Thursday, June 27, 2013

Pray for the missing US schooner in South Pacific

This is the AFP file picture of a schooner posted in the South China Morning Post to accompany the following distressing news:

Searchers said on Thursday they have grave concerns for seven people aboard an American schooner that has been missing for three weeks between New Zealand and Australia.
Maritime New Zealand said on Thursday that searches by plane this week found no sign of the 70-foot (21-metre) wooden vessel named Nina, which was built in 1928.
Authorities say there are three American women and three American men aged between 17 and 73 on board. Also aboard is a British man, aged 35.
The boat left the Bay of Islands in northern New Zealand on May 29. Authorities say the last communication was on June 4, when the Nina was about 370 nautical miles west of New Zealand.
Steve Rendle, a spokesman for the Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand, said authorities were first alerted to a potential problem on June 14, when they were contacted by concerned family members of the crew.
A storm that day saw winds gusting up to 110 kilometres (68 miles) per hour and waves of up to 8 metres (26 feet).
“Quite often when yachts are sailing around, they have their own arrangements when it comes to keeping in contact,” he said.
He said the boat had an emergency locator beacon aboard but it had not been activated.
Rendle said authorities began a communications search on June 14, which involved attempting to contact the boat through various radio frequencies as well as contacting other boats in the same area.
He said a New Zealand Air Force plane on Tuesday conducted a search around the area where the boat went missing. A second search by the plane on Wednesday went as far as the Australian coast but again turned up nothing.
He said he didn’t have an exact timetable for the boat’s trip, but that authorities would have expected it to have arrived in Australia by this week.
So intense prayers are in order for the safety of the 7 people on board. May God's mercy and blessing to bring them safe sailing.

Meteotsunami hits New Jersey Barnegat Light

This story was published in the evening of The Morning Call of the "Lehigh Valley's First Source for News" of June 25, 2013 written by Peter Hall with the title of "Freak Jersey shore wave being called a tsunami."   The article reports a firsthand account of the tsunami-like wave from Brian Cohen, who was spear-fishing in the inlet when the wave hit.
Cohen said the tide going out through the inlet suddenly became stronger about 3:30 p.m., carrying divers over a submerged breakwater and eventually exposing rocks in the structure that are normally 3to 4 feet underwater. 
The strong current out to sea continued for one or two minutes, and Cohen backed his boat away from the breakwater to avoid being pulled over it, according to the tsunami warning center. 
Cohen then noticed a large wave 6 feet tall from trough to peak spanning the mouth of the inlet. The current reversed direction, causing a surge of sea water into the inlet that washed divers back over the breakwater.
One of the main consequence of the phenomenon is that reportedly there were three people who were walking on a breakwater south of the inlet, normally 5 or 6 feet above the ocean, were swept into the water. Two of them were injured badly enough to require medical treatment, according to the report of NOAA’s tsunami warning center.

The news is clearly posting wide interests as it has been widely reported around the country and beyond.  But it was up to the USA Today which published the report by Todd B. Bates and Kirk Moore of Asbury Park Press that appeared to set the news straight by first reporting with the correct terminology currently used in the academic world:  "Meteotsunami that hit Barnegat Light on June 13 knocked three off the inlet jetty, injuring at least two people" :
ASBURY PARK, N.J. -- It appears that a rare type of tsunami called a "meteotsunami" hit the New Jersey coast June 13, with Barnegat Light bearing the brunt of the wave.
"There was a strong weather system that moved from across the eastern U.S. that day, then moved offshore New Jersey," said Paul Whitmore, director of the West Coast/Alaska Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer, Alaska.
Strong weather systems can cause jumps in air pressure, spawning waves that act just like tsunamis, Whitmore said.
"The impacts were greatest there in Barnegat Light," he said. An approximately 6-foot wave knocked three people off the inlet jetty, injuring at least two of them, according to a center report.
So there you have it: a happening of meteotsunmai in New Jersey shore! 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Hero fisherman saves mate in epic swim

This happy ending story today is from Australia's Seven News:

A hero fisherman has saved the life of his injured mate after an epic three-hour swim through freezing waters off the Gold Coast.
A freak wave struck the men's dinghy as they returned from a fishing trip late on Tuesday afternoon, leaving one of them with two dislocated shoulders and a dislocated hip.
They had just enough time to grab their lifejackets before the boat went under.
In a heroic act of endurance, the injured man's mate hauled him across two kilometres of freezing open ocean, battling strong currents and big waves.
Three hours later the pair came to ashore on South Stradbroke Island, but were still in danger as they hadn't set off their distress beacon and had no shelter as temperatures plunged into the single digits.
The men were able to gather branches, which they used to make a crude shelter while they awaited rescue.
Relatives of the men contacted police on Tuesday night when the men failed to return from the trip and the search area was narrowed, based on where the men usually fished.
At one point, the freezing men could see a search helicopter on a beach on the island, but they weren't able to signal the crew.
Sergeant Tony Nelson said the pair knew the chopper would be back and resigned themselves to wait in the cold.
"Once the boat capsized, they were able to adapt quite quickly," he told reporters.
"They were always confident that they would make it to the shore. I think they were fortunate."
The men are both in a stable condition in hospital.
The man who towed his mate to shore is being treated for hypothermia.  
And this man is most certainly the hero!  The Seven News article has an appropriate headline: "Hero fisherman saves mate in epic swim." 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Miracle at sea in Atlantic near Nigeria

This news, a few days old, from gCaptain by Joe Brock, just came to my attention:
WARRI, Nigeria, June 12 (Reuters) – After two days trapped in freezing cold water and breathing from an air bubble in an upturned tugboat under the ocean, Harrison Okene was sure he was going to die. Then a torch light pierced the darkness.
Ship’s cook Okene, 29, was on board the Jascon-4 tugboat when it capsized on May 26 due to heavy Atlantic ocean swells around 30 km (20 miles) off the coast of Nigeria, while stabilising an oil tanker filling up at a Chevron platform.
Of the 12 people on board, divers recovered 10 dead bodies while a remaining crew member has not been found.
It is an incredible story! Here's the punchline of the survival story:
Somehow Okene survived, breathing inside a four foot high bubble of air as it shrunk in the waters slowly rising from the ceiling of the tiny toilet and adjoining bedroom where he sought refuge, until two South African divers eventually rescued him.
with some further details:
At 4:50 a.m. on May 26, Okene says he was in the toilet when he realised the tugboat was beginning to turn over. As water rushed in and the Jascon-4 flipped, he forced open the metal door.
“As I was coming out of the toilet it was pitch black so we were trying to link our way out to the water tidal (exit hatch),” Okene told Reuters in his home town of Warri, a city in Nigeria’s oil-producing Niger Delta.
“Three guys were in front of me and suddenly water rushed in full force. I saw the first one, the second one, the third one just washed away. I knew these guys were dead.”
What he didn’t know was that he would spend the next two and a half days trapped under the sea praying he would be found.
Turning away from his only exit, Okene was swept along a narrow passageway by surging water into another toilet, this time adjoining a ship’s officers cabin, as the overturned boat crashed onto the ocean floor. To his amazement he was still breathing.
Read the whole article, it's fascinating!  And here's another gCaptain report by Bob Almeida entitled "Miracle at sea . . .":
As reported earlier this week, tragedy struck offshore Escravos, Nigeria on Sunday 26 May when theanchor handling tug Jacson 4 sankin heavy weather.  Divers recovered 10 bodies from the sunken ship and 1 is still missing.
Miraculously however, the ship’s cook, Mr. Okene Harrison, was found alive after spending roughly two days inside the sunken vessel at a depth of 30 meters.
Now how does one to expect a miracle to survive in a disaster?

Monday, June 24, 2013

Tribute for a fallen surfer at Goldcoast Burleigh

Here's a nice coast nearshore area picture published by the this morning:

It's the picture of a surf zone complete with surf waves with surfers gathered that seems they are having an enjoyable time.  The picture has this caption:   "Dozens of surfers paddle out to remember Matt Hughes, who died in a freak surf accident at Byron Bay recently."  The title of the article is: "Tribute for fallen surfer."  And now the story:
DOZENS of surfers paddled out to Matt Hughes' favourite break at Burleigh on the weekend to pay tribute to the father-of-three, who died in a freak surfing accident at Byron Bay.
Family members held hands and formed a small circle inside the ring of surfers during the emotional tribute on Saturday, scattering rose petals in the waves he loved so much.
Mr Hughes was killed when his longboard hit him on the head, bursting a vital blood vessel, on June 9 at Byron Bay's The Pass.
The 39-year-old's brother Anthony Hughes said his family was overwhelmed by the support, with about 500 people attending the paddle-out.
``It went as good as we could have hoped for,'' he said.
``It was uplifting but I'm still riding the roller-coaster at the moment.
``It was a beautiful show of just how much he was loved in the community. It was huge.
``To be honest, it really does show the sort of guy he was. He was just a likeable, easy-going guy.''
Matt's wife, Michelle, who saw the accident unfold, said she took comfort in the fact that her husband's organs were used to save the lives of at least five people.
It is a rather bitter sweet story.  The tragedy was not caused by freaque wave but it was a  " freak surf accident " unfortunately.   No accident is expected or can be predicted. This one is especially seemingly should not have happened. But it did and  it's heart warming to see the surfers are out there paying tribute to the tragic fallen surfer. We sincerely pray for Mr. Matt Hughes, R.I.P. and hope this kind of freak accident will never ever happen again.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Super full moon

According to this news item:

“A supermoon is when the moon will come to its closest point in its orbit around the earth for the entire year,” says Derrick Pitts, chief astronomer at the Franklin Institute. 
The moon will appear 14 percent larger than normal as it swings closer to Earth than usual.
It was supposed to be cloudy last night and it was.  But around 10:30 pm the cloud opened up somewhat and the moon brightly appeared and I was able to captured the supermoon of 2013 successfully!

I guess moon always holding plenty of romantic notions for human mind ever since ancient times, even after the Apollo lunar mission and Astronaut Neil Armstrong landed the mankind's giant leap on the moon, we still like to keep some of the mystics from our childhood fancy.  Somehow for me, looking at that bright super moon last night, for a brief moment, remembering those long faded childhood dreams, I feel young again!


This World of Science Facebook page here has the super full moon image from all around the world.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Ocean waves seen from outer space

I have been advocating making spatial realistic ocean wave measurements, but at what scale?  Here are two fascinating views from current astronauts Karen Nyberg and Luca Pamitano on the International Space Station Expedition 36/37.  The pictures were presented separately on Twitter recently:

The following picture is from Astronaut Karen Nyberg: The Maldives

Now these are the real spatial ocean wave pictures as seen from the outer space we have never seen before.  What do we know about them? Any freaque waves in there?  Most importantly why would anyone can still settle for 70 year old single-point wave measurements?

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Atlantic Ocean Road in Norway

When I first saw this picture in World of Science, my immediate thought was how are the waves along the road side of this Atlantic Ocean Road in Norway?

Well, the answer is here and in this video:

Curiosity can always be fulfilled on the internet!  Exciting wave watching there! Sincere thanks to all for sharing!

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Fishos flipped overboard!

The title of this report in is "Fishos flipped overboard." Fisho, according to Wiktionary is an Australian slang for fisherman. Here's the story written by Ellie Turner:

THREE brave fishos swam almost a kilometre to the shore of a remote Territory island - in croc-infested waters - after a freak swell swamped their 4.5m tinnie.Public servant Aaron Packham, 38, said the sea was calm when he and his wife, Dannielle , and their mate Brett dropped anchor in their well-equipped boat at Bynoe Harbour yesterday.
"It got a bit choppy, so we headed closer to shore - then two or three decent waves jumped in the boat,'' Mr Packham said.
"There was nothing that we could do.
"Another one came over and just drenched the boat, and it went completely down.
"I tied the EPIRB around my neck and started swimming.''
They had travelled about 60km from Crab Claw Island on the second day of a fishing weekend when trouble struck.
The trio used Eskies and a fuel tank as floaties.
Brett was picked up by a crew of fishermen who took him to Crab Claw, southwest of Darwin, to raise the alarm and get more help.
But the boat was too small to take all of them.
Mr Packham set off the emergency beacon when he and his wife climbed ashore on Indian Island at 11am.
The Careflight turbo-prop King Air plane, en route from Darwin to Katherine, was diverted to search the popular fishing harbour.
It showed a Navy helicopter where the couple, who suffered some scratches, were stranded.
A Careflight chopper picked them up and the team later drove them back to Bynoe to pick up their car.
"The boat's upside down somewhere bashing against rocks,'' Mr Packham said.
He said they were all thankful to the emergency crews and the other fishos who helped during the rescue.
"We had all the right gear but that's just the way of nature,'' Mr Packham said.
"We're lucky to be alive.''
The last sentence is certainly a welcome punch line for the story. To that we can only add "Amen." All it took was "two or three decent waves jumped in the boat" and then "another one came over" that did it! A fishing trip ended unfortunately with their boat "upside down somewhere bashing against rocks."  Well, whatever happen, happened. Let's just be happy and thank God for the fact that they are alive and well. Deo Gratias!