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Old 03-11-2011, 12:48 PM   #1
JeanneP's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 2,098

Having a TV on the boat is a mixed blessing, and today we're not moving, glued to news of the tsunami moving across the Pacific. Just heard that US Navy is moving one of its ships out of Seal Beach, CA, just south of Los Angeles. Yikes.

Rebopeep, how are things by you? (still in San Diego?)

In 1986 we went cruising for a few years. After 20 years and 50+ countries and several oceans, we are STILL "cruising for a few years".

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Old 03-11-2011, 10:56 PM   #2
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Home Port: Washington DC
Vessel Name: SV Mahdee
Posts: 3,236

Hi, JeanneP,

I think way too many people are glued to the TV with this! We've had so many phone calls from friends/family back east saying "Santa Cruz harbor--OMG" and the only thing I can say is that particular harbor is a bowling alley--it probably funneled the water right in and made quite a mess.

I worry for cruisers in other small natural harbors and bights along the Pacific Coast. Here in San Diego, lots of currents, yes, but it is almost a repeat of last February's Tsunami waves when that big earthquake hit Chile. Very similar.

We were supposed to go into the public dock today so we could run errands. It sits at a narrows that saw a lot of current during last year's tsunami (according to folks who were there last year) so we changed anchorages. A spin this way, and a spin that way...all is good on the hook. Channel 16 is abuzz with boats breaking free from moorings, fishing boats ending up in the surf (why? were they out fishing?) and since we had a big fog bank this morning, a boat ended up too close to Zuniga and sucked into the Zuniga jetty by the currents. The navigation buoys are adrift up in Oceanside, they've closed a couple harbors due to big currents, etc, but generally things are fine here.

So, all is well and good with us--but we're behind on our errands for the day.

We pray that all Pacific cruisers are doing fine and that the people of Japan recover from the earthquake and remain safe.

Fair winds,

"Do or do not. There is no try." - Yoda

What we're doing - The sailing life aboard and the Schooner Chandlery.

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Old 03-12-2011, 10:10 PM   #3
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Join Date: Mar 2011
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Has anybody been in the open ocean facing such a big wave? How it is like? Does it break or does it lift the boat? Would you use the floating anchor?

We have some friends who left Mexico a few days prior to the Tsunami heading to French Polynesia so they must have encounter the reminiscent wave.

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Old 03-13-2011, 10:11 AM   #4
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I used to take (sometimes drag) whatever child was in my care to the various Boston museums where I learned a great deal - and some of it rubbed off on the kids. In Boston's Science Museum(and probably most other science museums in other cities) was a demonstration of waves in a cool box. Even better, though I can't find it with an internet search, was a television animated video produced by Ribena (black-currant juice mfr.) about waves that was exceptionally good for explaining them.

Wikipedia's entries on "waves" is pretty technical, but zip through the various entries and you'll get some idea of the different ocean waves.

Wind waves will break if the wind is strong enough. These have no relation with a tsunami, which is a pressure wave. I think you can visualize a wind wave easily, and if you look up the Beaufort scale you can even get lots of illustrations of the size of waves, etc.

A pressure wave is caused by - pressure - think a boat wake, or the up and down movement of water in a water bed. That's sort-of what a tsunami is. An earthquake (or could be a giant meteor landing in the ocean) can cause a vertical pressure wave that forces incompressible water up and down. In the open ocean it's almost unnoticeable, only breaking when the depth of the water is shallower than the height of the pressure wave. (that Ribena video was super at illustrating it). The huge swells or storm surge that can move thousands of miles as the result of powerful storms are similar to a tsunami, though not so large.

So, after all that verbiage - in the open sea, where depths are measured in thousands of feet, a tsunami might not even be noticed. But in shallow water the size and power are devastating.

Here's one link to waves in Wikipedia, and you should be able to follow more of them from each of the entries.

Water Waves, Wikipedia
In 1986 we went cruising for a few years. After 20 years and 50+ countries and several oceans, we are STILL "cruising for a few years".

MV WATERMELON (New) | Cruiser's Dictionary, free ebook

= Cruiser's Dictionary, North America,
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