Saturday, May 31, 2014

Freaque waves as icebreaker

In the midst of hot summer in North America, it's not timely to think of ice and icebreakers, but here's an interesting science article in entitle "Freak waves prove to be ultimate icebreaker" by Sarah-Jane O'Connor along with a video of helicopter deploying a buoy onto the Anarctic ice,  that just brings some cool summer thoughts to us:

''Freak waves'' observed by early Antarctic explorers break up sea ice hundreds of kilometres from the open water, New Zealand researchers have found. 
Scientists from the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa) found that waves bigger than 3 metres break ice much further away from the sea-ice edge than previously thought. 
Niwa oceanographer Dr Mike Williams said the study, published in Nature today, provided vital information that had been missing from models of sea ice and its effect on climate.
‘‘When these experiments were last carried out in the 1970s and 80s, people needed to be sitting on the sea ice to take measurements and that meant they couldn’t be out there when the big waves came through,’’ Williams said. 
The Niwa team developed wave buoys, so they ‘‘were able to put those out on the ice and leave them out during big storms’’, he said
What was interesting to note is this:

The Niwa scientists also compared data from 1997 to 2009 to examine the link between wave heights in the Southern Ocean and sea ice extent. 
‘‘What we’ve found is that where waves have got bigger the sea ice has retreated, and where waves have got smaller the sea ice has expanded,’’ Williams said. 
The research helped to explain why Antarctic sea ice had been increasing in some areas where climate models predicted it would decrease.
So the alarm of decreasing sea ice in Antarctica is just hot air! Now this is also of interest to us remembering
Sir Shackleton's expedition:

The effect of waves on sea ice has been known since the early days of Antarctic exploration. Ernest Shackleton was ‘‘famous for having had his ship trapped in ice’’, Williams said. 
After the men abandoned ship in the Weddell Sea, ‘‘freak waves’’ broke up the ice they had sought safety on. 
Williams said the knowledge could be beneficial for ships that get stuck in sea ice, if they knew there were big waves coming that could break the ice around them. He  said understanding how sea ice expands and retracts was an im important part of climate modelling. 
The connection between waves and ice they confirmed should inspire more interest in measurement ice and waves! Niwa scientists certainly deserve our utmost admiration for their detailed efforts!

Thursday, May 08, 2014

A 12 ft freaque wave outside east coast Florida (with Update)

This Article in Sun Sentinel of Florida, written by Brett Clarkson on May 5, 2014, tells a freaque wave encounter of two fishermen who were strained near Jupiter Inlet overnight clingling to their capsized boat and they were spotted by  Coast Guard plane early morning and successfully rescued: 

After 17 hours spent clinging to the hull of their capsized boat, Cory Bowman and Justyn Bradley knew their ordeal was finally nearing its end.
A U.S. Coast Guard C-130 plane had just flown overhead and was making another pass. They had wisely avoided the beer in their cooler all night, to stay alert and hydrated, but the presence of the Coast Guard aircraft in the morning sky was cause for celebration.
 Here's their story  
. . . the pair had set out from the Jupiter Inlet area on Bradley's 21-foot Parker to fish for some mahi-mahi. The trip was cut short around 4 p.m. when a 12-foot rogue wave came at them, capsizing the boat and tossing Bowman, 38, of Tequesta, and Bradley, 37, of Jupiter, into the ocean.
"It pitched my buddy Justyn 30 feet out of the boat, it literally just catapulted him," said Bowman, adding that he grew up in Florida and has spent a lot of time on the water. "This thing was just, I've never seen one that sharp, that tall. It was ridiculous."
After Bowman swam under the boat to retrieve two life jackets and their cooler, which they tied up and held on to, their long night began.
When night began to fall, Bowman said, gaffer dolphins started swimming around them, about 15 to 20 of them over several hours. The stars and moon shone light down on the water, and the phytoplankton glowed like lightning bugs. To Bowman, it sounded like his noise machine at home — just constant waves. There was conversation, but also bouts of silence.
          At one point, Bowman noted their predicament.      
"I told Justyn, I said, 'we're in trouble, dude, we're in serious trouble, dude,' " he said.
Bowman said waves washed him off the boat at least a half dozen times. The entire night, he lay on his stomach on the hull. He didn't sleep at all, and the night went by surprisingly fast, he said.
"Honestly, neither one of us ever panicked at all," Bowman said. "I really, truly believed I was going to get found. I didn't break down really until I got on land, saw my family, my wife."
Bradley's wife, Beth, on Monday described both men as seaworthy and said she alternated between calm and panic.
"I knew that if anybody was going to survive [out there], it was going to be those two," she said. "But the thought crosses your mind, what if they don't come home?"
ItAs for her husband, Beth Bradley said he was too tired and too shaken up to discuss the incident on Monday.
Quite a story -- all started with a 12 ft freaque wave that's clearly not part of their plan! It is remarkable that they kept their calm and cool, never panicked and even retain a sense of humor, along with their supreme optimism. Freaque wave did not recur but other waves did not allow them to have a peaceful night.but it makes the night "went by surprisingly fast"!


Sonja Isger and Julius Whigham II of Palm Beach Post have provided a detailed report of the men's encounter along with a Coast Guard rescue video when they interviewed Bowman:

Sitting in the garage of his Tequesta home Monday afternoon, Bowman said he was still shaken up by the experience. He recalled the moment that their 21-foot Parker boat was overturned by a “rogue” wave. The men had started to fish in earnest around noon and decided to stay out a while longer to see if they could find more fish.
“We were in about 500 feet of water and all of a sudden, this wave that came out of nowhere, it was literally completely rogue,” Bowman said. “This thing was probably the nastiest wave I think I’ve ever seen. This thing was probably about 12 foot and it was a sheer wall, straight up and down.”
“I told Justyn, ‘This is the biggest one of the day, hang on.’”
The wave came crashing down on top of, and to side of the boat, and flipped it within seconds, Bowman said. He said Bradley, who was standing in the back on the port side was catapulted from the boat about 30 feet. Bowman, who was standing on the starboard side, recalled hitting the water and going straight down 
“I went down and I popped up and the boat is capsized,” he said. “It’s about 4 o’clock (in the afternoon) and not one boat around and I knew we were in trouble.”
Bowman clamored to get on top of the overturned boat, while Bradley clung to a large fishing lure box. Bradley made his way to a cooler that was filled with bottles of water and then made his way to the top of the boat, Bowman said.
“I didn’t know if the boat was going to stay afloat,” Bowman said. “I was assuming the worst. You have to. We got all situated on there and (there were) no boats, no nothing, no anybody. “
Bowman swam underneath the boat to retrieve two life vests and rain jacket. He grabbed a tool box and searched for flares, but had to settle for a whistle, some drawstrings and zip ties instead.
Their cell phones were lost and radio communications disabled.
Bowman said he knew that his wife, Laurie, would contact the Coast Guard when she realized the men had not checked in and were out of contact. 

“I kept saying out loud, ‘Please, Laurie, call it in,” Bowman said.
Family members provided Coast Guard crews information about where the men had had started their fishing trip.
It is always good to read a happy ending story, especially when they provided some well observed numbers about the "nastiest" wave!

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Encountered by Cruise ship Crystal Serenity

This recent April 27, 2014 news has just came to my attention:
(7:45 a.m. EDT) -- A wave that struck a luxury cruise ship sailing in the Mediterranean broke windows and caused damage to the ship's main dining room. 
The wave hit Crystal Cruises' 1,070-passenger ship Crystal Serenitywhile it was en route from Spain to Monte Carlo. 
According to a Cruise Critic member who is posting live reports from the ship on the Cruise Critic forums, the wave struck Serenity during the early hours of Saturday morning (April 26).  
Member Keith1010 wrote: "… at around 1:30 AM a rogue wave likely hit the ship because three windows in the Crystal Dining Room were blown in and of course water also came in." 
Crystal confirmed the report to Cruise Critic.
Crystal Serenity "was cruising the southern coast of Spain en route to Monte Carlo when the wave struck," a Crystal spokesperson said. "Temporary repairs were made to the windows during the night by the ship's crew. Most guests on board were unaware of any disturbance until an announcement was made to the entire ship to keep everyone abreast of the situation and to advise that dining room would not be open for breakfast or lunch. 
"During the day, the windows were permanently fixed, the carpet was cleaned and dried, several other restaurants were open for breakfast and lunch, including Prego that was opened for lunch. The Crystal Dining Room resumed service for dinner." 
According to Keith1010: "Portions of the carpeting got wet. A few tables are out of commission for the short term but given that several people are dining at other venues and even off the ship there are no issues. 

"Again, kudos for the hard work of the Serenity crew and for working so hard to make this as transparent to the guests as possible," he said
Crystal Serenity is currently on a 13-night Mediterranean cruise from Southampton to Rome. 
--Jamey Bergman, UK Production Editor 

May be because there was no major damage, some onboard did not even noticed the happening, there's no world wide news coverage, but nevertheless this was a true freaque encounter! By the way here's a file photo of Crystal Serenty:

Happened off the Treasure Coast, Florida

This is the headline
Rogue Wave Capsizes Boat Sunday; 
2 Rescued After 17 Hours In The Water Off Fort Pierce
given in the by Scott Smith:

By Scott T. Smith / CBS12 News
OFF THE TREASURE COAST, Fla. -- Two Tequesta men in their 30s were rescued after 17 hours in the water when their boat was struck and capsized by a rogue wave Sunday afternoon.

Though they left from the Jupiter Inlet, the Coast Guard located them 12 miles out from the Ft. Pierce inlet Monday morning. The men were not injured but they were a little dehydrated.

The Coast Guard found the pair on the upturned hull of their boat in relatively rough seas.

The Coast Guard says the men told each other jokes while they drifted north in the Gulf Stream. They are back home and reported in good spirits.

A rogue wave is one that is at least twice as high as the observed conditions. Seas were reported withe 3- to 5-foot swells on Sunday, so a rogue wave in those conditions would be 10 feet or more.

Now this is most definitely a happy ending. I can't be more impressed by the two gentlemen that 'told each other jokes while they drifted north in the Gulf Stream" during their 17 hours ordeal waiting to be rescued.   That kind of calmness must be special God's blessing for them. Wish all encounter can be resolved similarly.

Friday, May 02, 2014

Happened off rocks at Australia's Wybung Head

This tragedy happened near Australia's east coast, but the news was reported from in this report:

Apr 27,2014
SYDNEY, April 27 (Xinhua)-- In a further rock-fishing tragedy that has blighted the recreational fishing on Australia's unpredictable eastern coast, police recovered Saturday the body of a Chinese national lost off rocks at Wybung Head who tried to save a friend lost moments earlier on the NSW Central Coast. Police resumed Sunday the search for another man who is assumed lost in the same circumstances.
About 6.30 p.m. Friday, a group of two women and four men from Sydney were fishing off rocks, when one of the women was swept into the water by a wave.
The young rock fisherman appears to have drowned in the vain attempt to save his girl friend. The young man is among 10 risk- taking fisherman who have died in the past two years in the same treacherous waters of the NSW Central Coast.
So it's another location, another place, another time, another occurrence of the same script of   tragedy!!! Even the same dreadful description "swept into the water by a wave " as happened in many previous cases at other locations. But here the happening took an unexpected turn later:
When the two men from the group made the fateful decision to leap into extremely dangerous white breakers -- waves that smash into the rocky headlands -- they struggled momentarily before the woman was miraculously swept back to safety by another wave.
If the first wave was an unexpected freaque one, this second "miraculously swept back to safety" wave for the rescue is clearly unexpected. With freaque waves nothing can be expected, nothing can be taken for granted. We are in the hands of mighty nature, we'll never know what to expect or what's going to happen!