The Wave

On December 5, 1999, we had the roughest day yet. There was this huge wave that did some damage to the contents of the ship, and tossed some people on the floor. Luckily, there were no significant injuries (other than a few light bruises). Several of us were sitting at dinner between 7:00 and 7:15 PM, when the wave struck. The ship rolled hard to one side and then to the other, and the chairs (and diners) at my table were propelled sideways. I've never seen so much pasta, stew, and humanity on the floor! The porthole in one room was shattered by the wave and the three students who shared the room lost a computer and probably needed to sleep in drier quarters for the night. Now I know why they tell us not to leave any valuable objects lying on the floor! My computer, S-VHS VCR, LCD Projector, cameras, and camcorder were all safely stowed thanks to the warnings we received about the need to secure objects in drawers and closets.

Ok, so the animation above isn't really the big wave that did the damage. But it was a big wave. There were some that were much larger.

It all started when the seas got extremely rough. Many of us went up to St. George's Watch to ... well ... watch! Here are Marti Sharman (standing), Laurel MacLeod, and Julie Bowden who seem hypnotized by the waves. They are seeing a real version of the animation above.
The animation above is what they saw every once in a while. Like this wave pictured here, many of the waves spashed over the bow of the boat, and some of the spray from the splashes hit the windows of St. George's Watch.
Ray and Gretchen Fifer demonstrate how difficult it is to do a simple thing like walk down their hallway during the extreme rocking. They weren't acting!
I can only show the aftermath of the wave. This was the TV in Classroom 6, which I had just used to show a video in class a few hours earlier. Notice the student desks that had also fallen over.
In the ship's (campus) store, this was one set of shelves that didn't stay upright. Luckily, they are made of plastic and its contents were fabric.
One small item damaged was this plant and its pot.
Julie Kiefer's birthday party still went on at 7:30, however, with the group abandoning chairs in favor of the nice, solid floor in front of the Hamilton Dining Room. Julie is the 3rd person from the right.
Here's Julie explaining the wave to Bruce Steele's video camera while Max Von Hippel plays with her elementary education project mascot, Simon.
Jean Moore, Frank Dottore, Adelaide Sukiennik, Barbara Bennett, and Stacey DeWitt give us some comic relief by meditating loudly at the foot of the steps on the Promenade Deck.

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Photos copyright 1999, Dennis F. Galletta