Dec 08, 2018 - National Geographic Orion
A day at sea crossing the Drake Passage can bring to mind many images. For some it is the dynamic soaring of a wandering albatross or giant petrel, effortlessly harnessing the wind for transportation. Others see it as the biological transition between the warmer northern waters of the south Atlantic and the consistently cold currents of the Antarctic proper. For me, nothing represents the Drake Passage more than the varied shapes and sizes of the swells that roll from west to east across this expansive landscape of ocean and sky. Some days produce long, shallow swells with the troughs and peaks spaced hundreds of meters apart. Other days have steeper swells spaced closer together, actually cresting into waves despite the thousands of feet of water beneath our keel.
Today was a perfect day to observe the nuance between swell profiles and get into the rhythm of the sea.
Today, our first full day at sea, produced a variety of swells. The bigger swells were my chance to capture the varied faces of Southern Ocean waves as they collide with our southward progress and create patterns of green, turquoise, black, and white on their rebound.
What follows is a gallery of portraits of that very sea. They represent our ships influence on the thin meniscus of the ocean’s surface as we motor along, only slightly redirecting the planets largest single flow of water as we do. The portraits are therefor a blend of raw nature and those of us willing to expose ourselves to its potential and speak to that interaction.
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