Monday, April 30, 2012

What's going on?

The world is changing faster than anyway expected or anticipated -- O.K. may be not this world, but this blogger is!  I was just away for a few days, attended this year's EGU general assembly in Vienna, this blog system as I have been using for 6 or 7 years is all of a sudden become all different now.  I don't know what to make of this.  There is even a video showing how to post, but I have absolutely no idea what they are trying to show me.  What's going on?  A freaque wave must have just hit this blogging system.  For better or worse, I have to feel my way around the system again, re-learn the familiar things that have somewhat lost. Stay tuned!


O.K. it's just a minor transformation into a newer format and system -- may even be an improved system. Nothing to be alarmed or bragged about.  The world turns as usual!

Saturday, April 21, 2012


Wave researches must have heard of the FLIP (FLoating Instrument Platform) is a research vessel that can rotate to a vertical position. It is currently owned by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.  But the details about the FLIP do not seem to be well known.  I am thrilled to have come across this following video that's telling all about the FLIP.  It is specially designed.  Clearly it is not open to general public and it is certainly not cheap to do research there.  The video says that it can survive waves up to 80 feet.  I doubt if they have really  ever encountered a real freaque wave yet!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A happening off Gold Coast

This news from the Australian today has a long headline: "Police confident they will find fisherman sunk by freak wave off the Gold Coast."
POLICE are confident they can find a man missing off the Gold Coast since his boat capsized, after his female companion swam for at least three hours to raise the alarm.
The Gold Coast man, 39, was fishing with a family friend, a woman aged 29, when they were thrown from the 4.2 metre fibreglass boat some time between 9pm and 11pm yesterday.
They started swimming to shore but the woman lost voice contact with the man and became separated after about an hour.
It took her at least three hours to swim back to shore, where she raised the alarm at a Main Beach hotel about 2am.
A huge search is underway for the missing man.
Senior Sergeant Lucas Young of Gold Coast Water Police says the woman has confirmed a black jacket found around 8.30am is hers, and was on board the boat at the time.
The couple didn't have time to grab life jackets or a distress beacon when two large waves hit their boat, the second one causing it to take on water and quickly sink, he said.
Police are hopeful of finding the man, Sen Sgt Young told reporters.
"We're fairly confident we could locate him, yep," he said.
"Last night the wind has dropped out, there's not a big swell out there.
"In these conditions, this gentleman has had experience fishing offshore on the Gold Coast so I can't see any issues there."
He says visibility from the air is good.
There are no suggestions the man had been drinking.
Sen Sgt Young said the woman's efforts were extraordinary.
"She was very fatigued and struggled up the beach over a period of half an hour just to raise the alarm," he said.
The woman was suffering mild hypothermia and shock, and is recovering in Gold Coast Hospital.
Helicopters, jet skis, boats and shore line searchers are scouring the coastline to three nautical miles offshore.
They are yet to find the boat.
This report used the word "freaque" since there can be no doubt as to what had happened. The wind was calm and no big waves were reported when it was so happened that they "didn't have time to grab life jackets or a distress beacon when two large waves hit their boat, the second one causing it to take on water and quickly sink, . . ."

Let's pray that the police;s optism will be realized and rge missing fisherman will be rescued!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Another Yacht race, another tragedy!

Here's from yesterday's Vancouver Sun:

A U.S. flag is seen at half mast at the San Francisco Yacht Club in Belvedere, California April 15, 2012. One sailor died and four were missing after powerful waves battered a sailboat during a yacht race and tossed it into rocks around islands off San Francisco, officials said on Sunday. The eight-member crew of the Low Speed Chase set sail on Saturday as one of 49 yachts competing in the Full Crew Farallones, an annual race around the rugged island chain, according to San Francisco Yacht Club's Director Ed Lynch, where the yacht is based.
This is now a worldwide news, the above reports seems to summarized the best on what had happened:  "powerful" waves caused the happening.  The Vancouver Sun article was by Emmett Berg of Reuters, with Photographer Stephen Lam also of Reuters.  Some more details:

The vessel Low Speed Chase, a 11.5-metre racing and cruising sailboat with a crew of eight, was one of 49 yachts competing on Saturday in a race around South Farallon Island, part of a rugged, sparsely populated chain offshore from San Francisco.
Officials said trouble began as the vessel rounded South Farallon Island on Saturday afternoon. A large wave initially swept four crew members into the ocean and when those remaining aboard tried to turn the craft around, another wave pushed the boat onto rocks, where it foundered. Local media said the second wave tossed three more people into the water.
Please refer to the article for further details.  Not much information about the waves except the descriptive adjectives: a "large" or "powerful" wave swept four crew members into the sea.

The article also alluded to this:
The accident came two weeks after a monster wave smashed into an Australian yacht taking part in a round-the-world race. Four crew members were hurt in that accident, which took place 400 nautical miles off the California coast, and the Coast Guard had to be called in to help. No one was killed.
So this is the yacht race season that's not at all immune to freaque wave attacks and accidents. For us interested bystanders I guess we can only pray for the save recovery of those who are still missing and may God bless those who had lost their lives.  And hope science can help to improve the safety and effective rescue efforts of the exciting sea going sports someday!

Friday, April 06, 2012

Freaque wave in the lab tank

Here's an interesting article from here (the
( -- Scientists have used a Lego pirate floating in a fish tank to demonstrate for the first time that so-called ‘super rogue waves’ can come from nowhere in apparently calm seas and engulf ships.
The article completes with a video on the lab demonstration.
Using a scientific fish tank, a wave generator and a Lego man on a ship floating on the water surface, the scientists were able to demonstrate that rogue waves much bigger than previously thought can occur. The team have labelled these ‘super rogue waves’, as they can be up to five times bigger than the other waves around them.
It's certainly interesting to watch.  But the nagging question remains: Where does it lead to the events in the real ocean out there?  Here's the paper's answer:
“Of course, in real oceans the problem will require more careful analysis, but we expect the result to have a significant impact on the studies of extreme ocean waves and more generally, extreme events in nature and society.”
Now here's a further question: how much do we really know about what's happening in the real ocean beyond speculation?  We can produce freaque waves in the laboratory tank.  But how was the freaque waves in the real ocean generated ?!?

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Rescued in the Pacific Ocean by the U.S. Coast Guard

This news is by CNN:
(CNN) -- The U.S. Coast Guard has dispatched a cutter and helicopter to rescue the crew of a yacht that got caught in stormy seas during a race around the world, the race organizer said Sunday.
The yacht, the Geraldton Western Australia, was hit by a large wave that swept away steering and communications equipment, according to organizers from the Clipper Round the World Race.
The wave also left four crew members with injuries, including possible broken ribs, pelvic sprain and back injury, organizers said. It hit the yacht in stormy weather about 400 miles off the coast of California as the yacht made its way from China to San Francisco.
The USCG Cutter Bertholf was en route and expected to reach yacht Sunday morning and launch a rescue chopper, U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Levi Read said.
The yacht is still in rough conditions, with 9- to 15-foot seas, Read said.
Three of the injured crew are based in Britain and one is Australian, race organizers said.
The race named them as Nik Brbora, 28, a software engineer with a possible pelvic sprain; Jane Hitchins, 50, a doctor with four suspected broken ribs; Mark Burkes, 37, with a back injury; Max Wilson, 62, with two suspected cracked or broken ribs. Wilson is the Australian.
Race organizers said the rest of the crew is "uninjured but shaken by the incident."
A container ship is changing course to meet the stricken yacht, but the Coast Guard will get there first to help stabilize the injured, organizers said.
The 11-month race pits 10 68-foot yachts crewed by amateurs against each other on a 40,000-mile journey around the world. It began in August.
CNN's Alicia Eakin contributed to this report.
So the yacht was hit by a large wave -- did not use the "rogue" word or "freaque" word, which can be interpreted as such.  There is no indication of the size of the large wave, but the sea was still in 9-15 ft waves during the rescue.  Can we classify this as a freaque wave encounter?  I would vote for yes!  By the way the CNN article indicated that there's video but it does not seem to be working at this time.  Hope speedy recovery for the injured crew members.  Salute to the U.S. Coast Guard!


News reports around the world have all starting to report this case. This UK news paper did use the "freak" word.

Update April 6, 2012

This report has some detailed descriptions of the wave: “The wave which rolled the boat must have been over 120ft high, taller than the mast. The force of the water was incredible and the boat was thrown around. It ripped off the satellite communication dome and steering post and below deck was awash."