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review 2013-11-17 04:35
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 - Susan Casey Interesting and at times riveting, The Wave is the story of the ocean's giant and rogue waves -- and the people who try to surf them.Half the book focuses on the science of giant waves and their effects on coastal communities and shipping; the other half follows big wave surfing's best-known names as they traverse the globe in search of giant waves to surf -- including the mythical 100' monster.The science portions are almost as interesting as the picture Susan Casey paints of Laird Hamilton, the world's premier (and best known) big wave surfer.Hamilton and a close-knit of friends chase waves so big they almost literally can't be surfed, and to fall invites severe injury or even death (several big wave surfers died while Casey was writing the book).It's a wholly worthwhile, very interesting read (even though I'll never go near the ocean again...).
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review 2013-11-07 22:49
The Water Keepers Series (Books 1-3)
Ambrosia Shore -
Deep Blue Secret, 2nd Edition (The Water Keepers, Book 1) - Christie Anderson
Rogue Wave (The Water Keepers, Book 2) - Christie Anderson

So I found Deep Blue Secret (Water Keepers Book 1) by Christie Anderson on Amazon and decided to give it a try. 


I found the characters interesting enough to make it through the very slow pace and real lack of plot. Sadie and Rayne were too cute together. They did the do we/do we not game very well and without it becoming overly annoying. Plus there was enough "what's going on" plot to keep me interested. Though the dramatic/climactic bit at the end

(Sadie gets kidnapped by the deranged father of Rayne's best friend, Ash!)

(spoiler show)

felt very rushed and disconnected from the rest of the story. It did help to bridge the plot over into the second book but just barely.


Rogue Wave (Book 2) had a much more active plot line

(Ash hates Rayne, teams up with his father, Voss, to get revenge, Sadie and Rayne finally make out/confess their love, Sadie gets shot! OMG!, and he father returns!)

(spoiler show)

that I felt finally started to move the story along. To be honest Deep Blue Secret and Rogue Wave really could have been merged in to one book without a problem. The tension and the drama was woven throughout the book and really helped to keep it from just being a sappy teen love story.


Ambrosia Shore is by far the strongest of the series so far. It finally got the true plot of the series set up

(Sadie is a mystical being to fulfill a prophecy? Maybe?)

(spoiler show)

and a ton of the floor work taken care it. It also had some fantastic "what will happen to them" moments. Sadie also was on her own and had to step up and show what she was made of. And she came out on top. She is really starting to build into a strong female character that I am happy to read about. Things also kept fairly fast paced which I appreciate.

(Rayne is in jail/on trial, Ash has a change of heart, Sadie and her dad duke it out then hug it out, Sadie graduates high school, cars blow up, Sadie gets shot again and again, Sadie can heal people?!, everyone moves to a different planet, a councilman is not who he seems, Voss is extra insane.)

(spoiler show)


Overall i am enjoying the series and am interested in seeing how the story progresses in the next book.

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review 2013-11-01 03:28
The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks, and Giants of the Ocean - Susan Casey

Review stored on WordPress.

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review 2011-03-05 00:00
The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks and Giants of the Ocean - Susan Casey edited 3/12/11 to add references and some links

We are surrounded by waves: electromagnetic, light, radio, and water. They can be helpful providing power, light and communication; but they can also carry unimaginable force.

The science of waves and surf forecasting is relatively new. It began in earnest during WW II when scientists realized that successful amphibious landings required some ability to forecast surf sizes on the beaches. It didn’t hurt that there was oodles of money available and scientists, no different than anyone else, like nothing better than to specialize in something that has practical applications for war.

Reports of huge, 100-foot waves have traditionally been dismissed as typical seafaring exaggeration. Shackleton reported having his ship tossed about by the largest wave he had ever seen and one that towered over his ship. Large, seemingly unsinkable ships have disappeared without a trace. One ship that did, the Munchen, left a lifeboat that had been torn from its davits and which normally was suspended 65 feet off the deck. And yet, the physics of waves didn’t predict the possibility of such waves except in extraordinarily rare circumstances, so rare, as to be literally incredible.

Technically a “rogue wave inn oceanography, is more precicely defined as waves whose height is more than twice the significant wave height (SWH), which is itself defined as the mean of the largest third of waves in a wave record.”

A scientific discovery ship aptly named the Discovery was tossed around like match wood in a storm on the way to Iceland. Fortunately the captain was able to save the 200 foot vessel which was layered with scientific instruments which recorded periodic waves of 100 feet among normal sets measuring 45 feet.

Jan 1, 1995 something happened that made scientists reconsider. On a platform in the North Sea. Seas were high, running around 38 feet as measured by instruments on the platforms underside until an 85 foot wave hit the rig at 45 mph coming out of nowhere. The first confirmed measurement of a freak wave, more than twice the size of its neighbors. The engineers who designed the rig had built it for the one-in-10,000 year 64 foot wave. 85 foot waves were not part of the equation. The emphasis soon shifted from whether these waves existed to how and why they occurred. An oil rig, the Ocean Ranger, went down off Newfoundland that had been designed to withstand 110 foot seas. There were no survivors. (Things were a little more complicated than just the wave according to this entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocean_Ranger) Casey’s version is sensationalized and you have to take some of her descriptions with a dose of salt.

Interesting facts: two large ships sink every week, but the causes are usually just attributed to bad weather. Unlike when an aircraft goes down, rarely is there an investigation that’s more than cursory.

Casey alternates between science and the more prosaic, like surfing. (Her adulation for Laird Hamilton carries a sexual tension that should have had Laird’s wife, herself a striking former beach-volleyball pro, (http://gabriellereece619.typepad.com/blog/2010/10/gabrielle-reece-image.html) more than a little concerned. Their swim out to “Jaws” and back and then getting hosed off bordered on prurient.) Some of her similes border on the silly, likening a personal characteristic to being “as wide as interstate 10,” whatever the hell than means. We follow Laird around the world seeking the ever more thrilling ride, as Laird laments the ever-larger crowds, crutches like Surfline that forecasts huge swells with precision, and sponsors and contests. (It should be noted that Hamilton gets lots of endorsements so he can afford to be dismissive of those seeking greater glory.) There’s also little examination of the effect and controversy of tow-in surfing, really the only way to get to the right spot for gigantic waves. Hamilton’s long-time tow-in partner Derrick Doerner even though, as I understand it, he was a champion paddle-in surfer (true surfing??) many years before his connection to Hamilton. Perhaps he was less Adonis-like than Hamilton.

The answer to the formation of these freak/rogue waves was found in quantum physics and Schrödinger’s equation (for you math types: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schr%C3%B6dinger's_equation) which describes deep water waves (they have found some waves 600 feet high rumbling around below the surface) and surface waves that become unstable and a central wave will “rob energy from its neighbors” making the troughs on each side of the enormous wave very deep. (The BBC series cited below has some spectacular graphs showing this.) What makes these waves especially dangerous for ships is that they aren’t the typical waves with sloping sides that ships are designed to handle. Rather, these have very steep sides and deep toughs on either side. The captain of the Queen Mary who saw one of these said it reminded him of the cliffs of Dover, straight up. And they break, which means you have millions of tons of water dropping on you, about 100 tons per sq. meter as opposed to a 12 meter wave that’s about 6 tons per sq. meter. (That would make a great Disney ride although it would be guaranteed to bring on massive puking.)

For the truly paranoid or apocalypticly oriented types, I recommend reading the section on the side of the mountain in the Canary Islands that's due to collapse into the ocean generating a 100 foot wave along the east coast of the United States; or, Latuya Bay in Alaska that generated a 1,000 (yes, that's one thousand) foot high wave following an earthquake in 1958. I mean, really. (The USC Tsunami Research Group found evidence the wave may actually have been 1,720 feet high. - http://www.usc.edu/dept/tsunamis/alaska/1958/webpages/lituyacloseup.html - I thought Casey was exaggerating so I had to look it up. The wave snapped trees that were six-feet thick.)

Perhaps my favorite part of the book was the section on salvage tugs and their crews. Those who have read other reviews of mine will understand the attraction I have for these stories. Farley Mowat wrote a wonderful novel about ocean-going salvage tugs: The Grey Seas Under: The Perilous Rescue Mission of a N.A. Salvage Tug. One of the hazards Mowat doesn’t even mention was dealing with dangerous cargo. The worst is undeclared pesticides or herbicides. The regulations in carrying such cargo are so onerous –and properly so– that the incentive to carry them illegally is huge. When a ferry, the Princess of the Stars – capsized off the Philippines the salvage experts discovered an extremely hazardous pesticide, Endosulfin, that would have caused devastation on a nearby Sibuyon Island, environmentally pristine sanctuary. Other hazardous cargo such as phenyl, a common ingredient in plastic causes paralysis when its fumes are inhaled. In one case cyanide powder had been labeled as flour.

These intrepid souls head out in the absolute worst weather to rescue ships in distress (For a great video of one such French ocean-going tug see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8K2B1nRRyA&feature=fvst. (I get seasick just watching this video, notice the wave breaking on the bridge.) For a high seas rescue check out the video of the Flandre’s sister ship, the Bourbon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T5Na8EY1irA.

For a very unusual salvage story see In Peril: A Daring Decision, a Captain's Resolve, and the Salvage that Made History

I would have preferred a little more science (the title is misleading, it’s really more hagiography of Laird Hamilton) and a little less surfing (I'm exaggerating a little, perhaps I'm just jealous.) She’s a good writer although I should point out one never says 25 knots per hour; 25 miles per hour or 25 knots. John McPhee, Casey is not. Nevertheless, it’s a fascinating read.

Confirmed from space: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3917539.stm

The BBC has a nifty series of videos with some great footage at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Htq57DK1YrE&feature=related

Popular Mechanics article Dec 1972 “Little Boats that Go Out to Save Big Ones”: http://books.google.com/books?id=69QDAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA84&dq=ocean+salvage+tugs&hl=en&ei=y818TfjcNcjkrAG6uYXXBQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CDoQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=ocean%20salvage%20tugs&f=false
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review 2010-11-07 00:00
The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks and Giants of the Ocean - Susan Casey It's no The Last Wave, but....

Wait, I did that one. Casey should have gone whole hog with the rippers: this is a book about the sea via many (many, many) engagements with surfers mystically ('though also with brute physical consequence) climbing up huge-ass waves. Every other chapter circles 'round scientists, and boat disasters, or cataclysmic events like Lituya Bay. And I gotta say: Lituya Bay freaked me right the hell out. (Google it your own damn self.) I'll also admit that Casey is a smooth, casually-engaging writer. But I really was looking for a lot less shaka and a lot more science; Casey tends, when dealing with the scientists, to throw a couple of their article titles at you, to paraphrase some alarmist ideas, to comment on what they're drinking and note in italics that she doesn't get the science. I wish she'd tried a bit harder to get the science, and maybe gave a little less love to the surfers. (Hey, don't get me wrong: Laird Hamilton's cute as a button, but why read about him and surfdudes when you could check out the very fine doc Riding Giants?) William Langewiesche's superior The Outlaw Sea is thinner, and more concerned with piracy and other disasters, yet it does give a brief nod here and there to rogue waves. Still... this is readable, and if you love surfing, crush it, brah.
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