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Thursday, June 07, 2012

A "Terrifying" freak wave

The Australia Daily Examiner published the following encounter story online by Dominic Zietsch this morning entitled: "'Terrifying' freak wave hits YSLSC". That's Yamba Surf Life Saving Club as shown in the above picture given in this ABC NEWS.  Yamba is located on the northern east coast of Australia south of Brisbane.

HE'S lived on the coast for years but Yamba Surf Life Saving Club (YSLSC) caretaker Mark Gillespie said he'd never experienced anything like the "terrifying" freak wave which smashed into the club house on Wednesday night.
A king tide combined with a huge swell created massive seas on Wednesday night and the YSLSC - which usually sits about 30 metres above the high water mark - had the surf lapping at its doors for most of the evening.
Mr Gillespie, who lives at the club, said with the king tide approaching he'd gone downstairs at about 8.30pm to open the roller doors to the club's boatshed which was standard procedure when the water was high to minimise structural damage to the club.
"After that I thought, 'okay I've got half an hour until the actual high tide hits, so I'll duck upstairs and make myself a coffee,'" Mr Gillespie said.
"So I grabbed my coffee and went out onto the veranda for a look and as I walked out onto the veranda I saw this huge wave coming and within two seconds it hit.
"It sounded like huge rumbling train then a massive bang, it just shook the whole place - it was pretty frightening actually."
Mr Gillespie said the spray and white water from the freak wave soaked him on the balcony which is about four metres above the ground.
YSLSC President Al Schofield said the wave - apart from making a "hell of a mess" - caused structural damage to a number of walls, broke glass sliding doors and washed away some equipment.
"We've lost some fuel cells, covers off motors and a few (rescue) boards are missing as well," Mr Schofield said.
Mr Gillespie said a lot more equipment would be missing if it wasn't for the quick thinking of an unknown young man.
"There was a young guy out taking night shots over near the pool and he saw the wave hit the building - he came running over to help me stop some of the equipment wash away," Mr Gillespie said.
Mr Gillespie said the young man helped drag one of the club's rescue boats and several surf skis from the surf - Mr Gillespie urged the young man to make himself known to the club so he could be thanked.
"He put himself in physical danger to help save a lot of our gear so he needs a big pat on the back," Mr Gillespie said.
Mr Schofield said it was too early to tell how many dollars in damage had been done to the club and said it would probably be a few weeks before all the damage could be repaired.
When we think of a beach house being hit by waves, the first picture come to mind will probably be those hunting Tsunami scenes from Japan last year.  But this is not tsunami, this is really a beach front freaque wave encounter that happened out of blue all in a few seconds!  The author of the article indicates the wave was created by "king tide combined with a huge swell" which is certainly plausible -- but we really don't know what was really happened.  We don't know why it happen to have happened at that place and at that moment without warning and how and why it all came about!  But Mr. Gillespie witnessed the whole encounter: he saw this huge wave coming and within two seconds it hit!  I think the most important aspect of his observation is that he indicated "It sounded like huge rumbling train then a massive bang . . ." and that "the spray and white water from the freak wave soaked him on the balcony which is about four metres above the ground."  That was scary! This one particularly came with sound as it arrives.  Thank God he is fine and tells us all the details he experienced -- and that brave young man "came running over" to help secure some of the equipments. I guess all in all we have no doubt that this kind of encounter can happen as it was reported.  But we just have no idea regarding to why and how?  Does it always came like a "huge rumbling train"?

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