The oceans cover 71% of the planet and pose a myriad of hazards to everyone from blue-water sailors to the casual beachcomber. From rip currents to rogue waves, the possibilities for some water-borne calamity seem endless, but in most cases a deadly outcome can be avoided or at least mitigated by having a better understanding of the risks involved. This book presents cautionary tales of the most dangerous aspects of oceans encounters, including hazardous sea life such as sharks and rays, the power of waves and high seas that can engulf an entire fleet of naval vessels. In each case the author provides actual examples of various ocean phenomena and the people who either survive or succumb to them, from competitive big-wave surfers to the passengers and crew of the ocean liner Queen Elizabeth 2, severely damaged by a 95-foot wave that seemed to come out of nowhere in the middle of the night. The author also addresses several well-known maritime disasters and their causes, as well as such phenomena as the so-called Bermuda Triangle. Above all, The Ominous Oceans seeks t provide a better understanding of the perilous seas, so that we will be better prepared before taking that swim or venturing off to places unknown.
Gary Griggs is Distinguished Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at the University of California, Santa Cruz.