Do the Drake Shake - It’s Hurltastic!

Posted by: elraymundo at 10:52 pm on Thursday, April 5, 2007
From: Great Falls, Virginia
Filed under: Travel, Argentina, Antarctica

Jeff Watson AI Threat Level: Green - The reader may proceed without danger of reading anything related to American Idol.

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Fetch: The distance that the wind travels over open water that determines the size of a wave - the longer the fetch, the higher the waves.

Unlimited fetch: Some of the largest waves in the world (occasionally reaching 100 feet) occur…[in] the Southern Ocean, the only area of unlimited fetch in the world, since it encircles Antarctica. Mariners Weather Log Vol. 43, No. 1 April 1999

The Drake Passage: November 19, crossing Drake Passage, the most miserable stretch of ocean in the world. Winds circulate unrestricted, clockwise around the Antarctic land mass. Unlimited fetch and unrestricted terrain generate huge waves that become even larger when focused into the narrow Drake Passage between the tip of South America and the Antarctic Peninsula. Ocean currents forced by the earth’s rotation south along the east shores of South America, Africa, and Australia, now flow eastward, colliding with the cold water of the South Antarctic Ocean, resulting in chaos. A Life Other Men Only Dream About, Richard Nelson

29 December 2006
Aboard Sarpik Ittuk #311
Drake Passage Crossing

I think it’s the smells from the kitchen & dining room that are getting me. The smells, combined with a slow acquisition of sea legs, has had me hurl twice today (once in the hallway in a paper sack, the second in the cabin, unfortunately sans sack).

Crossing the Drake while laying in bed (because standing up brings the barf) is like riding a see-saw with sumo wrestlers.

Imagine laying down on a see-saw so that your body stretches lengthwise along the center. A 600 pound sumo wrestler sits down on the raised end of the see-saw. The see-saw sinks and you slide down the length of the see-saw until your toes bump into his belly. There is a slight pause, maybe five or ten seconds, and then a second 600 pound sumo wrestler sits on the other end of the see-saw. Your side rises up while his side sinks down and you begin a slow, inexorable head-first slide to the other end of the see-saw, not stopping until your head bumps into the second sumo wrestler. Then the first sumo wrestler sits again and back you go the other way.

Now…repeat that sliding business every twenty seconds…sliding from one end of the bed to the other as the waves roll the boat around…non-stop, for forty-eight hours. Throw in the occasional eruption of barf and a seasickness patch that, when stuck behind your ear, makes you look like a wobbly and slightly-greenish Star Trek borg and you, my friend, are sailing across the Drake Passage!

Two solid days of barf bags, sumo wrestlers and the borg. C’est très romantique, no?


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