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3 Local Warehouse Oceanography- General

The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks, and Giants of the Ocean


The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks, and Giants of the Ocean Cover

ISBN13: 9780767928847
ISBN10: 0767928849
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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57.5° N, 12.7° W


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 ocean’s terrors a wave this size was the most feared and the least understood, more myth than reality—or so people had thought. This giant was certainly real. As the RRS Discovery plunged down into the wave’s 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 he’d been doing for the past five days. While weather like this was common in the cranky North Atlantic, these giant waves were unlike anything he’d encountered in his thirty years of experience. And worse, they kept rearing up from different directions. Flanking all sides of the 295-foot ship, the crew kept a constant watch to make sure they weren’t about to be sucker punched by a wave that was sneaking up from behind, or from the sides. No one wanted to be out here right now, but Avery knew their only hope was to remain where they were, with their bow pointed into the waves. Turning around was too risky; if one of these waves caught Discovery broadside, there would be long odds on survival. It takes thirty tons per square meter of force to dent a ship. A breaking hundred-foot wave packs one hundred tons of force per square meter and can tear a ship in half. Above all, Avery had to position Discovery so that it rode over these crests and wasn’t crushed beneath them.

He stood barefoot at the helm, the only way he could maintain traction after a refrigerator toppled over, splashing out a slick of milk, juice, and broken glass (no time to clean it up—the waves just kept coming). Up on the bridge everything was amplified, all the night noises and motions, the slamming and the crashing, the elevator-shaft plunges into the troughs, the frantic wind, the swaying and groaning of the ship; and now, as the waves suddenly grew even bigger and meaner and steeper, Avery heard a loud bang coming from Discovery’s foredeck. He squinted in the dark to see that the fifty-man lifeboat had partially ripped from its two-inch-thick steel cleats and was pounding against the hull.

Below deck, computers and furniture had been smashed into pieces. The scientists huddled in their cabins nursing bruises, black eyes, and broken ribs. Attempts at rest were pointless. They heard the noises too; they rode the free falls and the sickening barrel rolls; and they worried about the fact that a six-foot-long window next to their lab had already shattered from the twisting. Discovery was almost forty years old, and recently she’d undergone major surgery. The ship had been cut in half, lengthened by thirty-three feet, and then welded back together. Would the joints hold? No one really knew. No one had ever been in conditions like these.

One of the two chief scientists, Penny Holliday, watched as a chair skidded out from under her desk, swung into the air, and crashed onto her bunk. Holliday, fine boned, porcelain-doll pretty, and as tough as any man on board the ship, had sent an e- mail to her boyfriend, Craig Harris, earlier in the day. “This isn’t funny anymore,” she wrote. “The ocean just looks completely out of control.” So much white spray was whipping off the waves that she had the strange impression of being in a blizzard. This was Waveland all right, an otherworldly place of constant motion that took you nowhere but up and down; where there was no sleep, no comfort, no connection to land, and where human eyes and stomachs struggled to adapt, and failed.

Ten days ago Discovery had left port in Southampton, England, on what Holliday had hoped would be a typical three-week trip to Iceland and back (punctuated by a little seasickness perhaps, but nothing major). Along the way they’d stop and sample the water for salinity, temperature, oxygen, and other nutrients. From these tests the scientists would draw a picture of what was happening out there, how the ocean’s basic characteristics were shifting, and why.

These are not small questions on a planet that is 71 percent covered in salt water. As the Earth’s climate changes—as the inner atmosphere becomes warmer, as the winds increase, as the oceans heat up—what does all this mean for us? Trouble, most likely, and Holliday and her colleagues were in the business of finding out how much and what kind. It was deeply frustrating for them to be lashed to their bunks rather than out on the deck lowering their instruments. No one was thinking about Iceland anymore.

The trip was far from a loss, however. During the endless trains of massive waves, Discovery itself was collecting data that would lead to a chilling revelation. The ship was ringed with instruments; everything that happened out there was being precisely measured, the sea’s fury captured in tight graphs and unassailable numbers. Months later, long after Avery had returned everyone safely to the Southampton docks, when Holliday began to analyze these figures, she would discover that the waves they had experienced were the largest ever scientifically recorded in the open ocean. The significant wave height, an average of the largest 33 percent of the waves, was sixty-one feet, with frequent spikes far beyond that. At the same time, none of the state-of-the-art weather forecasts and wave models—the information upon which all ships, oil rigs, fisheries, and passenger boats rely—had predicted these behemoths. In other words, under this particular set of weather conditions, waves this size should not have existed. And yet they did.

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Catherine McBride-Stern, January 2, 2012 (view all comments by Catherine McBride-Stern)
Follow an elite group of tow-in-big-wave riders as they ride the freak waves of the world. You will feel as if you are there as they catch these giants and feel the fear as they describe wipe-outs that break bones and fracture souls. Also visit with scientists that study the change in the world’s geology, arctic glaciers, ocean currents and weather brought on by global warming, and learn what is happening on the ocean floor that will change coastal climates and ocean voyages in the near future. You will also be told what exactly happens to the shipping industry as these 100 footers become more prevalent. A book that puts global warming into perspective relating to what covers most of our earth. Highly recommended, and not for the faint of heart.
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(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
Donn, January 1, 2012 (view all comments by Donn)
The Wave catches your attention from the first pages and pulls you along on a fascinating tale of scientists, surfers and the sea. The topic is interesting to anyone who has ever seen the ocean; it is written in a clear, plain, and engaging style that draws in a nonspecialist, yet is careful enough to satisfy scientists. An excellent story.
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(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
GFaughn, January 1, 2012 (view all comments by GFaughn)
When a friend gave me this book to read, commenting on how much she enjoyed it, I politely accepted it and set it aside to read "some day", thinking it didn't sound like anything I'd choose. I'm not usually interested in surfing, nor in oceanography, so it just didn't sound appealing. Was I ever wrong! A few months later I picked the book up, and I couldn't put it down. I recommended it to our book club, and now all the members are reading it as next month's selection -- and I've given it to both of my children and their spouses (two of whom are surfers, and one a scientist). The book opened my eyes to many aspects of the ocean and those who spend time in its waters.
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Product Details

A Surfing Savant's Journey with Asperger's
Casey, Susan
Yehling, Robert
Marzo, Clay
Nestor, James
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Ecosystems & Habitats - Oceans & Seas
Oceans & Seas
Waves & Wave Mechanics
surfing;science;non-fiction;waves;oceanography;ocean;oceans;global warming;nature;hawaii;adventure;climate change;extreme sports;shipping;shipwrecks
Edition Description:
Publication Date:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
8-page color insert
9 x 6 in 1 lb

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Related Subjects

Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » Ocean and Marine Biology
Science and Mathematics » Oceanography » General
Science and Mathematics » Physics » General
Sports and Outdoors » Sports and Fitness » Water Sports » General
Sports and Outdoors » Sports and Fitness » Water Sports » Surfing

The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks, and Giants of the Ocean Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$10.95 In Stock
Product details 288 pages Doubleday Books - English 9780767928847 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

It has long been asserted that we know more about the surface of the moon than we do the vast seascapes that cover some 70 percent of our planet. Susan Casey's seductive book, The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks, and Giants of the Ocean, goes a long way to support this claim. As Casey, award-winning journalist and editor-in-chief of O magazine, traverses the globe in search of the world's mightiest waves, we are introduced to a fascinating cast of characters, including some of the most renowned big-wave surfers, as well as scientists on the forefront of these little-understood phenomena.

Although sailors and seafarers have for centuries claimed encounters with giant hundred-foot waves, they have often been rejected as tall tales and exaggerations. It turns out, however, that not only are such waves more common than anyone could have ever imagined, they are also occurring with increasing frequency.

Much of The Wave centers upon the famed exploits of big-wave surfer Laird Hamilton, with Casey following him around the world in his pursuit of ever more legendary waves (his home turf is the exalted jaws break, Pe'ahi, off the coast of Maui). Throughout the book Casey strives to portray Hamilton and his colleagues as more than mere thrill-seekers, and succeeds in depicting them as humble, graceful individuals who happen to be (after decades of conquest) the best at what they do. Most of the big-wave surfers Casey encounters throughout her travels (especially Hamilton, Dave Kalama, and crew) espouse the glory of surfing for personal (and often spiritual) reward, and roundly reject the commercialization of sponsored surf tournaments and the like. While they may be rightly called legends and pioneers in their respective sport, at no point does this fact seem to inflate their egos.

Other portions of The Wave delve into the historical record, with a particularly unbelievable chapter on the July 1958 megatsunami that struck Lituya Bay, Alaska. Following a 7.9-magnitude earthquake and the ensuing avalanche of ice and rock, a mindboggling 1,720-foot wave devastated the bay and killed two (though it spared a survivor whose first-hand account of the incident is utterly chilling).

The most unsettling parts of the book (if, indeed, anything is scarier than a 170-story wave) deal with climate change and the ever-evolving models of climate science. As the planet warms, ice caps melt, and sea levels rise, most scientists anticipate an increase in oceanic volatility. Earthquakes and tsunamis are expected to become more common, and, thus, also their calamitous effects. While some big-wave surfers may be looking forward to larger waves and gnarlier breaks, the predicted effects on low-lying, densely inhabited coastal areas seem rather foreboding.

The Wave is far from a comprehensive work on the subject, yet it is an eminently readable and fascinating look into a compelling and perplexing realm. Susan Casey's book will arouse even the most stifled and landlocked of imaginations. As they have for millennia past, the sea's mysteries shall continue to inspire, tempt, beckon, and enthrall us forevermore.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Casey, O magazine editor-in-chief, travels across the world and into the past to confront the largest waves the oceans have to offer. This dangerous water includes rogue waves south of Africa, storm-born giants near Hawaii, and the biggest wave ever recorded, a 1,740 foot-high wall of wave (taller than one and a third Empire State Buildings) that blasted the Alaska coastline in 1958. Casey follows big-wave surfers in their often suicidal attempts to tackle monsters made of H2O, and also interviews scientists exploring the danger that global warning will bring us more and larger waves. Casey writes compellingly of the threat and beauty of the ocean at its most dangerous. We get vivid historical reconstructions and her firsthand account of being on a jet-ski watching surfers risk their lives. Casey also smoothly translates the science of her subject into engaging prose. This book will fascinate anyone who has even the slightest interest in the oceans that surround us. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
"Review" by , "[Casey's] wonderfully vivid, kinetic narrative only occasionally groans under the weight of too many Wild Surf stories, and she offers a prescient vision of watery perils — and sometimes, bittersweet triumphs."
"Review" by , "Casey unlocks the mysteries of waves in her fascinating and enlightening book. And like a surfer who is happily hooked, the reader simply won't be able to get enough of it."
"Review" by , "[A]n engrossing set of stories.... In the end, you gain a healthy respect for the power of these waves and the people who surf them, and for the challenges facing those trying to understand them."
"Synopsis" by , Casey follows a unique tribe of extreme surfers as they seek to conquer the holy grail of their sport, a 100-foot wave. In this mesmerizing account, the exploits of Laird Hamilton and his fellow surfers are juxtaposed against scientists' urgent efforts to understand the destructive powers of waves.
"Synopsis" by , Our species is more profoundly connected to the sea than we ever realized, as an intrepid cadre of scientists, athletes, and explorers is now discovering. Deep follows these adventurers into the ocean to report on the latest findings about its wondrous biology and#8212; and unimagined human abilities.
"Synopsis" by ,
From the best freestyle surfer in the world, an inspiring and moving memoir about his ascendance to the top of the surfing world while struggling, undiagnosedand#160;for most of his youngand#160;life, with Aspergerand#8217;s syndrome
"Synopsis" by ,
An Amazon Best Book of 2014

While on assignment in Greece, journalist James Nestor witnessed something that confounded him: a man diving 300 feet below the oceanandrsquo;s surface on a single breath of air and returning four minutes later, unharmed and smiling.

This man was a freediver, and his amphibious abilities inspired Nestor to seek out the secrets of this little-known discipline. In Deep, Nestor embeds with a gang of extreme athletes and renegade researchers who are transforming not only our knowledge of the planet and its creatures, but also our understanding of the human body and mind. Along the way, he takes us from the surface to the Atlanticandrsquo;s greatest depths, some 28,000 feet below sea level. He finds whales that communicate with other whales hundreds of miles away, sharks that swim in unerringly straight lines through pitch-black waters, and seals who dive to depths below 2,400 feet for up to eighty minutesandmdash;deeper and longer than scientists ever thought possible. As strange as these phenomena are, they are reflections of our own speciesandrsquo; remarkable, and often hidden, potentialandmdash;including echolocation, directional sense, and the profound physiological changes we undergo when underwater. Most illuminating of all, Nestor unlocks his own freediving skills as he communes with the pioneers who are expanding our definition of what is possible in the natural world, and in ourselves.

"Synopsis" by ,
From the best freestyle surfer in the world, an inspiring and moving memoir about his ascendance to the top of the surfing world while struggling for most of his young life with undiagnosed Aspergerandrsquo;s syndrome

Clay Marzo has an almost preternatural gift with a surfboard. From his first moments underwater (he learned to swim at two months old) to his first ventures atop his fatherandrsquo;s surfboard as a toddler, it was obvious that Marzoandrsquo;s single-minded focus on all things surfing was unique. But not until late in his teens, when this surfing phenom was diagnosed with Aspergerandrsquo;s syndrome, did the deeper reasons for his obsessionandmdash;and his astonishing gift for surfingandmdash;become clear.

Just Add Water is the remarkable story of Marzoandrsquo;s rise to the top of the pro surfing worldandmdash;and the personal trials he overcame in making it there. Marzo endured a difficult childhood. He was a colicky baby who his mother found could be soothed only with water. Later, as he entered school, his undiagnosed Aspergerandrsquo;s made it tough for him to relate to his peers and fit in, but his relationship with the wave was elemental. Marzo could always turn to surfing, the only place where he truly felt at peace.

Unflinching and inspiring, Just Add Water is a brave memoir from a one-of-a-kind surfing savant who has electrified fans around the world with his gift and whose story speaks boldly to the hope and ultimate triumph of the human spirit.

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