the wave swept under Seascape and passed us on its way, with nothing to note its passing other than the feeling of Seascape sliding down the rear of the wave to its former position, and a soft swishing sound as the wave flowed past the boat. Behind us, the sea glowed faintly in a trail of phosphorescent bubbles and then all was still until the next swell appeared. There was a special peacefulness to it, alone in the Pacific, far from land, the only sound being the boat’s movement through the water and the sensation of mile after mile sliding under the hull, wind and wave bringing us ever closer to landfall at Hana, Maui.”
The long, smooth undulations of the sea are familiar to every sailor. Thus, on August 27, 1883, the captain of the vessel Evelina was not particularly concerned when he observed some large, smooth oscillations of the sea at his location near the Cargados Carajos Shoals, a remote speck of ocean reefs in the Indian Ocean several hundred nautical miles northeast of Mauritius, at latitude 17 degrees south and longitude 60 degrees east.9 The only thing surprising was that the sea beforehand had been calm, and this disturbance occurred shortly after noon. If the captain had been able to send a diver down, he would have noticed another curious fact: The water deep below the ship was moving, rather than being calm as it would have been in the case of a gentle surface swell. Later he would learn that 2,660 miles to the northeast, the island of Krakatoa had just blown itself to bits. Traveling at 320 knots, the tsunami wave had just passed under his ship.