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.

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