Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Fri. Jan. 15, 2010 -- Nicer out there; Tsunami exchange

Friday, January 15, 2010:

Well, that’s more like it. The temps were well into the 40s today. The average high for January should be 44-ish. I did woods time. The air temp didn’t have much effect on the ground temps. I was trying to dig old bottles but the ground was liked concrete at most of my usual digging areas. However, anywhere the pine needles were thick, the ground was not even frozen below them. Those needles must have some incredible insulating power -- though I don’t know that I’d want a comforter filled with them.

I got word that the improving oyster stocks had no problem getting through the recent batch of bitter cold. While oysters can usually weather being exposed to singe-digit cold, the current batch might have been a bit vulnerable, coming back after being almost wiped out by disease. Some of the oyster hangs around sedges in Little Egg Harbor are now approaching full-grown. Those of us picking them are generally taking the middle-sized ones to keep the spawn in the genetic pink.

Quick e-exchange I had with a buddy of mine:

“Jay - It's been coming for a long time,but now you've done it....you have officially gone off the edge...you've lost it. What kind of boat/pwc could possibly go through or over a 50-100ft. fast moving wave. Are you foreel?
By the way, if you need any help adjusting seat belts or showing someone how to do so, I am considered an expert in this field. Call me anytime....always ready to help!
I didn't report much this past year, just not near computer enough....but had a fantastic year in the boat for bass. best ever fall...although beach fishing just didn't click well for me...but no complaints. Let's hope we get another influx of nice sized fish this coming year. I would catalogue 2009 as one of the best I've ever seen in the bay for bass. Also, let's hope we can get another season or more out of Holgate...it's not looking good!
happy new year, Geo. H.”


Glad to hear about the bass-kicking year.

I know it sounds weird but I'm right as rain on that PWC/boat/surfboard escape-the-tsunami thing.
A tsunami is more of a surge than an actual wave. Even a potential land-impact 50-foot tsunami would only be a small rise of the ocean as close as a mile or so out from its striking point.

Fact: As a tsunami moves though deep water at hundreds of miles an hour, it is barely noticeable above the waterline. A tsunami is typically no more than 3 feet high until it gets close to shore. The areas of greatest risk during a tsunami strike are within 1 mile of the shoreline -- and that's due to the flooding waters and scattered debris being pulled back out after it surges across the land.

During the Indonesian tsunami, boats out past the reef -- some doing scuba dives -- experienced the passing soon-to-be 30-foot tidal surge as an odd rise in the ocean, which didn't go down for many seconds.

Here’s one report: “The people who were out diving were the lucky ones who happened to be in the right place at the right time, same goes for people who were out on boats. The tsunami mainly affected the people on the shore because that's where the tide goes out an abnormally long way and hits the shore as a wave.”

More: “Many of those dive boats only reported a meter high wave out where they were. At most, the divers in the vicinity would have just dropped and then risen that meter or so in the water column with perhaps a surge towards open ocean then back to shore as the tsunami approached (initially dropping the water level, then rising up again as the wave passed). Knocked around a bit but that would be about it if the water level was deep enough.”

The most amazing survival story related to a tsunami comes from Lituya Bay, Alaska, where a 1958 earthquake led to a massive ice/landslide that sounded like a huge explosion. The water displacement from the slide all but instantly launched a 1,700-foot wall/wave of water within the long narrow bay. By way of comparison, the Empire State Building is something like 1,200 feet tall.
The Lituya Bay tsunami event was very well documented. There was the (still-existent) geological aftermath evidence of surrounding cliffs scoured of all vegetation 1,700 feet up their sides. But the real recounting came from fishermen in the bay on boats at the time of the earthquake, slide and tsunami. Filmed firsthand reports by those fishermen – one of those films recently shown on the Discovery Channel -- told of an approaching, seeming end-of-the-world wall of water bearing down on them. One captain had the wherewithal to drop anchor in anticipation of the wall of water that might follow the earthquake. The wall of water lifted the boats – breaking the chain anchor of the one boat -- then sort of poured the boats forward. One survivor likened it to slipping down the surface of a wave that is cresting but isn’t quite breaking. The boats remained upright as they were dumped forward toward land. Then, to the salvation of the mariners – the boats were released as the water pushed over land, apparently losing some of its energy. The rebound backwash took the boats back in the other direction, almost to the spot they were originally sitting. Can you even vaguely imagine those men as they sat there afterwards? Of course, there was likely that one guy who rubbed his hands together and said, “So, who’s up for some breakfast?”

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