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|WIND AND WAVES AND FUN
|We encountered something called a "Katabatic Wind", which can happen many places in the
world but is common in Antarctica. However, it was a surprise to encounter it in the place
where we did. Such a wind happens when air, cooled on top of a slope, comes tumbling down
like a bunch of bowling balls (illustration to the left). We encountered two of them in the
Antarctic Sound area, as pictured in the rough sketch of the area to the right, Don't take
the boundaries of the various land masses too literally in that map. Wind Number 2, coming
from Dundee Island, which we encountered while rounding Paulet Island, was the strongest.
|The wind is whipping up spray from the ocean, cutting off the tops
of waves, and causing those streamers (center picture). The rainbow
is due to spray from the surface, not rain, which we did not have.
|It didn't blow long enough to make big
waves, but the ship leaned away from
it (katabatic wind drawing above).
The inset, from a calm, foggy day,
shows the horizon as it should be.
|Well, there were some waves.
Here is the Corinthian II, a
much smaller ship than ours,
sailing past during the wind.
Such ships are built to handle
this, and there was no actual
trouble. Below is the same
ship, as we saw it the next
(very calm) day near the
|The second, stronger, such
wind found us as we
rounded Paulet Island (the
bare ground in the picture
to the left). It is building
in that left-hand picture
and has become stronger in
the picture to the right.
|We first heard that it reached 85 knots, which would be 92 miles per hour, but later I heard 85 - 90
knots (98 - 103 miles per hour). A knot is a nautical mile per hour, and you can get ordinary miles by
multiplying by 1.15. Well, ordinary for us landlubbers. Anyway it was a lot of wind. Several sites on
the subject have told me that they can range from very calm to 200 miles per hour. So we had enough to
make it exciting, but not enough to hurt. Also, it was pretty brief. Apparently the path the moving air
takes down the mountain is fairly narrow, and we could sail out of it fairly quickly.