Real-time Earth and Moon phase

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Reading II

Love is patient,
love is kind.
It is not jealous,
(love) is not pompous,
it is not inflated,
it is not rude,
it does not seek its own interests,
it is not quick-tempered,
it does not brood over injury,
it does not rejoice over wrongdoing
but rejoices with the truth.
It bears all things,
believes all things,
hopes all things,
endures all things.
1 Cor 13:4-7

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Happened at Port Kembla

What could have gone wrong on a Sunday morning fishing in a port? Well, Murphy's law can always be not far behind. This case, reported in the Illawarra Mercury, happened at Port Kembla at Australia's southeast coast, shows nothing is unexpected:
Two fishermen had a brush with death after their 4.5m boat was hit by a freak wave and capsized on to rocks off Port Kembla yesterday.

A 34-year-old man from Lake Heights and 44-year-old man from Koonawarra were anchored 400m off Hill 60 when they struck trouble just before 11am.

Illawarra ambulance district officer Terry Morrow said it appeared the boat had become stranded on the reef and the pair struggled for about 30 minutes to free themselves - all the while being pounded by rough 2m seas.

"They were hit by a freak wave and the water went into the boat and dragged the anchor and the boat on to rocks," he said.

"They couldn't get the motor started because of the water that had come over the bow."

At some point another wave capsized the vessel and they were thrown into the ocean.

Concealed by white wash and with the beach closed, their predicament went unnoticed until they were spotted by a lifesaver.

Being inside the Port at least implies rescuers are probably nearby, so the two were lucky:

The duo were rescued with the aid of police rescue officers and treated by ambulance personnel.

They were taken to Wollongong Hospital suffering exhaustion, sea water intake, cuts and abrasions.

Never taken anything for granted, even anchored fishing inside the port. I have some doubt whether or not the waves were really freaque ones. But the boat was really being capsized by it. That should be freaque enough!

Psalm Today

The heavens declare the glory of God;
the sky proclaims its builder's craft.
One day to the next conveys that message;
one night to the next imparts that knowledge.
There is no word or sound; no voice is heard;
Yet their report goes forth through all the earth,
their message, to the ends of the world.
God has pitched there a tent for the sun; . . .
(Ps 19:2-5)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Jessica's encounter

This is now world-wide news. A concise report summarizes the news by Radio New Zealand:

Australian teenage sailor Jessica Watson says she has survived her toughest test yet on her round the world trip with her yacht being forced on its side four times by big waves and high winds in the Atlantic ocean.

Miss Watson's online blog says after experiencing her first knockdown, which is when the mast goes into the sea, she then had three more during an eight-hour storm on Saturday.

The ABC reports the winds were gusting up to 70 knots with a swell of up to 10 metres.

Miss Watson, who's attempting the record as the youngest to sail solo around the world, has now passed the 11,000 nautical mile mark in her boat, Ella's Pink Lady.

Examiner.com quotes a spokesman from Watson's website:

"Jessica Watson has faced her toughest test to date on her solo circumnavigation, having experienced a violent storm overnight with hurricane-force wind gusts of up to 70 knots and a swell of 7-10 metres, in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

Jessica also experienced her first knockdown and then had to endure three more during the eight hour storm. A ‘knockdown’ is when the mast goes below horizontal and into the sea. In Jessica's case, she was hit by a series of rogue waves."
The 16 year old has ample warnings about the freaque waves during her planning stage of the adventure. So the encounter can't be construed as "unexpected". Still freaque wave occurrences are always unexpected, even though they are known to happen only no one knows where or when or what or how. Now that she has really encountered the real thing, good luck to her for a safe voyage the rest of her journey!


Update 1/24/2010:

This from Jessica's blog:
My quite sunny conditions ended with a bit of a bang, Ella's Pink Lady and I have been having a very interesting time out here. The wind had been expected to rise to a near gale, but none of the computers or forecasts picked that it would reach the 65knots that I recorded, before losing the wind instruments in a knockdown!

That much wind means some very big and nasty waves. To give you an idea of the conditions, they were similar to and possibly worse than those of the terrible 1998 Sydney to Hobart Race. We experienced a total of 4 knockdowns, the second was the most severe with the mast being pushed 180 degrees in to the water. Actually pushed isn't the right word, it would be more accurate to say that Ella's Pink Lady was picked up, thrown down a wave, then forced under a mountain of breaking water and violently turned upside down.

With everything battened down and conditions far too dangerous to be on deck, there wasn't anything I could do but belt myself in and hold on. Under just the tiny storm jib, the big electric autopilot did an amazing job of holding us on course downwind, possibly or possibly not helped by my yells of encouragement! It was only the big rogue waves that hit at us at an angle (side on) that proved dangerous and caused the knockdowns.

The solid frame of the targa (the frame that supports the solar panels) is bent out of shape and warped (see pic below), which provides a pretty good idea of the force of the waves. Solid inch thick stainless steel tube doesn't exactly just bend in the breeze, so I think you could say that Ella's Pink Lady has proven herself to be a very tough little boat!

Thanks Jessica, for such an upbeat, detailed description of a terrifying, nasty encounter with freaque waves out there by yourself!

Perhaps the best headline reporting this encounter belongs to Couriermail with "Jessica Watson tames the storm" and the following commentary:

WE ALL breathed a sigh of relief when brave young yachtswoman Jessica Watson successfully navigated the infamous Cape Horn off the southern tip of South America.

Given the gale-force winds and hill-like seas, little wonder it's called the Mount Everest of sailing. But Jessica's most recent encounter with 70 knot winds and 10m waves in the south Atlantic proves the young sailor's challenges are far from over. She's at about the halfway mark in her journey, and we're sure Jessica can meet those challenges. We look forward to her safe return.

Indeed she CAN most certainly meet those challenges. God bless and God speed!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A picture of monster waves from south Africa


Yes, this is the picture of a monster wave or waves from South Africa published by BBC News this morning. It was snapped by Emily Putman in South Africa's Tsitsikamma National Park. "There had been a storm that created these monster waves," she says. How much do we know about this kind waves? Not much!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Reading II today

There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit;
there are different forms of service but the same Lord;
there are different workings but the same God
who produces all of them in everyone.
To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit
is given for some benefit.
To one is given through the Spirit the expression of wisdom;
to another, the expression of knowledge according to the
same Spirit;
to another, faith by the same Spirit;
to another, gifts of healing by the one Spirit;
to another, mighty deeds;
to another, prophecy;
to another, discernment of spirits;
to another, varieties of tongues;
to another, interpretation of tongues.
But one and the same Spirit produces all of these,
distributing them individually to each person as he wishes.
(1 Cor 12:4-11)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Theophany


Today is Theophany: The Baptism of the Lord. His public mission continues through His Church, of which we are made members through Baptism into Him.
After Jesus was baptized, he came up from the water and behold, the heavens were opened (for him), and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove (and) coming upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, saying, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased."
Mat 3:16-17
This photo is from the celebration of Solemnity of the Epiphany by Byzantine Catholics in the Ukraine. From Deacon's Blog.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Survival the toughest!

Here's a frightening nearshore freaque wave encounter and rescue story in southeast Queensland of Australia as reported in Gold Coast News:

Mr. Laurie, a 60 year old former rugby player and coach encountered a freaque wave as "he swam in front of the Currumbin Beach Vikings surf club before Christmas" and "lost part of his scalp", that was frightening! In his own words:
"It was a blindside tackle, I never saw it coming,"
and
"My scalp had fallen off on the righthand side and I was bleeding from top to toe. It wasn't a pretty sight," he said. "As they (waves) came I had to do my best to cushion the blow and just keep my head away. There nothing I could do except cop the punishment."
Luckily he was rescued by young club members and a patrol captain. According to the report Mr. Freier lost about three buckets of blood but staying conscious and pulled through. Here's Mr. Freier and his rescuers:


Not everyone can be as healthy and strong as Mr. Freier. But his survivor story should always be encouraging!

A lucky fishing episode

It has to be luck that this fishing boat encountered a freaque wave and survived:

Lucy Pearce reports in Dorset Echo today:

A Portland fisherman was treated for hypothermia and cuts after his boat nearly sunk when it was hit by a ‘freak wave’.

Weymouth all-weather and inshore lifeboats were launched and the Coastguard rescue helicpoter scrambled after the Nimble was swamped by the wave just off Portland Bill.

Joseph Kimpton, 25, from Fortuneswell was at the helm the boat at the time when the wave hit the vessel and shattered the wheelhouse window.

Here in the young Mr. Kimpton's words on what had happened:

“I was drift fishing when it happened and as I went over the tide, a freak wave came up over me and shot me down.

“Suddenly all I could see was this massive wave which must have been between 20 and 30ft.

“Then all the glass just shattered and the entire wheelhouse filled up as well as the back.

“I couldn’t see anything because I was completely submerged in water and covered in glass.

“I wouldn’t say I was calm but I tried to stay in control of the boat because it could have been close to sinking.

“Two crew members including my dad were trying to get rid of the water out of the back while I was controlling the boat.

“It is illegal to go out on your own, but if I had of been alone I’d be dead.

“When the back was clearer my dad had to take over from me driving because when I tried to turn left, I turned right and when I tried to turn right, I turned left. I just couldn’t think straight.”

It's good to have a detailed account from the one who was there. The good news is that while the boat sustained damage, all on board were safely rescued. John Sargent, RNLI press communications officer has this to say:
“It appears that it was a rogue wave that hit this vessel. Both RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) lifeboats had to assist but the vessel was able to make its own way back in to shore.

“When a rogue wave hits, it is just bad luck.”

Yes but it must also be good luck that everyone survived, including the boat. Happy New Year!

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Giant Waves Hit French Riviera

They did not call it freaque, they called the giant waves this time but the tragic effects are the same either way as reported in the Digital News:
The strong wind, which raged on the French Riviera and Corsica on 1 January, has created conditions for 3 - 5 meters waves.
Six persons were swept away by the waves while they were walking on the beach of Cap Croisette. Three of them were already reported as dead. A couple was found at the Cap Croisette close to Marseille. They were caught by the waves trying to save their dog which fell down to the sea. Woman, 28 years old, suffered a cardiac arrest when being caught by the giant waves in Cap-Ferrat.

French authorities are concerned that the other three people might be also dead as the search operation on the French Riviera was not successful and was cancelled on Saturday.

Damages were reported on the beaches of Antibes and Juan les Pins where the beach restaurants have been completely destroyed by the waves and some coastal roads were closed to traffic.

The storm also made a lot of damage in Corsica especially on the western side of the island where many beach restaurants and boats were damaged.
What could be more appealing than a leisurely stroll on the beach of French Riviera on New Year's day? Well dangers and tragic are just around the corner. It is again, any time and any place and we don't know where, when, what, how, or why!

The Epiphany of the Lord

Then you shall be radiant at what you see,
your heart shall throb and overflow,
For the riches of the sea shall be emptied out before you,
the wealth of nations shall be brought to you.
(Is 60:5)

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Not so happy new year weather news from UK

Some depressing New Year weather news from U.K. reported in the Daily Star by Victoria Richards:

The coldest December for a decade has claimed seven victims in the past few days.

Three people died in avalanches, three were killed on icy roads and a woman in her 40s died when her car plunged into a pond in Horton, near Bristol, on Wednesday.

And the body of Adam Passfield, 22, who had been missing for a week, was pulled from the River Chelmer in Chelmsford on Wednesday.

In Scarborough a woman and her two-year-old child were knocked over and washed onto a busy road after a freak wave hit a sea wall. Forecasters are warning that the cold snap will tighten its grip into 2010.
I was particularly alerted by the last paragraph where a freaque wave does not wash people out to sea but washed them "onto a busy road". Freaque wave even happens in "coldest" weather. A wave can hit and over the top of a sea wall is probably a freaque wave in the usual sense. Again no one really knows what was really happening. But in the coldest December for a decade and they had that big hoopla in Copenhagen about global warming. Scientific creditability, anyone?