Monday, October 31, 2011

How high is this surf?

This surf wave shown above, reported in U.K.'s DailyMail, is described as 50 feet high. But a number of readers of the article think that wave is clearly not 50 feet high with their estimate varied between 15 and 30 feet.

On the other hand Telegraph reports the same wave as 30 feet along with a video.  Take a look at the pictures and the video, how would you estimate the size of this surf?

By the way this wave happened at U.K.'s famous Fistral Beach near Newquay in Cornwall.  The locals called this wave case as a phenomenon known to be the 'Cribbar', which is named after a reef located at the north end of the beach.  According to Chris Slack, author of the Daily Mail article: "They occur just once every 18 months when conditions involving the Atlantic swells and the onshore winds combine to cause the perfect surf conditions."  Now I am very much wondering how did they came up with this "18 months" number or what kind of data they have that led to this contention?  If they have data that documents this phenomena, it should worth some scientists' time to take a detailed look at it!


I have actually blogged about U.K.'s Cribbar once before here

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Game of "wave dodging" should never, ever, be allowed to be played!

Cullercoats, according to Wikipedia, is an urban area of North East Englandsitting between Tynemouth and Whitley Bay. As there is a semi-circular sandy beach with cliffs and caves, and the village is a popular destination for day-trippers.  Here's a news from Cullercoats a couple of days ago in reported by Alastair Craig:

A GAME of "wave dodging" ended in a dramatic helicopter rescue after a 12-year-old boy plunged into the swollen sea at Cullercoats, North Tyneside.
The lad and two of his pals were on rocks near the shoreline, encouraging each other to get as close to the crashing waves as they could.

But one freak swell washed one of the friends into the heavy sea, which had been whipped up by high winds.
Onlookers dialled 999 at about 3.45pm when they spotted the boy struggling to stay above the water.
Police control operators contacted Humber Coastguard, who co-ordinated a three-pronged rescue.
A Sea King helicopter was scrambled from RAF Boulmer on the Northumberland coast, while the Cullercoats Lifeboat and Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade launched mercy boats.

Today the boy is recovering from the effects of 15 minutes spent in the bitter North Sea but his condition is not life threatening.
A spokeswoman for the Coastguard service said the lad is lucky to be alive and warned other youngsters to respect the dangers of the sea. “There were multiple 999 calls reporting a person struggling in the water after being washed away in the high waves,” she said.
I have never heard of "wave dodging" as a game before and  I must admit that I am surprised to know that there is such silly thing is being played and more depressed to learn that it is even allowed to be played.  This case two days ago was a relatively lucky one.  Now here happens to be a more tragic news from 5 years ago in U.K. DailyMail:
A 13-year-old boy who died after being swept into the raging North Sea while playing a deadly wave-dodging game of "chicken" with friends loved playing outdoors, his mother said today. 
Mark Langton was with a few friends when he was caught by a wave and quickly carried 200 yards into deeper water where he was battered against rocks and boulders at a sea break off the coast at Hendon, Sunderland. 
His death on April 10, the first day of the Easter school break, prompted a warning from safety watchdogs who said that bored children were dicing with death in search of adventure. 
Young friends said they had heard how Mark was playing a game of "chicken" in which youngsters try to dodge waves at the very last minute. 
The teenager's mother, Beverley Steel, paid tribute to her son saying he loved playing outdoors and was not afraid of trying anything.
I can not help feeling sorry for that poor mother who paid tribute to her lost son but not seemed to have really taught him about being prudent.  Now here, again, is another tragic news from BBC 7 years ago:
A 12-year-old girl has died after a game she was playing with friends on a beach in Northumberland went wrong. 
Jade Anderson was playing a dangerous "wave dodging" game with three pals when a wave swept them into the sea. 
Another girl is in hospital while two others were released after being treated for hypothermia. 
Fishermen saved two of the girls before Pc Darren Purvis arrived on the scene, who dived into the water to pull the remaining two to safety.
So please, please, please, parents, please at least teach your children about prudent and safety near water.  Let's not unduly burden the brave rescuers as they are already busy enough on their daily rescue works.  A game of "wave dodging" should not ever being played at any time and at any place! 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Raging storm waves on Lake Michigan

Wave watching is always exciting, especially watching storm waves raging out there safely inside on the internet at home!  So here it is again a latest show of October storm waves on Lake Michigan from yesterday:

Fot those who are not familiar with this area, here's a map of Lake Michigan showing where Sheboygan, Wisconsin is.  Note that there is a Cheboygan, Michigan, so beware not to get confused!

For Great Lakes wave aficionados, autumn is clearly the season for waves and wave watching, and wave recording if that can be made.  But the NDBC buoys are usually being removed in November before winter.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Happened on south-east Lake Michigan

This video report from "abc57news" tells a failed rescue story on Lake Michigan:


Here's the text by Ryan Klund:

NEW BUFFALO TOWNSHIP, Mich. - The Berrien County Marine Patrol boat capsized in rough waters on Lake Michigan just before noon Monday, injuring both officers on board.They were out searching for the body of 18-year-old Mitchell Fajman. Fajman disappeared when his kayak flipped over in rough surf on Saturday.Berrien County’s brand new 25-foot Sea Arc, just delivered a week ago, Monday sits on its side on a sandbar in Lake Michigan. It's just the latest damage waves, have caused over the past three days.
"It’s dangerous," says New Buffalo resident Mary Laurisella. She watched it all unfold from the front seat of her SUV. Laurisella watches the waves at New Buffalo Public Beach every day. "Stay away from the lake," she says. "Stay off the rocks. Stay away from the water."Police can’t stay away. It's day two in their attempts to recover, 18-year-old Mitchell Fajman's body. Fajman is the kayaker who lost his life Saturday to the same lake that flipped the police boat looking for him Monday.
"It's really hard because now it's one of our own," says Larry Pitchford, New Buffalo Police Chief. "Our prayers are with Kurtz and the rest of the crew as well as the family we lost."One of the officers injured was Martin Kurtz, Commander of the county's marine unit. He and the other officer were taken to the hospital for symptoms of hypothermia. The two were released late Monday afternoon.
"They just got caught in a rogue wave and it flipped them over," says Pitchford. He says it's an example of how strong Lake Michigan is. "They train, train (and) train," he says. "But as you can see... even with the best training and continually doing it, accidents can happen."Laurisella says even if there is a job to do it's just too dangerous to be out there. "I would want them to keep their lives," she says. "We've already lost one."New Buffalo Police will keep combing the beach on ATVs incase anything washes onto the shore. The recovery on the water is suspended.

It is not an encouraging story to read for a Wednesday morning, especially when rescuers are involved. But it is what has happening out there when freaque waves are encountered -- not always happy endings!

The local resident's advice of "Stay away from the lake; Stay off the rocks; Stay away from the water!" may be a little extreme.  But otherwise the danger in this time of the year just can not be minimized.  Our heart and prayers go to the families of the lost life and injured rescuers.  May the Lord's blessing be with them all.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Watch raging and ferocious waves during typhoon on video!

John Metcalf of DC area's StormWatch 7 Weather Blog just filed this introduction to the video below:
Typhoon chaser James Reynolds has seen a lot of scary stuff while working as a freelance weather videographer in the Pacific. Recently, he decided to make a highlights reel. You won't want to even smell a sea breeze after watching it.
The short compilation opens up in Taiwan with a truly terrifying wave rising up from roiling seas during 2008's Super Typhoon Jangmi. This is like the Butterbean of waves, one that could knock you out for eternity. The film then cycles through various violent images that Reynolds has collected while documenting the "most extreme and destructive forces of nature." Prepare for unnerving rogue waves, punishing storm surges and more surf than what's on offer at the Red Lobster.
For more of Reynolds' work, visit Typhoon Fury or follow him on Twitter. Video follows the jump.

I did not know there's really "typhoon chasers" to capture those frightening scenes on video. We just have to admire Mr. Reynolds for doing it.  I am not sure that I really enjoy to watch something like that.  I used to think that wave watching from a safe distance is fun.  But this highlights reel is not easy to watch, but worthwhile to watch it at least once. The fury is out there, it's part of the nature -- how many modified nonlinear Schrodinger equation can be adopted to explain some of those ferocious furies?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A sad story of rescue, survival, and tragic lost in the Florida Keys

Here's a U.S. Coast Guard picture:

A Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission boatcrew on scene Oct. 9, 2011, with a boat that capsized and sank near Marathon, Fla., Oct. 8, 2011. Seven of the eight boaters aboard the boat were rescued by the Coast Guard and a good Samaritan.

and there's a sad story of rescue, survival, and tragic lost behind the picture as reported by news24 of Florida this morning:

Marathon - Four hours into a family fishing trip, rough waves flipped a boat off the Florida Keys, tossing eight people overboard. Some didn't know how to swim. Seven of them, including a 4-year-old girl, survived by clinging desperately to their capsized vessel and a small cooler for almost 20 hours, suffering exhaustion, jellyfish stings and hypothermia. 
"When the will to live kicks in, human beings can do amazing things," Coast Guard Petty Officer Nick Ameen said. 
But the 79-year-old matriarch of the group remained missing on Monday and was presumed drowned.
The family went fishing on Saturday morning in less-than-ideal conditions. It was raining, seas topped 2.1m and winds were whipping up to 61kph. After they anchored 5.6km off the island chain, two waves hit suddenly, capsizing the vessel.
The women had just enough time to grab the girl, the cooler and a single life jacket. One of the men tried to rescue his mother, but she slipped through his grasp and disappeared. 
Almost immediately, the two groups - the three women and girl and the three men - drifted apart.
Nearly a day later, as the weather improved on Sunday, fishing boat captain David Jensen headed out with customers to catch live bait. In the distance, he saw a large object floating in the water.
At first, he said, he thought there was only one person holding on to the sunken boat, its bow protruding a few feet out of the water. Then he got closer.
"I tried to get them to swim to the boat, but they said they didn't know how to swim," Jensen said. "Then I had the mate throw them life jackets. One guy put on the life jacket and swam to the boat. The other two guys wouldn't get off the boat. ... They said they didn't know how to swim." 
One of Jensen's customers jumped in and swam over. He tied the boats together, and helped the other two men, one at a time, back to Jensen's boat. 
"They were exhausted. One guy overnight had lost his mother," Jensen said. "He was very visibly upset, which was a little tough because he was the one who spoke the best English." 
Zaida San Jurjo Gonzalez died. Her son, Jorge Alejo Gonzalez, survived along with his wife, Tomasa Torres, the elderly woman's daughter, Elena G Gonzalez, and her boyfriend, Juglar Riveras. 
Also rescued were Jorge and Elena Gonzalez's uncle, Jose Miguel De Armas, his wife, Yunisleidy Lima Tejada, and their 4-year-old daughter, Fabiana De Armas Lima. All are from Florida. 
After the men were found, the fishermen called the US Coast Guard, which found the women hanging on to the floating cooler. 
All of the boaters were soon reunited and treated for shock and hypothermia. 
"They were all pretty happy to see each other," said Kendra Graves, a seaman with the Coast Guard.
It wasn't clear if the boaters were aware of a small-craft advisory that had been posted early on Saturday, warning of bad weather.
"They shouldn't have been out there," said Florida Fish and Wildlife spokesperson Robert Dube, whose agency is investigating. "It was nasty from the get-go." 
- AP
There is not much one can add to this well reported case.  There are already 1174 article published according to Google.  A video report on NBC Today show can be found here.  Our hearts goes to the family for their ordeal and loss.  May God's blessing be with them!  There was small-craft advisory out there, so boaters should always keep close attention to these advisory and warnings.  We can never guard against the unexpected or unpredictable things, but at least we should be closely on alert on what has been predicted and never, never take any undue chances!

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Potential of swepting out to sea

I don't know whether this following nice picture, from, is a real photograph or not:

But, regardless, one should always keep in mind that there is always this possibility for any one walking on the beach, a freaque wave can potentially rushing in at any time, and any place, and for no particularly reason, to swept the person out to sea doesn't matter who he is!

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Liz Bazazi's personal account of an encounter

From an article entitled "Rogue Waves" by Don Glass in the Moment of Science posted January 1, 2008, I found this comment by Liz Bazazi, posted on 11/30/2009, on her first hand experience of an encounter with freaque waves real enlightening:

I, a novice sailor, experienced a rogue wave in the late summer of 1994. It was a sunny day but the seas were rough due to a storm that was making its way up the Atlantic coast. My friend had motored out of Mystic Harbor into 6' seas in Long Island Sound and had just cut the engine to go under sail (I' believe we had passed The Race), when I saw a shocked look cross his teenage son's face. Following his gaze, my eyes fell upon a frighteningly tall (20-30' h. x 70' w. ?) wave heading toward us. I can still see the surreal sight in my mind's eye- a mast high black wall with white froth bubbling down from it's cap... coming right at us. It was not the convex giants I've seen surfers ride, but appeared a flat, vertical surface. My friend managed to fire the engine and turned the bow into the wave a moment before it struck us. The rest is not as clear in my mind. I believe our 38' (?) rose up it. What I recall is the water crashing down on us. Then the devil disappeared. Completely. We looked at each other in stunned disbelief. Incredulous shouts from 2 men in a fishing boat about 100' broke our stupor and confirmed that, yes, we had just survived a freak occurrence. My legs did not shake-- but bounced-- for a half hour after and we sailed less than an hour when, with worsening seas and shaken nerves, we anchored in Stonington harbor for the night. Needless to say, I will remember the experience 'til the end of my days!
This vivid description can only come from someone who was really there!  It's not easy for an eyewitness  to recall so clearly after all these time.  I wish we could read more of this kind of personal account of a real experience!  Thanks to Liz, for sharing your experience with the rest of the world.

By the way the picture shown at the top of this post which is also shown in Glass' article by Korshak is a rare freaque wave happening shot that seems just fit the kind of wave described by Liz Bazazi.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Southern Lake Michigan wave watching

Here's an interesting written article about wave watching in southern Lake Michigan in by Dave Stepens of South Bend Tribune :

MICHIGAN CITY — Huddled together, his arm around her shoulders, Bob and Martha Knepper stood facing the wind-blown sand and stared.

As far as they could see, stretching across the horizon, the gentle blue-green of Lake Michigan had overnight transformed into a raging white sea of fury.
Waves, many that crested around 20 feet, continually crashed against the pier and lighthouse. Waves, riding on top of waves, pushed by a constant north wind, erased nearly 200 feet of beach.

"We’ve been here a billion times, and we’ve never seen it like this," said Martha, who drove with her husband from Edwardsburg — an hour away — just to see nature at a ferocious extreme.

They were not alone.

One after another, cars and trucks rolled through the now unmanned admission gates of Michigan City’s Washington Park, headed for the beach parking lot.

Some simply drove as far as they could and stared through the windshield — most likely to avoid the harsh windblown sand.

Others, clutching everything from phones to high-end digitalcameras, leaned against the wind and tried to capture the moment.

"It’s crazy," said Sheryll Duskin, who came from LaPorte after hearing the National Weather Service warnings about the unusually large waves. It wasn’t clear if she was talking about the weather, or her desire to be outside in it.

Some, like Chris Dillon, weren’t content watching from the beach.
Smartphone in hand, he walked along the pier’s upper wall, toward the lighthouse, making it about halfway out before the waves kept him from going closer.

"You never see it like this, this early in the year," said Dillon, who lives in Michigan City. "Usually it’s only in January or March."

After snapping a few photos on his phone and uploading them to his Facebook account, Dillon said he planned to go home and return with a life jacket so that he could go farther out without too much fear.

The National Weather Service had issued warnings about the conditions along the lakefront for most of Friday morning, where gusts were expected to reach 60 miles an hour. Inland, those winds caused more than 17,000 power outages across Michiana.

By Saturday, the weather service predicted, the wind and waves along the lake would be greatly reduced, but still warned that strong rip currents would exist, making swimming dangerous.

But Friday morning, as the winds continued to howl and the giant waves rolled, no one on the beach seemed ready for it to stop.

"I think I could watch this all morning," Duskin said. "But I’ve got to go to work and get this sand out of my eyes."
This article nicely captured the mood of wave watching.  And here is the accompanying photo gallery showing some scary but exciting pictures that included the two we copied here.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Surf's up in Chicago

Here's a Reuter's video showing what was happening at Chicago's Lake Shore Drive as reported in this U.K. Dailymail article:

Big Waves on Lake Michigan

The last few days big waves are hitting the Great Lakes, here's a nice video shot by Steven Bourelle last Friday, September 30, 2011, which is appropriately entitled "Big Waves on Lake Michigan":

This can be considered as typical scenery of big waves in the Great Lakes.  I attended a conference in Duluth, Minnesota last May, there was one day especially stormy.  I did not have my camera with me when I went to the shore watching the waves, but I remember the waves were rushing in to the western shore of Lake Superior just like this video.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

An occurrence at Lake Onoke, New Zealand

Lake Onoke is located near the south end of New Zealand's North Island along the South Wairarapa coast.  A news about freaque wave is reported by Seamus Boyer in the Wairarapa Times-Age along with this interesting file wave picture:

 A group of Wairarapa whitebaiters are lucky to be alive after being swept into Lake Onoke by a freak wave.

 The whitebaiters were fishing on the spit at the mouth of the lake on Wednesday when a freak wave smashed over the bar and washed several towards the water.

 Lake Ferry Hotel owner Mary Tipoki said she was serving lunch and saw at least two men washed into the lake.

 "The wave came right over the sand bar - it was a huge, huge wave - and just washed them into the lake," she said.

 "We thought we'd better call the rescue helicopter because we've seen this before."

 But she said it seemed one whitebaiter was able to pull the men from the water using a long scoop net.

 "They were very lucky. It was just like watching something on TV really. It gives you that uneasy feeling," Ms Tipoki said.

 The mouth of the lake had closed regularly because of sand build-up caused by high seas since the season began on August 15. It was shut yesterday. "We've had some extremely big seas over the last month and people just need to be aware that the sea is not very forgiving," she said.

 Veteran whitebaiter Cathy Garrity, of Carterton, said scooping at the mouth was more hazardous than setting nets further inland along the shores of the lake.

 Mrs Garrity said she had heard on the grapevine of heavy swells and rogue waves in the past few days.

 People who chose to scoop at the mouth should be aware they were at risk if they felt sand being pulled out from under their feet . . .
 ". . . be aware they were at risk . . ." should a sound advice for any one visiting any coastal area, Whitebaiter or otherwise, near Weirarapa coast or any coastal area of the world ocean and lakes!  Of course what does this awareness entails is still up to each and everyone's interpretation.  Just don't ever let the guard and caution down. As indeed it can happen anywhere and any time -- so expect the unexpected!