It’s enough to make you seasick just watching it

A couple of weeks ago a merchant vessel was 100 miles offshore when a major winter storm caused havoc across Britain and in the North Sea.  Here’s highlights from a longer video, showing what the massive waves looked like as they slammed into her.

Looks as bad as anything I ever encountered off the southern Cape coast in South Africa, where the warm Agulhas Current runs into the cold Benguela Current.  The confluence gives rise to more of the dreaded ‘rogue waves‘ than perhaps anywhere else on earth.



  1. I had an uncle that spent the US portion of WW2 in the North Atlantic in a cruiser, he said the only time he could sleep, was to go down into the engineroom and sleep out of the way. The only reason he was in the engine room, wasit was too wet and too hard to climb down into the bilges to sleep.


  2. After 18 months on a 365' destroyer in the Mediterranean, that looks very familiar. We lost a man overboard during such a storm, when he didn't heed the prohibition against going outside. When I was young, strong, and thin, it was fun. Not so sure I'd find it so, now. 🙂

  3. I was working for the Philadelphia Shipyard and were we had to spend a few extra days at sea aboard the John F. Kennedy as the weather was too bad to head up the river.

    When a thousand foot long aircraft carrier is rolling and pitching, you know it is rough.

  4. eek

    Looked like a smallish ship also … I'm thinking something along the lines of an oil platform resupply vessel, due to the forward bridge, speed of roll and pitch, and height of freeboard.

    I have spent an afternoon on a 28' sailboat in 6'- 7' short chop, which seemed pretty daunting at the time. No comparison. Nope. Not even in the same universe.

  5. Along the lines of your post, I have a story you may appreciate.

    In approximately 1936, my grandmother, accompanied by my then teenaged father, made a first class passage from between the US and Europe on the RMS Aquitania.

    I wish I had more details, but all the principals have long passed away. This was one of my father's favorite stories, and I'm no writer, but I hope I can do it at least partial justice.

    During the passage, they encountered a terrific storm, and unlike today's cruise-ships, liners of that time did not turn around absent immediate risk of severe damage. In fact, during the storm, several ports did give way, resulting in some minor damage to the ship.

    My father was, of course, sea-sick and completely miserable. My grandmother, on the other hand, a Ukranian immigrant of heroic physical and mental stature, was completely unfazed. She showed up at the appointed time for dinner, in the first class dining room, expecting the normal service. And, she found herself to be the only passenger present, and I venture to say that most of the crew was also hors-de-combat.

    Obviously, no hot meal was forthcoming, much to her annoyance. However, a crew-member was soon brow-beaten into going into the kitchen to see what was available.

    It turned out that preparations had been broken off after some initial laying-out of cold hors-d'oeuvres, and her table was soon graced with a portion of salad and most of the evening's first class dining room allotment of caviar, which Grandmother demolished with gusto.

    Of course, upon returning to their cabin, she informed my father of her great fortune, and strenuously encouraged him to rush to the dining room so that he could eat the rest of the caviar. The net result of this exhortation upon my poor father was another immediate trip to the head.

    My father was something of a photography buff, and while I have no pictures of this fateful passage, I have in my possession a few pictures taken on his passage in the other direction on the Normandie.

    Frankly, today's cruise ships hold no interest for me whatsoever. But, I'd give my eye-teeth for a chance to experience a passage on one of the great pre-war liners. But, perhaps not if I had to experience a storm like that!

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