Introduction by William L Gills aka Bos'n Bill
There have been many tall tales of colossal, freak waves big enough to dwarf and scuttle supertankers and ocean liners, some purported to be as high as 100 feet (30 meters). But then there is more to these tales than the mythical stories of sea captains and sailors as measured empirically by oil rigs like the Drovner in the North Sea and witnessed on TV broadcasts like the Discovery Channel's, Deadliest Catch.
Here is a first hand account of a trawler captain's encounter with a rogue wave. It's a wonder any of the crew survived a collision with a massive wall of water, a solitary wave of enormous height that appeared out of nowhere and took them all by surprise.
(For more on rogue waves go to an earlier post on this website: Rogue Waves - Myth or Reality? and view a video demonstration below the article of the equivalent of a 40' (12 meter) boat encountering an 100 foot (30 meter) wave.
A rogue wave and an improbable outcome
“He hollers once,” Stoddard recalls, and they realized Nickerson was at the stern. He had grabbed a brace under the boat. They kept throwing a life ring to him. Nickerson had been in the water probably five minutes when Rhyno finally spotted him, the life ring around his torso, which itself is pretty remarkable, Stoddard says. Nickerson is 6 feet tall, 200 pounds and was dressed in his oil skins. “It still has me baffled how he fit inside it,” Stoddard says.