Monday, January 19, 2015

Big wave hits lighthouse

The above picture is from last Thursday's South China Morning Post with the headline
"Typhoon Neoguri threatens cities on Japan's central islands"
but this AP picture has an caption as "A big wave hits a lighthouse off Jeju in South Korea."  Whatever it is, this is a fascinate picture of a large wave engulfing the lighthouse -- not an everyday happening thing! Here's some from the article:

A strong typhoon swerved towards Japan's heavily populated central islands yesterday after it slammed through Okinawa, dumping heavy rain, knocking out power and injuring at least 30 people.
Typhoon Neoguri left toppled trees, flooded cars and bent railings on the island chain, which experienced its heaviest rainfall in a half century, according to the Okinawa government.

I did not even paying attention to the typhoon yet. Aside from the news part I found this from the article of interest:
Neoguri, which means "raccoon dog" in Korean, was moving northwards at 15km/h packing sustained winds of 108km/h by evening, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.
Hmm, raccoon dog, I wonder what do they translate the term in Chinese?

Monday, January 05, 2015

Cargo ship Cemfjord in Pentland Firth

This following picture is from the Press and Journal of UK reporting the case near Scotland coast with the headline: "Capsized cargo ship could have been hit by a ‘rogue wave’"

Here's what had happened:

Rescue efforts to find the eight-strong crew of a huge cargo ship lost off the north coast of Scotland were stood down last night with no sign of survivors. 
The Cemfjord sank in the Pentland Firth, just hours after its upturned hull was spotted in the water by a passing ferry.
One theory is that the boat, which was carrying thousands of tonnes of cement, may have been hit by a “rogue wave” as the area was battered by high winds. 
Rescuers spoke of difficult weather conditions in the Pentland Firth on Friday when the Cemfjord was last seen.
Very depressing to hear that there's no survivors yet. And here's some more:

Mystery surrounds the final moments of the vessel, which did not issue a mayday when it got into difficulty. 
The last recording by marine tracking devices was at 1.15pm on Friday when it was detected between the islands of Stroma and Swona, drifting at 5.2 knots, roughly 6 mph.
The Cypriot-registered cargo vessel left Aalborg in Denmark on December 30 and was heading for Runcorn, Cheshire, with a cargo of 2,000 tonnes of cement.
It was due to arrive at its destination on January 5, however, the upturned hull was spotted 11 miles off the Pentland Skerries on Saturday afternoon by the NorthLink ferry, MV Hrossey, which was heading to Aberdeen from Shetland with 241 passengers on board. 
A search was launched but failed to find any trace of the eight crew, including seven Polish members and one Filipino.
Finally this:

Wick Lifeboat coxswain Ian Cormack said: “We have exhausted all the possibilities and we are running out of places to look. 
“We searched from Wick up to Duncansby Head, all around the Pentland Skerries and then on South Ronaldsay to Grim Ness, but there’s just nothing.” 
Mr Cormack said it was unusual that the Cemfjord’s emergency positioning indicating radio beacon had not activated. The device is meant to transmit the vessel’s position to emergency services. 
He added: “It all points to a sudden catastrophic event. All I can think is that they were hit by a rogue wave.” 
He said there had been 60-70mph gusts in the firth on Friday, and that in windy conditions standing waves could be created by ebb tides in a phenomenon known as the Merry Men of Mey. 
Mr Cormack said: “It’s all supposition but they could have been hit by a freak wave which turned them. 
“It must have been massive.”

Remembering a huge 'rogue' wave

This very intriguing news item is from the Eureka Times-Standard with an equally intriguing headline: "Remembering a huge 'rogue' wave"!
that was posted yesterday. This headline is actually the title of an event commemorating an event happened 100 years ago:
The Trinidad Head Lighthouse is shown here perched high up on Trinidad Head. In late 1914 and early 1915, Lighthouse Keeper Fred L. Harrington witnessed a massive wave that washed over Pilot Rock to the south and crashed into Trinidad Head, jarring the lens out of alignment. The Bureau of Land Management is partnering with the city of Trinidad, Trinidad Rancheria, Cher-Ae Heights Casino and the Trinidad Museum Society to host an event at the lighthouse on Jan. 10 from 2-5 p.m. to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the wave. The event is free of charge, and a shuttle will run hourly from the Seascape Restaurant to the lighthouse. For more information, call the BLM’s Arcata Field Office at 707-825-2313. Photo courtesy of the Bureau of Land Management
The article was written by Caly McGlaughlin.

This light house is one located in a spectacular location but not itself a spectacular building as one might expect. As McGlaughlin tells:
But 100 years ago, another type of weather extreme was battering the North Coast, as a “massive storm blew gale-force winds over this area for about two weeks” in 1914-15, according to Bureau of Land Management Interpretive Specialist Leisyka Parrott. Based on reports from the time, the storm caused a “200-foot wave that shook the Trinidad Head Lighthouse,” disturbing the lens and making life difficult for lighthouse keeper Fred L. Harrington and his wife, Josephine.
So they are going to have this special event to remembering this event! Since the main witnesses of this event are the lighthouse keeper and his wife, they no longer around, there was a newspaper interview as :

Firsthand account
According to an interview with Harrington published in a newspaper shortly after the event, “The storm commenced on Dec. 28, 1914, blowing a gale that night. The gale continued for a whole week and was accompanied by a very heavy sea from the southwest. On the 30th and 31st, the sea increased and at 3 p.m. on the 31st seemed to have reached its height, when it washed a number of times over (93-foot-high) Pilot Rock, a half mile south of the head.
“At 4:40 p.m., I was in the tower and had just set the lens in operation and turned to wipe the lantern room windows when I observed a sea of unusual height, then about 200 yards distant, approaching. I watched it as it came in. When it struck the bluff, the jar was very heavy, and the sea shot up to the face of the bluff and over it, until the solid sea seemed to me to be on a level with where I stood in the lantern,” Harrington said.
“Then it commenced to recede and the spray went 25 feet or more higher. The sea itself fell over onto the top of the bluff and struck the tower on about a level with the balcony, making a terrible jar. The whole point between the tower and the bluff was buried in water. The lens immediately stopped revolving and the tower was shivering from the impact for several seconds. Whether the lens was thrown off level by the jar on the bluff, or the sea striking the tower, I could not say. Either one would have been enough. However, I had it leveled and running in half an hour.
“About an hour later another sea threw spray up on the level of the bluff, and the constant jars of the heavy sea was much over normal during the night and the whole of the next day. On the 3rd, the sea moderated to some extent, but a strong southeast wind and high sea continued until the 5th. During the 26 years that I have been stationed here, there has at no time been a sea of any such size as that of the 31st experienced here: but once during that time have I known the spray to come onto the bluff in front of the tower, and but twice have I seen sea or spray go over Pilot Rock,” said Harrington.

What an event! Too bad I can't make it to Trinidad now, I would love to hear about all the remembrances! Look at the picture of the bluff where the lighthouse locates, there had to be much more than a "huge" wave to be able to get to that high. Yes, incredible it may seem, it DID happened!