Real-time Earth and Moon phase

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Rescue at Moi Hole of Oahu, Hawaii

There will be a National Geographic program tonight with this overview:

A four-day trip to Hawaii turns deadly in a few seconds. Hugh Alexander and his girlfriend, Katja visit a high cliff to view giant waves. Suddenly a freak wave crashes right over them, taking Hugh and Katja down instantly. Katja manages to keep her grip on the rocks, but Hugh is washed off the cliff towards the thundering waters and sharp rocks below. He is sucked into a deadly underwater cave, not once, but twice! After hours of working to rescue Hugh, lifeguards finally pull him free of the surf and rush him to the hospital. Miraculously, he recovered and is now on a mission to understand what caused him to survive. Well study oceanographic data from that day to pinpoint the exact characteristics of the surf to understand what really happened.

There's also video and pictures on this web site. It is exactly within the broad interest of this blog. That web site has the videos and pictures about the case. Actually the History channel had shown the same case about the rescue at Moi Hole before. Both programs told the story sufficiently. It would be better to take a look at both programs to get the complete story. While the History Channel concentrated on the rescue, this new National Geographic is trying to look into the data and some science about the wave. Somehow neither of the programs tell when that was happened. Anyway it's a dramatic case with a happy ending, that's the best part of the story. Thanks be to God!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Found and rescued the Lost at Sea!

This was in the Cayman Islands News a few days ago:

Sea search for missing vessel

A 37-foot vessel, the Miss Janice, with six crew on board has gone missing on its way to Swan Island and the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service says it has launched a combined air and sea, search and rescue operation to find it, with the assistance of a visiting Navy ship's helicopter.
And here's a headline on 7/26/2011:



Now this is the headline in Houston Chronicle this morning: Houston-bound tanker saves 6 adrift for days! And the story written by Allan Turner, 7/28/2011:

Travis Hinds knows the ways of the sea. But even the lifelong Cayman Islands fisher­man was caught by surprise when the Caribbean turned mean, sinking his boat and leaving him and a crew of five adrift for nine days with little food and often no water.

For days, crammed in a raft and a tiny lifeboat and beseeching God with nonstop fervor, the crew of the fishing boat Miss Janice watched in despair as up to a dozen ships sailed past without stopping.

Then, in a driving rain shortly before noon on Tuesday, a British-flagged tanker bound for Houston slowed and turned toward the castaways.

"We thanked God. We were trusting in him," Hinds said Wednesday from the tanker, CPO Sweden, as it approached the Texas coast.Among Hinds' crew were his son, Elvis, and brother-in-law, Ernest Rankin. All were in good health.
Thanks be to God!

Now here's what had happened:

Hinds, speaking via satellite phone, said the ordeal began on July 17 as the Miss Janice, heavily laden with freight, left Grand Cayman en route to Honduras.

The 37-foot boat was scheduled to return to the Caymans with seafood. At departure, the water and wind were calm, the sun shining, he said. Five hours later, though, heavy waves pounded the boat.

"I think it may have been overloaded," Hinds, 50, said. "We were low in the water."

Waves slammed the deck as crew members desperately manned the pumps. Then, two giant waves swamped the vessel. Miss Janice's crew jumped overboard, then retrieved the raft and lifeboat from their capsized boat.

"Flash! The boat filled. It all happened so fast …" Hinds said. "We watched it sinking, going down, going down.

"Emergency rations — a little water and a parcel of nearly inedible food — soon were depleted.

After two days without water and hours of impassioned prayer, it rained. Hinds and the crew captured rainwater in a two-liter container, then, in ensuing days, rationed it a tiny cup at a time.

Spirits drooped as ships passed, oblivious to their presence despite efforts to signal them with a mirror.At 6 a.m. Tuesday, members of the Miss Janice crew shared a cup of water, embarking on a fast dedicated to God. A little more than five hours later, the Sweden hove into view.
So it was a case of "two giant waves swamped the vessel" but no one has blamed it on freaque waves yet. But regardless the semantics, the two giant waves were certainly not expected and unwelcome -- typical of what most likely what had happened. Another case of vulnerable fishing boat in trouble. I must say that I really admire the faith of the fishermen, never despair or dispirit, placed their total trust in God. And God duly answered them! Thanks be to God!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

An encounter in Lake Michigan



News of freaque waves in the Great Lakes has not been very frequent in the Google News. But there is one reported yesterday by WWMT, NewsChannel3:
NEAR TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) – Tuesday saw a massive Coast Guard rescue in Lake Michigan.

Dozens of people were rescued by helicopter on Tuesday after their tour boat was damaged by a wave Monday night.

This happened by Sleeping Bear Dunes near Traverse City.

Officials say a rogue wave crashed over the boat's bow, smashed a window and fried the boat's electronics.

More than 60 people were on board the tour boat at the time.

Two people were airlifted with shoulder injuries, everyone else is expected to be okay.
The above photo of the involved 60 ft tour boat "Pictured Rocks" was taken from another news item in MLive.com by Zane McMillin of the Grand Rapids Press. Here's the Associated Press report:

Authorities say dozens of people waded to shore and two were rescued by helicopter from a tour boat that was damaged by a wave in Lake Michigan near Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

No major injuries were reported.

The Coast Guard says the operator of the tour boat Pictured Rocks called for help Monday evening after a wave reportedly went over the boat's bow, smashing a window and causing the boat's electronics to malfunction. The boat had 61 people aboard.

The boat's operator told the Coast Guard he grounded the boat near the shore in Empire in part to prevent further damage.

All but two of the passengers waded to shore. The Coast Guard says two with apparent shoulder injuries were lifted from the boat by helicopter.

So it's basically a minor incidence that called fore Coast Guard support. Probably other similiar minor occurrences that did not request Coast Guard help may have just been skipped the reporters' attention. Anyway it was unquestionably a case of freaque wave encounter. Fortunately there have not been a whole lot of this kind of reports in the Great Lakes area. Count our blessings!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Happened at San Jose Del Cabo

It's always sad to read a tragic story, this one in Vancouver Sun yesterday is especially so. It should not have happened. Only if they knew the wave was coming and stayed away. It's so unnecessary . . .

Fighting a relentless Pacific current with a damaged right shoulder, Dale Clack pulled his 15-year-old son's arm from around his neck and said, "I love you, son, go get help."

Then he drifted away.

Clack, a 51-year-old Stony Plain, Alta., resident, was found dead Tuesday morning, less than a day after a wave swept him from the shores of a San Jose Del Cabo resort on the west coast of Mexico.

The medical examiner told family Clack had drowned, said friend Fred Fudger, whose daughter has been dating Clack's 15-year-old son Dakota for a year.

Clack was at the Hola Grand Faro resort for the wedding of his 23-year-old daughter Karchiri. On the second day at the resort, he was wading up to his waist with Dakota.

"A big wave knocked Dale down and pulled him out further," said Fudger.

"He yelled to Dakota, 'I can't touch the bottom and I can't swim.'"

A rotator cuff injury from work several years ago left Clack unable to swim, despite two surgeries to fix it. Dakota went after his dad. He reached him, but was unable to pull him to shore. The current kept pushing them out.

"Another wave took both of them out farther and farther. Dakota struggled for some time to get his dad back to shore," Fudger said.

Clack went under the waves. Dakota reached down and pulled his father up by the neck. Clack clenched his chest as his lungs filled with water. As Dakota pulled vainly against the wave, Clack grabbed his son's arm from around his neck, pulled it off and told his son he loved him.

"I think he probably knew he wasn't going to make it and if Dakota kept trying, Dakota wasn't going to make it," Fudger said.

After he finally let go, Dakota himself nearly drowned, struggling for nearly an hour to get back to shore.

Unlike those along the Caribbean coast, resorts along the west coast of Mexico — including Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta — are notorious for strong currents, said Lesley Paull, owner of Paull Travel in Edmonton. These areas are usually marked quite clearly, Paull said.

"You have to be careful where you swim. We always advise people going to Mexico to be careful of the red flags."

In February, a Calgary couple was holding hands with family members on a beach in Cabo San Lucas, about 30 kilometres away from the most recent drowning, when a rogue wave washed them and their family into the sea. All except one were swept into the Pacific.

Dale McDougall, 62, and his wife Linda McDougall, 59, were killed.

Paull said the San Jose Del Cabo area isn't known to be as bad as Cabo San Lucas, but it's still dangerous.

Clack has already been cremated. Funeral plans have not been finalized.

The wedding will go ahead Thursday, though it won't be on the beach as planned. Clack would have wanted the wedding to go ahead, Fudger said.

Yes he would have certainly wanted the wedding to go ahead. But how can anyone be still joyful as a wedding should now! All it was was an unexpected wave at the beach -- and nothing is the same again. May God help the family to cope with this tragedy and bless Clack's soul, may he rest in peace!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Happened during a regatta race

Freaque waves are certainly not immune to anyone including enthusiastic sailors during a boat race. This story reported yesterday in thisisthewestcountry.co.uk:

A BURNHAM sailing enthusiast was rescued after her boat was capsized by a ‘freak wave’ during a regatta race.

Sue Walker had been competing against around a dozen other boats with husband Andy when their 16ft vessel was struck and she was tipped over the side.

She was in the water near Stert Island for about ten minutes but fellow Burnham Sailing Club members came to her aid.

Sue said: “It happened so quickly. We saw a wave behind us but we couldn’t really do anything about it. It tipped the boat and my weight was on that side, and over I went.

“I’m a strong swimmer, so I wasn’t frightened and stayed surprisingly calm. We were doing well with the race and thought we were in for a chance – but that was cut short.

“There were no injuries, except to my pride, perhaps. It was comforting to know there were other people around and everybody rallied around – but I didn’t want to spoil their race.

“The lesson is these things happen and you have to be prepared.”

Burnham RNLI was alerted at 1.34pm, following the incident on Saturday, but stood down five minutes later.

Club president Dave Humphrey said: “I was on the committee boat and the race was going well but, unfortunately, due to the weather, the boat was tipped over. Other boats were nearby and Sue was picked up within ten minutes, so all’s well that ends well.”

Mrs Walker has not been deterred from sailing and took part in a race the following day, where they came ninth out of 11 competitors.

I guess the lesson to be learned from this story is the comment by Mrs. Walker: “The lesson is these things happen and you have to be prepared.” It is easy to say than done. But one just can not over emphasize such a life lesson by any means!

Life or death struggle

This story from Australia as told in the Ballina shire Advocate today under a headline of "Life or death struggle" :

A FISHING trip quickly turned into a fight for survival for Ballina men Ray Fox and Barry Fuller, after their boat capsized on the Richmond River bar earlier this month.

The pair was returning from fishing at the 48-fathom line when a freak wave hit portside and flipped the boat upside down.

“I’d gone to have a look at the bar early in the morning and I watched five boats go out with no problem,” Mr Fox said.

“So we decided to go out.

“We came back to the bar just before 2pm and were coming across when it just came out of nowhere.”

Mr Fuller said the bar was “pretty low” and that as soon as they hit the river, there was a “washing machine effect”.

“It all happened very quickly,” he said.

“I didn’t even realise what was going on until the boat was up in the air.”

Both men were trapped in the water underneath the boat.

Although they were wearing lifejackets, these actually prevented the men from escaping easily.

“It was such a weird sensation,” Mr Fox said.

“I was plunging down into the water, the noises were all distorted and I knew I had to get out of there.

“I had no time to think about anything.

“It was a desperate and life-threatening situation.”

Mr Fuller said waves were breaking over the top of them, but then he caught a glimpse of sunlight.

“I thought I was gone,” he said.

“I’d been trying to get out and I couldn’t.

“This was definitely life or death.

“I’ve been on the water for 16 years and nothing like this has ever happened before. I would never want to go through something like that again.

“But this bar has been getting worse and worse.

“We are going to have another death here unless it is dredged – something has got to be done.”

Mr Fuller and Mr Fox are “extremely grateful” for the assistance provided by Marine Rescue Ballina, Ballina Jet Boat Surf Rescue, Ballina Lighthouse and Lismore Surf Life Saving Club and two young men on jet skis.

They also appreciated the assistance from Ballina ambulance, Ballina police and the staff at the Ballina Hospital.

“Those organisations do such a good job – I don’t know what would have happened to us if they weren’t there to help,” Mr Fox said.

Is this an unusual happening? I doubt it. But it always seems to have happened unexpectedly -- especially to the ones that got entangled. But when it happens, "it just came out of nowhere"! That seems to be the basic characterization of a freaque right now. It is to be expected even though no one expects it in general. So when it happens it becomes a life or death struggle. In this story Mr. Fox and Mr. Fuller are the fortunate ones. They became the clear winner of the struggle. Thanks be to God!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Happened at Logan's Beach Warrnambool, Victoria.

This news story by Jono Pech in The Warrnambool Standard :
THREE children and a man escaped injuries on Sunday after a monster wave swept them from Logan's Beach's stair walkway.

Two Melbourne families were left in shock as a father and his seven-year-old daughter were swept into the ocean, during a visit to the popular whale-watching lookout.

The father of the two other children, who were hit against the cliff face, yesterday questioned the beach's hazard signage and suggested blocking access during dangerous conditions.

Passing through Warrnambool on Sunday, the two families stopped at Logan's Beach for lunch after spending four days holidaying in Mount Gambier.

While taking photos on the beach's stair walkway, a wave came up to the tenth step and totally submerged the tourists, dragging one man and his daughter to sea.

Melbourne resident Terence Alvares said his two children, aged 12 and 14, were hit against the cliff face but managed to grasp onto some long sea grass, while the others waded back to shore.

"I was on the tenth step and water hit me around my waist; it was that high," he told The Standard yesterday.

"We weren't anywhere near the water. You wouldn't expect anything like that and if you can't swim you'd be in trouble.

"My friend's daughter lost her glasses and lost her shoes."

Mr Alvares said the children just wanted to have a play and had no intention of going in the water.

While car park signage warns of large surf and overtopping waves, there is no reference to the stairway being hazardous at Logan's Beach.

Mr Alvares said he was amazed there were no signs on the beach and access had not been closed in the dangerous conditions.

"There was a real danger of loss of life," he said.

"I want to make sure someone else doesn't have same situation as us.

"My kids were having nightmares last night."

Now this is a good news/bad news thing, the bad news is clearly that it happened and it gave the children nightmares, but the good news is that everyone was safe and sound, nothing worse had happened, thank God.

According to this Olive Journey blog post,

Logans Beach is said to be one of the finest whale viewing location in the world. The whales perform their annual pilgrimage to Logans Beach between mid June to early October to give birth and prepare their babies for the long journey to Southern Antarctic.

So this is the right time for whale watching there and it's certainly should not be surprised that whatever or wherever a freaque wave case will always make its appearance.

Olive Journey presented this picture in the March 11, 2011 post.

I don't know if this is the same stairway as reported in the above news article. But whatever if wave can comeup to 10th steps of the stair way, it is frightening not only to the children. Thankfully this story had a basically happy ending. Still it is again a sober reminder that freaque waves are everywhere and anywhere. When it happens it just happens. Beware!

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Tramore beach tragedy

LinkImage: davidodriscoll via Flickr

The above is a nice picture of Tramore beach of Ireland. According this travel advertisement, "Meaning “Big Strand”, Tramore is one of the most aptly named towns in the region, with its famous 5 km golden, sandy beach surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, and one of the regions most popular resorts." But this Irish Journal just reported a tragedy happened here:

A WOMAN WAS DROWNED after being caught by waves as she visited a beach with her young daughter yesterday.

The 39-year-old, named by official sources as Mary Kelly, was walking along the shoreline with her family at Tramore beach in Co Waterford when they were hit by a freak wave, according to reports. Her daughter managed to reach safety but Mary was swept out to sea at around 8.40am.

The alarm was raised and crews at Tramore RNLI and the Coast Guard helicopter were dispatched. GardaĆ­ arrived at the scene to find the child, believed to be aged under ten, safe but the mother caught in the waves, the Irish Independent reports. A local surfer helped bring Mary ashore and there were attempts to administer CPR, but she was pronounced dead after being airlifted to hospital, according to RTE.

According to the Irish Daily Star (print edition only), Mary’s mother also witnessed the tragedy as the family were on holiday in Tramore at the time. A relative told the paper: “From what we’ve been told, it happened all of a sudden. A wave came in and knocked Mary over and then another came in and pulled her into the water.”

The daughter is reported to be now back at home with her father.

A very tragic story -- but not surprising to this blog. How can anyone be expecting freaque waves when enjoying a stroll on a beautiful beach like this one? But that's always happening all around the world. This time it's the beautiful Tramore beach of Ireland. The more depressing thing is, however, that knowing the fact that no one is ever trying to do any practical research about it. So it just happens here, there, somewhere, sometime, somehow! May the good Lord bless Mrs. Mary Kelly's soul and helping her family to cope with this tragedy. Another little girl is going to grown up without her loving mother. But it can happen to the little girl or Mary's mother also. We need to find out what's going on and how to prevent them. Unfortunately at the present there is no one doing that. So when you go to the beaches, beware!

Monday, July 04, 2011

Nightmare on a fishing trip holiday


This 115-foot (35-meter) vessel, the Erik, sank about 60 miles (100 kilometers) south of the port of San Felipe around 2:30 a.m. PDT (5:30 a.m. EDT; 0930 GMT) Sunday.

Nightmare on a fishing trip holiday, and freaque waves are to blame. According to the City News Service:
A chartered ship, packed with more than 40 passengers on a Fourth of July fishing trip, was struck by two rogue waves in the Sea of Cortez and capsized, prompting the Coast Guard to send a helicopter from San Diego to help search for survivors.

The ship, called the Erik, was sold-out for a four-night trip out of San Felipe, 200 miles southeast of San Diego. One person was confirmed drowned, 8 people were missing, and 37 souls had been rescued at sea or swam ashore, said a Mexican Navy spokesman at San Felipe.

The Erik is a “mother ship,” with supplies, sleeping berths and a galley for a fleet of “panga” boats that take fishermen to spots in the northern end of the Sea of Cortez. Trips are offered by a Dana Point company called JigStop and are popular with Southern California residents.

The vessel sank near Isla San Luis, Baja California, with 44 people aboard around 2:30 a.m. Sunday, according to the Coast Guard. Most passengers swam to shore, and some were rescued by other boats.
This is a truly nightmare as it happened after midnight in very early morning. They were struck by two freaque waves, but as usual no more detail about the waves that caused the nightmare. Here, again, shows that freaque waves make no distinction of where, when, how and why, when it happens, it just happens, even in the always safe Sea of Cortez. Hope all the missing ones be safely rescued, let the one confirmed drowned be rest in peace. May God bless us all always!

Update July 5, 2011

While the area is generally popular with the southern California residents, many in this case are actually from northern California -- they are Bay area tourist on an annual July 4th fishing trip as this updated local KTVU.com news reports:
By early Monday, 19 of the tourists and all 16 crew members had been picked up by the navy or other fishing boats after clinging to coolers, rescue rings and life vests for more than 16 hours.

Mexican navy Capt. Benjamin Pineda Gomez said he had no name or details about the man who died. But he said with the warm weather and water temperature, it's still possible the others missing are alive.

"A person who casts away can survive many days. That sea is calm," he said.

The 115-foot (35-meter) vessel, the Erik, sank about 60 miles (100 kilometers) south of the port of San Felipe around 2:30 a.m. PDT (5:30 a.m. EDT; 0930 GMT) Sunday, the second day of a weeklong vacation fishing trip the men had organized for several years each Independence Day holiday.

The boat capsized less than 2 miles (3 kilometers) from shore, but the navy extended its search 60 miles (100 kilometers) deeper into the gulf later Monday after scouring the area by helicopter and airplane and finding nothing, Pineda said.

Most of the 27 men are from Northern California and had made the trip before, eating gourmet dinners on board every night and coming home with ice chests full of fish.
The part that the Mexico Navy Captain say people can survive for many days in the kind of condition there is certainly encouraging.

As behind every single count in the news report there is also a real human story there. The reporter talked to Kristina Bronstein, who is engaged to missing tourist Mark Dorland of Twain Harte, California.
She heard about the accident Monday morning from a trip organizer's wife, who told her Dorland, 62, was one of the first people to fall into the water. He wasn't wearing a life vest.

The couple are to be married next month.
Let's pray for the safe rescue of Mr. Dorland and all those who are still counted as missing.
Tourist Michael Ng of Belmont, California, was rescued with another fisherman as they tried to swim to shore for help, buoyed by a cooler. He was part of a group of 12 friends on the trip.

"I'm relieved I'm alive, but I'm scared for the people who haven't been found yet," he said, adding that he plans to stay in San Felipe during the search and hopes the others are still alive. "We were not very far from shore, so people were beached or stranded on some local islands."

"Some rogue waves hit the boat [and] it started sinking. They put on life jackets and had to bob in the water for a while," the survivor's wife Ya Ng told KTVU in a phone interview.

She said she spoke with her husband Monday morning.

"He said he was praying for his life -- praying for help. Just hoping someone would come by and rescue them," said Ng.
And
62-year-old Novato resident Richard Ciabattari works for the San Francisco Giants as an usher and was one of those who were rescued from the boat that capsized early Sunday morning. He was wearing a life jacket.

"He was one of the ones who were lucky,"" his wife Jan Askew told KTVU Monday night. "He was a good swimmer."

Askew said her husband has been emotional during his phone calls to her but was physically unharmed. He told her he spent 12 hours in the water. She has also dealt with conflicting emotions since hearing the news.

"Relief and sorrow," said Askew. "Sorrow for the other people who don't know about their loved ones. That's got to be horrible."

Askew told KTVU her husband and other survivors were staying at a hotel and trying to figure out how to get home with all their car keys and passports are at the bottom of the ocean.
These are all real life human stories that every this kind of mishap entails. May God's blessing be with those still missing and may they all be safely rescued.