For centuries, mariners have spun tales of gargantuan waves, 100-feet high or taller. Until recently scientists dismissed these storieswaves that high would seem to violate the laws of physics. But in the past few decades, as a startling number of ships vanished and new evidence has emerged, oceanographers realized something scary was brewing in the planets waters. They found their proof in February 2000, when a British research vessel was trapped in a vortex of impossibly mammoth waves in the North Seaincluding several that approached 100 feet.
As scientists scramble to understand this phenomenon, others view the giant waves as the ultimate challenge. These are extreme surfers who fly around the world trying to ride the oceans most destructive monsters. The pioneer of extreme surfing is the legendary Laird Hamilton, who, with a group of friends in Hawaii, figured out how to board suicidally large waves of 70 and 80 feet. Casey follows this unique tribe of people as they seek to conquer the holy grail of their sport, a 100-foot wave.
In this mesmerizing account, the exploits of Hamilton and his fellow surfers are juxtaposed against scientists urgent efforts to understand the destructive powers of wavesfrom the tsunami that wiped out 250,000 people in the Pacific in 2004 to the 1,740-foot-wave that recently leveled part of the Alaskan coast.
Like Jon Krakauers Into Thin Air, The Wave brilliantly portrays human beings confronting nature at its most ferocious.
57.5° N, 12.7° W
175 MILES OFF THE COAST OF SCOTLAND
FEBRUARY 8, 2000
The clock read midnight when the hundred-foot wave hit the ship, rising from the North Atlantic out of the darkness. Among the oceans terrors a wave this size was the most feared and the least understood, more myth than realityor so people had thought. This giant was certainly real. As the RRS Discovery plunged down into the waves deep trough, it heeled twenty- eight degrees to port, rolled thirty degrees back to starboard, then recovered to face the incoming seas. What chance did they have, the forty-seven scientists and crew aboard this research cruise gone horribly wrong? A series of storms had trapped them in the black void east of Rockall, a volcanic island nicknamed Waveland for the nastiness of its surrounding waters. More than a thousand wrecked ships lay on the seafloor below.
Captain Keith Avery steered his vessel directly into the onslaught, just as hed been...
15 out of 17 BookBrowse readers rated The Wave 4 or more stars. Here's what they had to say:
Susan Casey has created the perfect nonfiction book, filled with details of the myths of rogue waves, the recent scientific proof of their measurement, Billabong's crazed reward of $500,000 to the first surfer who can prove by videotape that he or she has ridden a wave bigger than 100 feet and the intimate portrayal of the people who have attempted to win the prize (Karen M)... Casey travels with a select group of extreme surfers as they track down the seven most formidable waves... Interspersed between the wave chases are fascinating profiles of the scientists seeking to understand what causes the ocean's unpredictable behavior (Vicky O). (Reviewed by BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers).
Full Review (1162 words).
Giant waves were once the stuff of nautical tall tales, filed alongside stories of mermaids and giant squid, but today we know better.
The force of waves is hard to comprehend. According to The Wave, an 18 inch wave can topple a wall built to withstand 125-mph winds; a breaking 100-foot wave packs 100 tons of force per square meter. In short, those who encounter giant waves rarely live to tell the tale! According to the 1995 MaxWave Project, 200 super carriers have been lost in the last 20 years, many believed to be due to rogue waves.
The first measurable recordings of giant waves came from oil rigs, such as the Ocean Ranger, a 337 foot high oil rig located off Newfoundland which was struck by a wave in 1982 and ...
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