo Knowles of Traverse City of the hunting trip with his two friends, Simon Joseph of Lake Ann and Kyle Marshall of Elk Rapids, and his dog, “Maisey.”
At the beginning of their hunt the weather was warm but very windy — out of the south at 30-plus mph. On their journey from Barbeau to Sand Island, they experienced 2 to 3 foot waves, which Knowles said aren’t uncommon on the bay and their boat handled it well.
“But our trip back was entirely different,” Knowles said.
Immediately after rounding the north point of Sand Island, the hunters realized that the waves were larger and were coming across the bow instead of beside the boat.
“In the dark, it was hard to tell that the waves had grown quite as much as they had,” Knowles said. “When we took our first wave over the bow of our boat, it was already too late.”

Knowles continued, “Maybe it was a rogue wave, but whatever the case, two more waves followed it and within 30 seconds we were swamped and going down.”
After another 30 seconds they were capsized and the three friends and the dog were in the cold water.
“It was an extremely unnerving moment for all of us,” Knowles said. “After 20 years hunting Munuscong and 30 years of chasing ducks on the Great Lakes, dangerous possibilities are always in the back of your mind, but it is not something that you want to dwell on.”
Fortunately, Knowles cellular phone was kept dry when they capsized. He had get just enough cell signal to get off a 911 call on which he gave their coordinates. Then the phone was thoroughly soaked and dead.
“The next two hours were the longest of all our lives,” Knowles said. “In retrospect, I was fortunate to be with two other strong, calm minded individuals who stepped up and displayed nothing less than heroic efforts towards our group’s survival.
“At some point around an hour or so into our ordeal,” Knowles added, “my dog Maisey, slipped off the bottom of our boat, and that was the last we saw of her. I can’t quite explain how we were able to hold onto the bottom of that boat, which was submerged below the water somewhat. The waves were crashing over us constantly and in 46 degree water our arms and legs were becoming non-responsive and with our core temps coming down. We realized it was only a matter of time before hypothermia would take hold and completely disable us.”
After receiving the 911 call, emergency crews were dispatched from the Sault and surrounding areas. Rescue teams from the U.S. Coast Guard from Sector Sault, the Michigan DNR, Michigan State Police, the Chippewa County Sheriff’s Department and the Traverse City Coast Guard base. Also, when private citizens heard the distress call on the scanner, they helped with the search and rescue.
“I’m not sure exactly how many people were involved,” Knowles said. “But each responder selflessly put his life on the line for us that night. They fought through 3-5 foot waves, 30-plus mph winds and periods of fog to save our lives. Without their efforts, I question whether we would be alive today.”
After two hours in the water, the hunters were rescued by MSP Trooper Dan Rambo, Chippewa County Sheriff’s Deputy Kip Moeggenborg and one other officer whose name Knowles did not get.
“Shaking uncontrollably from the onset of hypothermia on the bottom of our boat, much of the ride back to shore was a blur to me,” Knowles said. “We were greeted by an ambulance with warm blankets open arms and smiling faces.
“Never in my life have I been so humbled,” Knowles added. “Thanks to the efforts of all involved, a most successful outcome was achieved. Not only had we been rescued, I was also informed that the word had gone out that my 18-month-old, yellow lab was lost in the marsh.”
Rambo and Moeggenborg went out of their way to get the word out to the local community about Maisey.
Concerned Barbeau residents mobilized their efforts and spent countless hours walking the shoreline, wading the swamps, and searching the marsh by boat. On Sunday morning, after 36 hours in the marsh, Maisey and Knowles were reunited. They found her after driving down several miles of flooded two tracks off of 18 Mile Road.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you!,” Knowles said. “Never could I have imagined an outcome like this. I can’t begin to express how thankful we all are for your combined efforts.”

It is a simple heart warming story. But we just can't help enjoy the happy-ending to a dreadful situation that stated by waves. Yes, it might have been a freaque one. But it does not matter one way or the other. Things can happen regardless what it was!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Oasis of the Seas

Here she is, the Oasis of the Seas, the world's largest cruise ship according to this livescience report by their senior writer Jeanna Bryner. The ship "stands 20 stories high, is as long as four football fields, and can accommodate 5,400 guests at double occupancy". Specifically she is also "1,180 feet long and displaces 100,000 tons" of water and " can hold 225,282 gross registered tons". Furthermore, for stability the ship is made very wide at 217 feet, which is of course not able to go through the 105 feet wide Panama Canal.

Of particular interest to me is the following discussion in the article:
. . . rogue waves are always a concern. Rogue waves are rare but towering problems that can soar 100 feet and are known to sink large cargo ships. Scientists have only recently begun to figure out what's behind the once-mythical waves. A study in 2008 suggested that in rare circumstances, waves that would normally cancel each other out can combine to form tall monsters in quick fashion.

The Oasis is no low-riding cargo ship, however.

"If it was struck by one I would expect there to be some local damage at the point of impact — maybe some broken portholes or bent railings, but little else," Collette said. "All ships are designed to make the chance of large-scale structural collapse very remote."

Hope the Oasis of the Seas will never face with the freaque waves problem. The article consulted Matthew Collette, assistant professor of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering at the University of Michigan. This fine article is very informational as well as educational. A good reading from the always superb Live Science collections!

Update

USA Today reports on November 6, 2009:
Royal Caribbean's much-ballyhooed, record-size Oasis of the Seas has hit extreme weather this week as it makes it way across the Atlantic to its new home in Fort Lauderdale. Here, the captain of the vessel, William Wright, talks about encountering nearly hurricane force winds and seas over 40 feet high.
Here's the video: