Thursday, 25 November 2010
Life on the ocean waves
The strong winds continued all day on the famous Drake Passage, and whipped up the sea into a maelstrom. We estimated the trough to wave crest height at about 10-12 metres or about 30-40 feet. Walls of spumy brine ran towards the vessel from the stern quarter, in a following sea. The Fram fought back, and with stablizers deployed, she pitched over the waves but took the sting out of the sea. We were very happy to be in such a stable ship this day. Two souls braved the fo'c'sle and held on as waves crashed into the bow of the ship!
The seabirds were clearly happy with these winds. They are experts at extracting energy from the wind and souring on open wings with apparently no effort. And they were certainly flying today! We had four species of albatross, a Snow Petrel, prions, Blue Petrels, and of course the omnipresent Cape and Giant Petrels.
Photographers took advantage of this and enjoyed several sessions trying to capture birds in flight. The buffeting from the wind combined with the extremely fast, jerky flight of the birds made this a particular challenge.