To myself, an inexperienced boater, I find the prospect of rogue waves fascinating. Violent water is “typical” in many areas (Cape Horn, Cape Hatteras, etc) and is expected there. There are geographic reasons such as underwater topography, tides, and other factors that create to turbulent water. Other reasons for huge waves is simply weather patterns, particularly storms. Within the class of violent weather is a class of waves known as freak, or rogue waves.
Only recently have scientists begun to understand their frequency, and the more they learn about them, the more light becomes shone on past events. They are closer now to having plausible explanations for things that defy a simple explanation, like the unexplained disappearances of 200 ocean going ships, and the Bermuda triangle. However, there is much still to be understood about rogue waves.
Many scientists believe that there may be as many as 2 to 10 of these rogue waves generated each year. The 965′ ocean liner Norwegian Dawn had just weathered out a storm through the night and as dawn broke and the seas calmed, a 70 foot wave arrived and blasted the ship. The captain of the ship had 20 years of ocean going experience and had never seen anything like it.
Although sailing through the storm may not have been the wisest choice (it tends to make passengers “uncomfortable”), navigating his ship through a violent storm and a 70′ wave with only a couple broken windows to show for it a remarkable achievement. My hearty congratulations to the captain. Many a ship has simply disappeared under such conditions.