Waves are the rhythm of the sea. Hard to believe the most destructive force on earth is also capable of lulling a baby to sleep. According to the National Weather Service, in 2017, 113 people died in the surf zone. Recovery from hurricanes Harvey, Maria and Irma cost over $265 billion.
At the same time, Simplesleepservices.com lists ocean waves as the fourth best sound for fast sleep. Here are some swell facts to rock your boat.
1. Queen Mary called her signature wave, “opening a jar of jam”. After she and King George returned from touring the Middle East with wrist injuries, a team of specialists developed a less fatiguing gesture to greet the royal family’s well-wishers. In 2017, Queen Elizabeth was gifted a fake hand on a stick by a group of Australian students. According to palace insiders, she took the wave machine home with her.
2. Ten years ago, 50-foot waves spawned by the Indian Ocean tsunami traveled 500 miles per hour and traveled a mile inland. The event killed 200,000 people, making it the deadliest wave in recorded history.
3. Pro surfer Garrett McNamara dropped in on a 78-footer off Nazare, Portugal to set the record for largest wave ever ridden.
4. Before 1995, most scientists dismissed rogue waves as maritime myth. But on New Year’s Day, a monitoring platform off Norway’s coast recorded a single 84-foot wave surrounded by 20-footers.
5. In 1958, an earthquake followed by a landslide off Alaska’s Lituya Bay generated a wave 100 feet high, the tallest tsunami ever documented. When the wave ran ashore, it snapped trees 1,700 feet upslope. Five deaths were recorded, but damage was minimal because few people live in the area.
6. A 10-foot wave carries enough energy to power 1000 lightbulbs.
7. Tidal waves are not tsunamis. Tsunamis are catastrophic, monster waves that wipe out entire coastlines. Tidal waves are regular, shallow-water waves caused by the gravitational interaction of the sun, moon and earth.
8. Hawaii is famous for more than just surfing waves. Jack Lord, star of Hawaii Five-0, wore his hair in an iconic wave across his forehead. Some people say Lord was wearing a wig, but close friends deny the rumor.
9. Waves in water are caused by transferring energy, just like sound waves, seismic waves, electromagnetic waves, shock waves, radio waves, light waves and heat waves.
10. The wave cheer originated in 1980 at a National Hockey League game in Edmonton. A professional cheerleader called Krazy George Henderson pointed to different sections of the crowd, cueing them to jump up and shout. A delayed reaction created a wave effect. A year later, Krazy George carried the wave to a televised Major League Baseball game between Oakland and New York where it caught on with the world.
11. In the middle ages, knights took off their helmets to reveal their identity then waved to signal they came in peace. In some cultures, waving your hand can be perceived as an insult or a gesture of non-understanding.
12. The Eighties-era music genre called New Wave inspired songs about waves by top artists such as “Catch a Wave” by The Beach Boys, “Every Breaking Wave” by U2 and “Waves” by Phish.
13. Hollywood is waterlogged with wave movies including Point Break, The Last Wave and The Endless Summer. Disaster movies Stormageddon, Poseidon Adventure and Tsunami feature giant waves crushing innocent people. Don’t forget the fishermen on the Adrian Gale, their boat is battered by waves in the docudrama The Perfect Storm.
14. In some cultures, waving your hand can be perceived as an insult or a gesture of non-understanding.
Photo: Tyler Layton