What Do 7 Metre Waves Look Like…

…from the inside?

Some of you may have seen this clip but for those who haven’t, this was recorded on the CCTV cameras of a cruise ship that got caught in a storm.

P&O’s ‘Pacific Sun’ was carrying over 1,700 passengers and 600-odd crew when it hit 50 knot winds and 7 metre waves off New Zealand back in 2008. These internal CCTV shots show firstly the saloon and then the storage area of the ship.

This does remind me of a couple of passages I’ve done in the past but I can honestly say I have never seen anything like this. Thanks to Mike for sending us this one…


And in case you are wondering what that might look like from the outside, here is a clip of another cruise ship taken from a helicopter.



I wonder what’s on the menu this evening?

Finally, a small clip taken from the bridge of a commercial vessel having to endure something similar. The cameraman crapping himself is classic cinematography!



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17 Comments on “What Do 7 Metre Waves Look Like…”

  1. I haven’t seen the two bottom videos before but I have seen the top one already, and I’m not sure about its authenticity. First of all, surely there would be measures in place to prevent this kind of chaos, like tables latched to the floor or something? Secondly, there is no camera shake – at all. How is this possible?!!

    Cheers 🙂

    1. Hi Bobby. The camera is mounted to the wall and therefore moves with the boat. Somewhere in our video collection is a clip of Liz and myself throwing in a few tacks in a force 5. I mounted the camera to the tripod, which was then mounted to the granny bars, which are the grab bars by the mast. The resulting clip appears to be completely stationary despite Esper bucking like a bronco. Also Liz and I delivered a 50m superyacht to Malta from Turkey and, without stabilisers, it started to corkscrew in the force 6. The owner hadn’t even bothered to secure the flat-screen TV, which of course ended up smashed on the floor. None of the tables, chairs or sofas were secured as it’s rare these boats go through that kind of weather. If it is a hoax then they have captured it spot on, but there should be no reason why a cruise ship caught in massive waves wouldn’t look like this.

    2. Jamie’s right. If you look at the next clip of the cruiser bucking from the outside you’ll understand why the first video is almost certainly real.

      When we delivered the super yacht to Malta there was a lot of damage. I crawled on my hands and knees to the owner’s forecabin where I found a scene from Poltergeist. Cameras, clothes, books, chairs were flying across the space. Very dangerous. I put everything away and secured the lockers.

      Most injuries on boats are caused by unsecured objects hitting people, which is why we stow everything before we leave port. Nothing should move.

      Jamie, if you can find that video clip of us you should put it up!

    1. No problem, I think it was a fair question. If you’ve never been in that situation how would you know what it looks like? It’s why the galley cooker is gimballed – you should see our stove swing in a bouncy sea. Like Liz says it can become like a scene out of a horror movie. In another delivery I did on a super-fast catamaran we hit a force 8 off the coast of Africa. The galley cutlery drawers were being thrown open and closed like Poltergeist, and a can of baked beans not stowed away can do serious damage. That’s more of a danger than a heavy armchair which, as we saw, will just slide backwards and forwards.

  2. Hi Esper, we’ve just got back to Yat Marin & head out to Gokova tomorrow.
    1st clip reminds me of a Zeebrugge to Felixstowe to Zeebrugge crossing we made in April 1987, it was just after the S. of Free Enterprise went down – we passed the wreck on the way out – So there were some very concerned passengers onboard; fortunately(?) for me I was suffering the mother of all hangovers, so the option of drowning seemed quite appealing.
    As an aside, keep your eyes open for her (SofFE) down there, as contrary to myth/corporate bullshit, I was fairly reliably informed that she wasn’t scrapped, but got repainted/re-named & returned to service going from Rameshwaram, to Talamanner in Sri Lanka?

  3. Yes I concur with what Jamie says-indeed when we crossed the North Sea in a Force 6 the main thing being flung around the saloon was my body-it’s surprising how disorientating it is because you never know when the next lurch is coming, especially when the yacht is corkscrewing.

  4. I remember standing looking at the weather forecast and the 7 year old daughter of friends asking how big is an 8m wave? My teenage son calmly replied a couple of London Buses… needless to say we delayed our north-bound Biscay passage.

  5. Cant get the last video clip!!!

    Me , I will look at the weather and if my G+T will spill we wont go out!!!

    Keep up the good work


  6. Jamie, Liz,

    So when you do a delivery, you do not check the ship before you go, and again for proper stowage when you know bad weather is coming your way?

    Or maybe you do now 🙂


    1. We don’t do deliveries any more, Mark, but for the record in that particular incident it was not our role to secure the fixtures and fittings. On our own boat of course we check the vessel, but realistically no matter how well I think I have stowed, there will always be something that ends up being thrown around the boat, be it a salt shaker, a book or an onion. A liveaboard has far more stuff to stow than a weekend sailor and if a liveaboard tells me they never have anything loose flying around the boat in bad weather I immediately put them in one of two categories, the same two categories as liveaboards who tell me they have never dragged at anchor: they’re either inexperienced or they are liars!

  7. oh my god. i feel sick just watching this. and there i was thinking my ferry phobia was diminishing… shit. only two weeks to the next one. luckily only the Irish Channel (don’t tell me how bad that gets!)…

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