The Giant 200-Foot Wave at Trinidad, California

One hundred years ago, on Dec. 31, 1914, the lighthouse at Trinidad Head was assaulted by a wave of monstrous proportions. Although the details are unclear, we know that the storm that produced the waves was unusual and that the wave was greater than 100 feet and perhaps much more. The only eyewitness was the keeper of the lighthouse at Trinidad Head at that time, Captain Fred Harrington, and here is his account of the notorious wave.

Gifts from the Sea: the Lives We Touch

Twenty-two years ago I saved a women from drowning and I was recently reminded of how we are all connected and how simple acts can have profound consequences. It was 1992 and I had just moved to Hawaii to start a position as an Assistant Professor at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, my dream job. Barely…

What Lies Beneath: the Waves, Reef and Marine Life of Maverick’s

The wave at Maverick’s is unique in many ways: its location, the geology and geomorphology of the reef, and the massive swells that surfers ride. In many ways Maverick’s allure is the story of its reef, which is legendary for creating both a perfect large wave and a reef seemingly designed to punish those attempting to ride it . As if the reef and wave weren’t enough you can add the fact that great white sharks frequent the area and occasionally clear the lineup with their presence. In the early days, before it became popular, surfers knew it would eventually kill people with its strong currents, long period swells, 10-15 wave sets and multi-layered inner reef full of valleys, holes and crevasses leading into a boneyard of exposed, jagged rocks. And it has.

Best Years of Our Life: Pacific Beach 1971

It was the best years of our life When we were children remember what it’s like To bring back memories of the good things we once knew To be right, there’s so much we gotta do. — Iron Butterfly, Best Years of Our Life, Metamorphosis ▲ click to hear the music ▲ Listening to Iron Butterfly transports me…

The Hunt for Monster Red Abalone

Twenty feet down, murky, dark, swarming with kelp, surge pulling me back and forth, fighting to stay in place. Feeling my oxygen slipping away with my arms buried deep in a crevice as I try to reach a huge abalone. I look up and there is even larger ab just inches away. Still time. Re-position, slip the iron in,…

Managing Nemo: Conservation and Conflict in the Hawaii Marine Aquarium Trade

In early 2012 I traveled with Washington State University Science Journalist extraordinaire Eric Sorensen to Hawaii so he could write an article on my research on the Hawaii aquarium trade, which has been ongoing since the mid-1990s. At the time of the article things were heating up between aquarium collectors and Snorkel Bob’s crusade to shut…