November 9, 2011
Garrett McNamara surfs a 90-foot wave off Nazaré, Portugal.

Garrett McNamara surfs a 90-foot wave off Nazaré, Portugal.     Photo: Nazare Qualifica/Polvo Concepts-Jorge Leal

McNamara Surfs Record 90-Foot Wave

Hawaii surfer catches monster in Portugal

Garrett McNamara caught what may be the largest wave ever surfed on Monday when he dropped into a 90-foot face off the coast of Portugal. McNamara, 44, was tow-in surfing with Great Britian's Andrew Cotton and Ireland's Al Mennie near Nazaré Canyon, an undersea trench known for creating huge swell, when the monster wave rolled in. "Both [Cotton] and I rode two big ones in the 60-foot-plus range and then when Garrett got on the rope a wave, maybe 30 feet bigger, came out of the canyon, it was meant to be," said Mennie, who towed McNamara iinto the wave. The nine-story-high wave beats previous record-setters including a 70-footer caught by Mike Parsons in 2008 and an undocumented monster, thought to be around 80 feet, surfed by Ken Bradshaw in 1998.

Read more at ESPN


Wind Farm

Wind Farm     Photo: Charles Cook/Flickr

500 Birds Perish at Wind Farm

Lights, not turbines, blamed for deaths

Hundreds of birds died at a West Virginia wind farm in October, likely the most ever at a wind energy station, according to a report released to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. As many as 314 were killed in a single event—a fog-shrouded night that experts think caused the birds to fly to an electrical substation and circle its lights until they struck it or died of exhaustion. More than 100 more died in over then next two weeks. The birds found at the Laurel Mountain Wind Project were mostly warblers and other small birds, but several larger species, including at least one heron, also died.

Read more at The New York Times


Anchorage, Alaska

Anchorage, Alaska     Photo: Wonderlane/Flickr

Kenyan Runner Survives Days Lost in AK

Star athlete "extremely hypothermic"

Marko Chesto, an All-American runner for the University of Alaska Anchorage who had gone missing in a snowstorm on Sunday evening, walked into a hotel early Wednesday morning cold but unharmed. Chesto, 28, is a native of Kapenguria, Kenya. University officials said Chesto was "extremely hypothermic," when he arrived at the hotel near campus around 3:30 A.M. on Wednesday. Authorities were concerned by Chesto's ability to cover significant distances in a short period of time and on Tuesday had launched a city-wide search and were preparing to send dive teams into local water bodies.

Read more at the Anchorage Daily News


Mont Blanc Massif

Mont Blanc Massif     Photo:

Grandes Jorasses Climbers Found Dead

Week-long storm stymied rescue attempts

After a week of rescue attempts hampered by bad weather, two French climbers stranded in the Mont Blanc massif were found dead on Wednesday. Mountain guide Olivier Sourzac and his client, Charlotte Demetz, had successfully summited the Grandes Jorasses on November 2 but were pinned high on the mountain when a ferocious storm interrupted their descent. "They froze to death as they could not protect themselves from the cold, they were exposed and without a sleeping bag—I think they were trying to make their way down," said a member of the rescue team. Sourzac's brother, also a professional guide, had joined the rescue effort. Both Sourzac and Demetz were described as experienced mountaineers.

Read more at Chamonet