Real-time Earth and Moon phase

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Reading II today

All good giving and every perfect gift is from above,
coming down from the Father of lights,
with whom there is no alteration or shadow caused by change.
He willed to give us birth by the word of truth
that we may be a kind of first fruits of his creatures.
Know this, my dear brothers: everyone should be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath,
for the wrath of a man does not accomplish the righteousness of God.
Therefore, put away all filth and evil excess and humbly welcome the word that has been planted in you and is able to save your souls.
Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves.

(Jas, 1:17-23)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Rescue off Esperance, Western Australia

Over at the south coastal city Esperance of Western Australia, PerthNow reports another successful rescue and happy-ending story:

A FATHER and son survived more than two hours in the ocean off Esperance after their boat was sunk by a freak wave yesterday.

The pair, aged 59 and 29, were fishing about 140km east of Esperance yesterday afternoon when their 4.5m dinghy was swamped and sank in waters off Cape Arid National Park.

Police and members of the Esperance Volunteer Marine Rescue drove to the park while a rescue vessel and helicopter began the sea search after authorities in Canberra picked up EPIRB distress signal at about 1.50pm.

The pair swam almost 2km before spotted from the helicopter about 300m from shore off Sandy Bight at about 4pm.

A flotation aid was dropped to the men, who were able swim to shore where they were met by rescue teams.

The pair was treated for mild hypothermia by a volunteer ambulance crew before being taken to Esperance District Hospital, where they were assessed before being released.

Police say the men were lucky not to have died at sea and the rescue highlighted the importance of having new 406MHz EPIRBs which have replaced earlier models.

Their vessel has not been located.

Here's a video from Nine News show the rescued father and son pair tell their story. The key to this happy ending story is clearly the EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon). For us outsiders, here's the map of the southwest part of Australia shown in the video where the rescue took place:

Thanks to the surfer as rescuer

Surfers are out there enjoying themselves. They are not expected to serve as rescuers. But at some time and some place, chance may avails for a surfer to act heroic and carried out rescue operation. That's bonus in life, we can not depend on it, but it sure happens!

And it just happened yesterday at Ocean City, Maryland in the aftermath of hurricane Bill. A heart warming story of the heroic act of a heroic surfer just reported in Ocean City Maryland News by Bryan Russo:

Twenty-six-year-old Nick Wilson merely wanted to catch a few waves left over from Hurricane Bill as he had surfed all weekend on the summer’s biggest waves and traveled to 122nd Street in Ocean City Sunday evening for one final session.

Instead, Wilson says that he quickly realized that the heaviest paddling that he would do all weekend was to catch up with three “probably 10-12-year-old kids” who were swept away from the shallow waters by a strong rip current.

“I was waiting for a wave, and I saw this rip current forming, and it was the biggest one that I had seen all weekend,” said Wilson, “I had seen these three young kids in the water, and they got caught in this kind of rogue wave and were totally swept away. Within literally 15 or 20 seconds, they were almost out farther than I was to catch waves, and no one looked like they were coming for them.”

Wilson said that he pulled the one girl onto his surfboard about 60-70 feet from the shore and instructed the boy to grab onto the board as they paddled over to the third little girl in distress.

With two children on his board, Wilson said that he instructed he helped get the third girl out of the current and she swam alongside his board while he paddled the other two back to the shore.

“They were pretty scared, but at least they were strong swimmers,” said Wilson. “It all happened so fast that by the time we were almost back to the shore, the parents were only in the water up to their knees screaming for help.”

What a surfer, with calm and cool mind, that Mr. Wilson!

Here's what the police has to say:

Ocean City Beach Patrol Captain Butch Arbin was just a few blocks away at the popular “Sundaes in the Park” concert series at Northside Park when he received a call at approximately 7:15 p.m. from the emergency dispatchers informing him of three swimmers in distress.

“We went with lights and sirens and by the time we got there, the surfer had the kids almost back to the shoreline,” said Arbin. “If that surfer hadn’t miraculously been at that exact spot at that exact time, this story might not have had a happy ending.”

Happiness is to hear a heroic act and a happy-ending story!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Happening at Thunder Hole in Maine

Here's a breaking news that's happening at Thunder Hole in Acadia National Park, Maine reported by WIFR:

The U.S. Coast Guard says three people have been rescued after being swept out to sea by a rogue wave from Hurricane Bill at a park in Maine.

Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Shane Coxon says a man, a woman and a 7-year-old girl were pulled from the water Sunday at Thunder Hole in Acadia National Park.

Coxon says other people are believed to be still lost in the waves but did not know how many. The National Park Service had said earlier Sunday that at least three people were missing. Coast Guard helicopters and rescue boats have been conducting searches.

Coxon says the girl was unresponsive when she was rescued, the woman appeared to have a broken leg and the man had a previous heart condition that appeared to be acting up.

The statement "a rogue wave from Hurricane Bill" may be a little on the broad and subjective side. Until more detail information becomes available, let's pray for the best and safer outcome for all the people involved.


Update 08/24/2009

The 7-year old girl who was unresponsive when she was rescued has confirmed died in the subsequent news that has since reported worldwide by now. She the only casualty of this instance blamed on this freaque large wave that swept a group of spectators out to sea at the Maine Park. Most of the reports say that the wave was "fueled" by weakening Hurricane Bill. Our heart and prayers go solemnly to the little girl and her family, may God's love and mercy be with her and her family.

Here's a separate video released by Associate Press showing a dramatic successful rescue proceeding:



New York Times published this picture, credited to Glenn Tucker/Bangor Daily News via Associated Press, which is clearly from the same rescue case:

Boston.com has this more detailed video reporting:




Update 08/25/2009

Under the title "Drawn girl a NY Angel" by Erin Calabrese and Leonard Greene, the New York Post today published the human side of this tragic story which is very, very sad:

The little girl who drowned after being swept out to sea while vacationing with her parents in Maine was identified yesterday as a Manhattan youngster who had been adopted from China as a baby.

She was the shining light of her parents' lives, neighbors on the Upper East Side said yesterday.

Adorable Clio Axilrod, 7, was missing in the turbulent ocean for nearly three hours Sunday before the Coast Guard pulled her from the roiling water off Maine's Acadia National Park.

She and her parents had gone to the park along with thousands of others to watch Mother Nature's spectacular display of crashing waves.

Her investment-banker dad, Peter Axilrod, 55 -- who once worked for the Federal Reserve -- also was swept out by a giant wave, while mom Sandra Kuhach, 51, was tossed against jagged rocks.

Both were hospitalized.

"Clio was the light of their lives," said family friend Susan Sperber. "She was adored . . . and their only child."

The surge from Hurricane Bill reached more than 100 feet beyond the shoreline and struck terrified spectators before dragging Clio, her dad and a girl from Maine into the churning sea.

Peter Axilrod and the other girl were rescued after nearly an hour. Neighbors described Clio as a happy, chatty child, who learned to swim in the rooftop pool of her family's East End Avenue apartment building.

"She was one of the best swimmers that we have ever seen," said resident Patricia Carreras. "She was such a healthy kid -- as a small kid, she was diving.

"It's a very, very sad story. Everyone's crying. It was a family that was very much loved. If anyone could embody our building . . . it would be that family -- they were really wonderful."

Others echoed that admiration.

"They're just fabulous people," said another neighbor, who praised the mother's patience. "She spent her whole life developing that child and making her confident."

Let's all pray for Clio and her parents' speedy recovery!

Reading II

Live in love, as Christ loved us.
Husbands, love your wives,
even as Christ loved the church
and handed himself over for her to sanctify her,
cleansing her by the bath of water with the word,
that he might present to himself the church in splendor,
without spot or wrinkle or any such thing,
that she might be holy and without blemish.
So also husbands should love their wives as their own bodies.
He who loves his wife loves himself.
For no one hates his own flesh
but rather nourishes and cherishes it,
even as Christ does the church,
because we are members of his body.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother
and be joined to his wife,
and the two shall become one flesh.
This is a great mystery,
but I speak in reference to Christ and the church.

(Eph 5:2a, 25-32)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Happening at South Wales

A rescuing operation is in action in U.K. South Wales right now. This was first reported in Teletext:
Rescue teams are searching for a 13-year-old boy who was swept out to sea from a pier in South Wales.

Swansea Coastguard said the boy went missing from Porthcawl pier.

Lifeboats were launched from Mumbles and Porthcawl, as well as the Atlantic College inshore lifeboat, and Coastguard teams and a police helicopter are also helping the search.
Some further details according to the Coastguard spokesman is reported by Andy Whelan in The Sun:

A Swansea Coastguard spokesman said: "The boy was close to the rocks at the pier when a freak wave swept him into the water.

"His friends were further down the beach and did not get swept in. They are fine and are being looked after by the police.

"A fisherman saw the boy in the water and threw a lifebuoy after him, but he could not grab it.

"A mayday call was issued and a number of civilian boats responded. The sea was rough."

Let us pray!


Update 08/22/2009:

The prospect of successful rescue seems grim. The dailymail showed the following picture of Porthcawl pier where it happened:

and reports that Coastguard has scaled down search as "A spokeswoman for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said survival time in the water at this time of year was estimated to be about three hours."

The SkyNews has this headline this morning: "Hope Fades Foe Boy Swept Into Sea From Pier."

Let us continue to pray!

Well, now the Wales Online has this headline "Search for boy swept off pier called off" on Saturday night local time after a day of searching:

POLICE tonight called off the search for a 13-year-old boy who was swept out to sea at a popular holiday resort.

The youngster was with friends on Friday night when a wave washed him off the breakwater in Porthcawl.

He was last seen at about 6.30pm when Swansea Coastguard received 999 calls – at a time when conditions were said to be moderate to rough, with a higher-than-average high tide.

Despite an overnight search for the boy, who is thought to live locally, coastguards knew the chances of finding him alive were slim, as survival time in the water at this time of year is estimated to be about three hours, according to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

Let's all pray for the young man and his family and friends!

How to survive a rip current?

This "New Jersey Real-Time News" carries an article entitled "Hurricane Bill making sweet swells for N.J. surfers" by Rudi Larini of The Star-Ledger reporting on the latest of the first North Atlantic hurricane, the Hurricane Bill, of 2009 with
As Hurricane Bill advances up the east coast today and Saturday, the storm is expected to stay far enough offshore to pose little threat to the mainland. But it could make for some choppy seas up and down Jersey beaches.

As of Thursday, Bill had been downgraded to a category 3 hurricane after its winds diminished from 135 to 120 miles per hour.
It is certainly good to see the hurricane stays "far enough offshore to pose little threat to mainland." Keep up the good work, Bill!

But what makes the multimedia article interesting is that it also contains this could be very timely video for surviving rip currents:



There are good introductions available on how to cope with rip currents, but this lively demonstration video is certainly most superbly informative and useful for all beach goers. Great work from NJ.com! Thanks for make it available.

Now for surfers, Aaron Applegate of The Virginia-Pilot reports this from Virginia Beach:
Surfers love hurricanes. Not that they want destruction, they're quick to remind you, just the waves.

So after a mostly flat summer - "lame" was a common adjective at the Oceanfront on Thursday - Hurricane Bill is tantalizing surfers with the prospect of an epic swell. Surf condition Web sites are running slow, overloaded with longing office workers.

Traces of Bill rolled in Thursday. Waves today should be fantastic - shoulder- to head-high. And Saturday could get crazy, maybe dangerous. Forecasts are calling for waves up to 15 feet tall. Flooding is expected in parts of the Outer Banks. The hurricane is not expected to strike land.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Surfing wave pictures galore

Some nice surf pictures in the recent news:

Here's 22 years old Brazilian Maya Gaberira, dubbed by Los Angeles Times as the "Super Woman of Big-Wave Surfing", is seen here "riding what many are saying was the largest wave ever ridden by a woman " at the Dungeons of South Africa:

Here's one from U.K.'s Mail Online showing a 10 feet monster wave hitting the beach engulfing a daring surfer there:


And here's another one from Discovery Channel showing SA surfer Grant Baker stroked another big one at the Dungeon:


The Discovery Channel article, by Larry O'Hanlon, is entitled "Earth's Wave-Making Machine is in Overdrive" with these comments:
The world's mega wave surfers were already anticipating El Niño to charge up storms and make for some big waves in the North Pacific, but they have been pleasantly surprised by something happening in the South Atlantic. A giant low pressure system there has been churning out some extraordinary 50-foot-plus waves that are keeping the surfing elite camped out for more than a week... and pretty darned busy in South Africa.
I am surprised to learn that big league surfers are also El Niño watchers. El Niño has been blamed for early hurricane hit Hawaii, the weak monsoon, and lack of hurricane activities in North Atlantic. Now El Niño is charging "up storms and make for some big waves in the North Pacific." Does El Niño really have such powerful natural forces that can control world weather events? Or is it just a convenient scapegoat for everyone to take cover? In case you are wondering, I think Franklin Institute characterized it best as "Hot Air over Hot Water" -- no wonder it is such a perennial hot topic even surfers will pay attentions to it.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Algore debunked again

Here's a new documentary on climate change which is the latest answer to Algore hoax "An inconvenient truth" by "refute the main points Algore made" as reported in CNSNews.com by Adam Brickley.

The 40 minutes documentary, produced by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), a free-market group. Entitled “Policy Peril: Why Global Warming Policies are More Dangerous than Global Warming Itself,” is available free at


That will be the most worthwhile, informative, and educational 40 minutes you will ever spent. As more and more Americans see through the hoax by Algore, suck-up media thugs, and the mindless politicians, you will certainly feel great when you know you are right with the right side!


Update 08/19/09

I accessed the above site from the CNSNews article easily yesterday before I made this blog entry. Somehow today I seem to have trouble accessing the site now. May be it's still at the starting gate, trying to get organized. Please keep on trying, it is new, and it is available. The CNSNews article does give all the details about the film.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Freaque wave helped murder victim

Here's a New Zealand murder case happened 14 years ago. Rather hideous, but it has freaque wave connection that makes the story relevant for this blog.

The case is revisited in SundayNews this morning. The story is actually fairly straight forward: a man conspired with a prostitute to first murdered his wife and then bound, drugged, and bundled her best friend into a car and pushed the car off a cliff into the ocean below. It all carried out according to their plan, here's what happened next beyond their plan:
But a freak wave lifted the vehicle off the rocks where she lay trapped for seven hours saving her life and allowing her to help gain justice for her friend.
That's how a freaque wave played the key role:

Pinned by her arm in the smashed up Ford Laser for seven agonising hours, she even contemplated amputating the limb to free herself. But the car was lifted from the rocks by a giant wave.

"Niki's spirit saved me," Barbara said.

Niki was the murdered wife, Barbara's her best friend. Can any one disagree with Barbara? We don't always see clearly how the Almighty mete out justice. In this story 14 years ago, without a doubt, He used a freaque wave!

Reading II

Watch carefully how you live,
not as foolish persons but as wise,
making the most of the opportunity,
because the days are evil.
Therefore, do not continue in ignorance,
but try to understand what is the will of the Lord.
And do not get drunk on wine, in which lies debauchery,
but be filled with the Spirit,
addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
singing and playing to the Lord in your hearts,
giving thanks always and for everything
in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father.
(Eph 5:15-20)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Assumption of Mary

(From Saint of the Day, American Catholic.org)

On November 1, 1950, Pope Pius XII defined the Assumption of Mary to be a dogma of faith: “We pronounce, declare and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma that the immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul to heavenly glory.”



“In the bodily and spiritual glory which she possesses in heaven, the Mother of Jesus continues in this present world as the image and first flowering of the Church as she is to be perfected in the world to come. Likewise, Mary shines forth on earth, until the day of the Lord shall come (cf. 2 Peter 3:10), as a sign of certain hope and com fort for the pilgrim People of God” (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, 68).

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Sights on big breakers

In a basically slow news day other than political junks, I found the following news from the ScienceBlog rather encouraging to read:

Scientists of the Geesthacht GKSS Research Centre have developed a radar system with which it is possible to study the behaviour of sea waves. This technology will be used immediately on the North Sea on the FINO3 research platform in order to determine the interactions between offshore wind power machines and swells.

The location of the FINO3 research platforms, the "Dan Tysk" sand bank, is located approximately 80 kilometres to the west of Sylt where up to 80 wind power plants will be located in just a few years. FINO3 is used by researchers to estimate the environmental consequences and technical risks of offshore wind energy parks. Changes in the sea swell are also of great interest in addition to the observations of bird migration or the measurement of lightening frequencies on the sea.

To determine how much of an effect large waves and what is known as 'breakers' have on wind power plants and to what extent the structures can change the surrounding swell, the coastal researchers of the Geesthacht GKSS Research Centre installed a Doppler radar approximately 50 metres above sea level on the FINO3 lattice mast.

"With our radar, we can even track the individual waves for the first time", writes Dr. Freidwart Ziemer, GKSS Department Manager of Radar Hydrology, the unique part of the project. For several years, Ziemer and his team have studied the swell and the behaviour of large breakers. The information is transmitted by FINO3 to Geesthacht via satellite.

The frequency of large breakers and the force which creates the steep giant waves are of particular interest not only to researchers but also the designers and operators of offshore wind power plants or oil platforms.

Each individual wind rotor creates turbulent air flows in its "tow" and periodical movements, which can have an effect on other structures. This can result in undesired or even dangerous vibrations. If there is an interaction between the waves and the individual wind power plants, this can result in interferences. This means in a wave field which is harmless without a windmill park, single, very high waves can be created by these interferences which could possibly have a critical effect on these plants.

"I am sure that we will soon be able to better assess the swells and the force of the breakers," says Friedwart Ziemer. This means that the breaker behaviour could be taken into account better in planning and the stability of the systems can be more predictable.

Here's a picture of the FINO3 platform:

I have never heard of this thing. Some of the GKSS wave people I know do not seem to connected to this project. I don't know how much research they wish to do in the project. I do think they have strong potential for collecting great data sets for fruitful research, because all those wealth of data they can collect will be truly exciting. I'm keeping my eyes widely open for their continued progress and success.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Freaque wave articles

The last two days I have came across two freaque wave articles in two new media kind of outlets I have not heard before. Both articles seem to be resulted from reading the BBC News article I alluded to earlier that's reporting on Tim Janssen's recent work in Journal of Physical Oceanography. One outlet is called redOrbit with an article entitled "Scientists find freak wave hot spots" published yesterday. This is a competently well written article introducing the forming of "hot spot" Janssen developed. If you have time to read only one article, I would recommend that you read this one. I do have a small nitpicking though. At one place the article commented:

Throughout history, there have been many seafaring tales about rogue waves that could overtake a ship.

These waves are characterized as measuring about three times higher than other waves on the sea in the same time frame. They can hit up to 60 feet in height, which is comparable to a six-story building.

The freaque waves that have been accurately estimated are actually close to twice the 60 feet height cited there.

The other outlet is called "Softpedia" with an article entitled "Understanding 'freak waves' and their sources" published today. This article, alas, convinced me that the author really doesn't know what he was talking about and he did not spend time to do an adequate research before I finish reading its first paragraph. I shall not make any quote here. Every sentence there is questionable. I do believe he may have talked to somebody, since he mentioned 1995 "Draupner wave" in his second paragraph. But Draupner wave is most certainly NOT the "first scientific reading" about freaque waves. Anyway don't bother with this kind of articles, at least you won't waste any time in the first place.

The Softpedia article included this un-named offshore oil platform:

Yes indeed, massive oil platforms can be vulnerable to freaque waves. But that is clearly not what Tim Janssen's work expects to address.

Monday, August 10, 2009

This day in history

Wondering around the internet, I came across this tidbit from RedOrbit:
Today in History: Ferdinand Magellan Sets Sail to Circumnavigate Globe (1519).
Sure enough, BrainyHistory confirmed:
August 10, 1519 in History
___________________

Event:

Magellan's 5 ship set sail to circumnavigate Earth
Well, in the book "Ferdinand Magellan" by Elaine Landau there is this 16th Century painting:

that shows what people visualize as ocean and waves some 600 years ago. I always wonder if those early explorers ever encounter freaque waves. I am sure they must have, it's just that along with all kinds of other hazards of the world they have also faced, freaque waves probably were not be that important to document -- or they may just regard it as an integral part of the ocean they simply took it for granted. Come to think of it, freaque waves are always part of the ocean world, it's only when scientists started to understand the ocean surface, they just managed to ignore those unmanageable things and simplify everything to suit the human mind and pretend that they now understand them which in fact they really don't -- far from it!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

From Reading II today

Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God,
with which you were sealed for the day of redemption.
All bitterness, fury, anger, shouting, and reviling
must be removed from you, along with all malice.
And be kind to one another, compassionate,
forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ.
(Eph 4:30-32)

A lesson from Elijah: Faith is often found under the broom tree where we learn to surrender our will to God and begin to hear His still small voice.
(From Catholic Online.)

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Typhoon generated waves


Tropical storms have a slow start in 2008. This one, Typhoon Morakot in eastern Pacific had just barely made it into typhoon category but still managed to bring excessive precipitations and plenty of damages to Taiwan. The above picture shows onshore waves from approaching Typhoon Morakot pound the northeast shoreline of Taiwan, Friday, Aug. 7, 2009. (AP / Wally Santana)

According to the Associated Press report in CTV:
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- A typhoon slammed into Taiwan overnight, leaving at least six people dead or missing and more than a dozen injured, officials and media reported Saturday.

Typhoon Morakot made landfall in the eastern Hualien county late Friday night, the Central Weather Bureau said.

The storm, packing winds of up to 119 kilometres per hour, was centred about 30 kilometres south of the capital, Taipei, as of 10:15 a.m. Saturday (0215 GMT) and was powering in a northwesterly direction at a speed of 11 kilometres per hour, the weather bureau said.

Xinhua also reports that some 34,000 vessels were told to take shelter in ports as the storm approached. That's certainly prudent and probably the reason why there were few damaging instance or freaque wave encounters during hurricane or typhoon. As it has been shown that both storm waves and freaque waves can happen during typhoon or hurricane.


Update 08/09/2009

Here's a picture by Reuters/Stringer

with this explanation:

A resident rides a motorcycle on a flooded road as typhoon Morakot approaches in Xiapu County of Ningde, Fujian province, August 9, 2009.

All the best to this motorcycle rider and a sincere hope that he gets home safe and sound!


Update 08/11/2009

Typhoon Morakot, a Catagory 2, just dissipated. But it left excessive damages and human miseries caused by flooding, land and mud slides in Taiwan and else where that'll take a long, long time to recover see e.g. this Yahoo News.

Here are some pictures showing a tourist hotel is falling down and other rescue efforts:


the aftermath is truly hard to cope. Let's all earnestly pray for the lost, the alive, and the rescue workers.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Ferry Princess Ashika disaster


This is a tragic story very depressing to read, though freaque wave has not even been implicated. Here's what happened according to Lloyd's List:
OVER sixty people are now feared to have been lost following the sudden capsize of inter-island ferry Princess Ashika off the coast of Tonga on Wednesday night.
Now the report from the eturbonews yesterday:
Aug 06, 2009

Two bodies have been recovered and 46 people remain missing after a ferry sank last night in waters off Tonga.

The ferry Princess Ashika sank in waters north of the main island of Tongatapu last night.

Some depressing details from one of the rescued:

It quoted Siaosi Lavaka, who was rescued from the Princess Ashika, saying that all the seven lifeboats that got away were filled with men.

"No women or children made it," he told Matangi Tonga Online at around midday today.

He said he believed the women and children were all stuck inside the ferry when it went down as they were sleeping when the ferry got into difficulties.

He said the sea was rough and the waves went into the lower deck of the ferry where the crew were.

The ferry rocked and he believed this caused the cargo to move to one side. The ferry then began to overturn and some passengers jumped off.

"We woke up to the sound of shouting and we jumped off."

Further details from Ohio daily-jeff:

The ferry had been traveling from Nuku'alofa to outlying northern islands of Tonga, which lies in the South Pacific, about two-thirds of the way from Hawaii to New Zealand. Authorities said women and children had been taken below to cabins for the overnight journey. The men stayed up top, sleeping rough in balmy conditions that turned tumultuous.

Lavaka, whose mother was among the missing, said he woke to find the ferry rocking violently and waves breaking over the ferry's lower decks.

Latest news from New Zealand indicates now that 117 people were on board, two confirmed dead and 62 are missing presumed drowned and
It is believed the ferry rolled sharply and sank very quickly. A possibility being considered is that cargo moved, causing the vessel to capsize.

The tragedy has also raised questions about the seaworthiness of the 39-year-old Princess Ashika, which was brought to Tonga for short-term service only.
Let's pray for God's blessing for the lost ones and their families and that the rescue teams can still rescue more of the missing ones.


Update 08/08/2009:

Latest from nzherald:
The number of people believed to have been on board the Tongan ferry Princess Ashika when it sank on Wednesday has risen to 141.
And further reports:

A New Zealand Navy team of 12 divers and three specialist staff was despatched last night to join an Australian team in searching for bodies today.

Filo Akauola, editor of the newspaper Talaki, told Radio New Zealand a second vessel, owned by a Tongan MP, was sailing about 25 minutes behind the Princes Ashika on Wednesday night and those on board helped rescue the ferry passengers from the water.

He said the area was known for rogue waves.

The last statement is to be expected, which is at all possible, but most likely no verification can be made.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Hot spots for coastal freaque waves

I am enchanted by an article in Science Daily this morning entitled "Shedding Light On Freak Wave Hot Spots" that asserts:
. . . changes in water depth and currents, which are common in coastal areas, may significantly increase the likelihood of these extreme waves.
That's the suggestion from a new paper just published in the latest Journal of Physical Oceanography entitled "Nonlinear wave statistics in a focal zone" by Tim Janssen and T.H.C. Herbers. It's the results from wave model simulations. I am not generally keen on wave model simulations, but I am looking forward to find and read their paper as I know Tim Janssen from WISE meetings to be one of the brilliant young wave model scientists the Neitherland has to offer and the implications from their research does make good sense as the coastal areas which they called focal zones or hot spots do experience excessive occurrences of freaque wave acts, many led to tragedies, around the world oceans as we have frequently seen in this blog.

Surfers certainly know where great surf waves are as this picture from PerthNOW this morning shows:

Could those great places for surfing be also sites of hot spots?


Update 8/7/2009:

While most science news groups are interested in Tim Janssen's research results, local news also started reporting it, e.g. this Mecury News article today.

I wish to make a note on one point that most reporters have been interested in reporting. That is this quoted statistical comment:
"In a normal wave field, on average, roughly three waves in every 10,000 are extreme waves," Janssen said. "In a focal zone, this number could increase to about three in every 1,000 waves."
I think the case of the "normal wave field" was based on the classical theory of Rayleigh distributions, whereas the "focal zone" case is resulting from his model simulations. They are not based on actual measurements. There is hardly any actual measurement available to substantiate this kind of statistical implications. So take them with a grain of salt. It may not be immediately practicable, but actual measurements are badly needed to move the science beyond the speculations of "model simulation" stage. It is not easy, but until actual measurements are made, all these kind of big hooplas are no more than just merely speculative conjectures.


Update 8/9/2009:

BBC News joined the parade of this news story today with an article entitled "Freak wave 'hot spots' identified". The article included two nice pictures. The first one


has this caption: "The researchers fed data on real waves into a computer model." The problem is that the researchers most certainly do not have data on real waves per se. So it's only the reporter's imagination that computer model can be fed data on real waves. Where do the data on real waves come from?

The second picture is a deep sea oil production platform

with caption "The research could help inform the design of offshore platforms." The reported research, if the reporter had even paid attention at all, will know that it is for nearshore shallow waters, so clearly will do nothing to help inform the design of offshore platforms what so ever.

So if you ever think any report that's carrying a BBC label should be more authoritative or accurate -- you will be disappointed. I hope this is just an exception. But since I am fully aware that the present day main-stream media's reporting on world political matters are known to be obstinate and without objectivity, I should not be surprised but still disappointed that their indifferent and couldn't care less attitudes also carried into science reporting. BBC articles are more likely to be read and referenced. Just hope the readers have better judgment than the reporter.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Survival the smart one with a cool mind

This news in the Honolulu, Hawaii's Star Bulletin this morning:
Gary Fernandez of Kailua was alone on his 17-foot Boston Whaler early Saturday afternoon when a rogue wave struck the boat, knocking him into the ocean miles out of Kaneohe Bay.

The boat continued on as he treaded water.

For the next six hours, the 49-year-old retired Navy chief petty officer used his military training and prayer to survive the long swim back to Kaneohe.

"I'm not going to die out here," he told himself.

Fernandez, who served as a Navy search and rescue instructor for three years, said because of his training he knew how to turn his board shorts into a flotation device. After he fell into the water, he took off the shorts, scooped air into them and scrunched the ends tightly with his hands to create an air bubble the size of an ipu, or gourd drum.

He described the board shorts as his lifesaver. "I knew if I lost this, I would die," he said yesterday as he held the the light-blue plaid Quiksilver board shorts in his hands.

It was about 1:15 p.m., and he was about three-quarters of a mile from Moku Manu island when he started heading back to Kaneohe.

Fernandez said he would swim for about 15 minutes in the rough current, then take five-minute breaks to preserve energy as he swam toward Pyramid Rock Beach near Kaneohe Bay, about seven miles away.

The muscles in his arms, legs and back cramped up. Thoughts of his daughter and granddaughter ran through his mind, giving him strength to continue.

He prayed to God and his late parents to help him and watch over him. "God, give me a second chance," he recalled saying.

As the sky darkened, Fernandez used the Pyramid Rock Lighthouse as a guide to make sure he did not swim into Kaneohe Bay, which would mean a longer swim to shore. "I would've been treading waters for more hours, and I probably would've died," he said.

Sometime after 7 p.m., he finally reached a wall of rocks at Pyramids and climbed it. Exhausted, Fernandez walked into the beach parking lot where he saw a couple. He yelled for help, telling them to call 911 after he explained what happened.

Emergency personnel responded, and his girlfriend also arrived and took him to Castle Medical Center where he was treated for dehydration and sunburns.

After taking a short drive to Pyramids from his condominium, Fernandez stood near the shoreline yesterday looking at Moku Manu island and the deep waters in between. Still suffering from muscle pain, he said he is amazed he survived.

"I made it," said Fer-nandez, who celebrates his 50th birthday Monday. "I just count my blessings that I'm alive."

Here's the location where it was happened:

What a quick smart mind to turn his board short into a flotation device that saved his life. His experience as search and rescue instructor was most certainly a major asset along with his prayers that made this a heartening story to learn. The freaque wave that struck his 17 foot Boston Whaler, as the villain, is in no way predictable. No one in their right mind would expect something like that might happen, but it always happens, we don't know where, when, why, what, or how. His boat is still out there waiting to be recovered. Let's just be thankful for a happy-ending story today. Thanks be to God!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Waiting for future -- No freaque wave solution!

There is an interesting article posted by a Desta Bishu in Ethiopian Review today that was also referenced to the one in Manolith posted by a ryanw on July 30, 2009 which ompletes with pictures and illustrations. The article is entitled "20 Predictions of the Future (We are Still Waiting For)." Here's the introduction to the predictions:
It’s human nature to fantasize about the future and predict what life might be like in the future. Over the past eight decades, there have been many wild and outlandish predictions of bizarre gadgets, structures and inter-planetary colonies, all published by magazines, newspapers, books and professors. While some predictions of future technology have seen actualization in the modern world, many such forecasts have not come true. In fact, by the year 2000, the world was predicted to be a far different place than it is even nine and half years later. Today we take a look at twenty predicted technological breakthroughs that never came to be, their origins and current status. To be fair, as you’ll see, we’ve certainly made progress in the right direction, but have still to achieve the dream.
Fair enough! I guess if you are a Sci Fi aficionado these are not really a big deal. My interest is particularly led to one of the predictions called "Sea City":
In 1984, future predictions took a short break from space cities and focused on an equally dangerous location for a city: the ocean. Floating atop the surf, a farming city populated by humans and tended to by robots was predicted to be built in the 2000’s. The article appeared in a book entitled, The Future World of Agriculture, and was titled the “Sea City of the Future”. An excerpt from the article reads: “Robots tend crops that grow on floating platforms around a sea city of the future. Water from the ocean would evaporate, rise to the base of the platforms (leaving the salt behind), and feed the crops.” Today, this green-friendly sea city does not exist. One possible problem with such a design is what to do in case of huge rogue waves or hurricanes. Weather is quite a nasty and destructive thing out at sea, and perhaps building a city in a place where such devastating forces (hurricanes, tidal waves, tsunamis) exist might not be the best idea. (Emphasize added.)
So freaque wave is something even the futuristic experts could not solve either. Clearly the futuristic scienbtists are in fact more realistic than some of our contemporary scientists who are unbashfully claiming that they can predict (sic) freaque waves with their almighty "models"!

On the other hand, isn't it rather disappointing to realize that in the visionary views of the futuristic scientists they don't really foresee that freaque waves along with hurricanes and tsunamis can be readily solved. I am sure that people from hurricane research centers or tsunami research centers will strongly disagree. Tropical depressions and earthquakes would be alerts for possible hurricane and tsunamis. It's a pity that there is as yet no freaque wave research center to voice objections. Sill no one knows what might alert to the possible happenings of freaque waves in the sea. It only happens when it is happened. Yes, I have said it before many times: we don't know when, where, why, what, and how about the freaque wave happenings out there in the sea and it is happening out there even there is no one around to witness it!

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Langeland case

Here's a depressing tragic news even though freaque waves are not being blamed. From Russian Today:
A Norwegian cargo ship has sunk off Sweden's southwestern coast, with the six crew onboard reported to be Russians and Ukrainians.

A helicopter, plane and several rescue boats have been sent to the area, but have so far only found vessel debris in the Koster Fjord, near the Norwegian border. There is no sign of the crew.

The ship sent distress calls early on Friday, but then the Swedish maritime administration lost contact.

Read more

Rescue spokesman, Birger Knutsson, says rescuers have spotted life jackets, a raft and other debris floating on the water, but there was no sign of the crew members.

“The ship has gone down, but there is still hope to find survivors,'' AP quoted him as saying.

Lloyd's List identified the cargoship as "Norwegian International Register-flag general cargoship Langeland " and indicated that it was sank in Swedish waters following a severe storm earlier Friday.

Here's a picture of Langeland by vesseltracker.com.


And another one from here:


Other related news details can be found here, here, and here among others.

Let us all pray for the safe rescue and return of the Langeland crews