Rogue Wave!


ODP Leg 208 (March - May 2003) took us from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, all the way across the Atlantic to Walvis Ridge (find both of these on a map!) and then back to Rio. As you might guess, we had more than a week of transit time each way. On the way "home" after we completed all of our drilling successfully and most of the cruise related science work was finished, most of us were catching up on sleep or enjoying the spectacular weather out on deck. The best place on the ship to take in some sun or read was up on top of some storage crates (this is basically a deck above the Dynamic Positioning (DP) shack) and was known as "Steel Beach" (although I called it the "tippy top deck" because it was the highest place out on deck).

Well, on this particularly beautiful and calm day, there were no more lounge chairs available up on the tippy top deck, so I had to settle for one a bit lower outside the DP Shack. I settled in reading some book I found in the ship's library (I had long since read all the ones I brought). A few minutes after settling in, something made me look up, and all I saw was a wall of water coming right at me!!! My only reaction was to hold the little paperback up in front of my face as the wall of water crashed over me for what seemed like five minutes (probably about 10 seconds though)!!! I was completely soaked (that silly book didn't help a bit) and I sloshed out from behind the DP Shack so that the gang that was up on the tippy top deck could see me. They were completely dry, and laughing their heads off shouting, "Rogue Wave! Rogue Wave!" Now glance at a picture of the old JR and note how high the DP Shack is above sea level - my guess is at least 10m (more than 30 feet). This means that a wave ~30 feet tall randomly formed on an otherwise calm day and broke on me!! Fortunately, my cabin mate was up on the tippy top deck (and not sleeping) so that I could go and change clothes!


Fun with waves!

As much as I would LOVE to be out there with you (instead of here in a classroom with 34 6th graders with spring fever) that wave sounds a bit scarry! Glad you are OK.
Jan F. Cypress Grove

Debbie's blog

I hope I never, ever see a rogue wave like that! How often do they happen?

Rogue waves

Not sure I could say how often, but I recommend Craig B. Smith's book entitled Extreme Waves, published by Joseph Henry Press. I'm reading it now, while sailing on THE JR. Smith covers the science and history of waves in a really good read. For more information, see<