Slippery When Wet

While M.V. Tancred was riding out a typhoon in Kobe Bay in early October 1954, E. Gherzi and his companions noted something strange: The waves had steps.

[T]here were a number of well-defined steps, carved so to say into the water just like the steps of a ladder, starting from the trough of the wave up to about half its height. Although the waves were moving quickly, the steps remained, steadily extending parallel to each other for one or two metres in length. There were at times as many as twenty of these nicely successive steps cut into the body of the wave. We tried to photograph them, but the very poor visibility and the fast motion of the waves resulted only in a blurred print.

— “Peculiar Stratified Shape of Typhoon Waves,” Nature, Feb. 12, 1955