Friday, February 25, 2011

williwaws

13:45 GMT, 25 February, 61�12.0 S 053�58.7 W (about a mile off the
eastern side of Clarence Island).

We had about three days of uninterrupted work before the wind and waves
picked up again. The RV Moana Wave has been hiding in the lee of
Clarence Island since yesterday afternoon. This morning, we recorded a
gust of 136 knots. Unfortunately the radar was only rated to 135 knots
and was blown off the top of the wheel house. The good news is that we
have a second radar that is still functional. I'm sure it's not blowing
100 knots in the open ocean; the mountains on the islands somehow
generate gusts much greater than one would see in open waters. The
reason we take "shelter" behind the islands is mostly for the swell.

It's really beautiful outside. The sun is out, and when wind gusts send
sheets of spray over the water it makes fleeting rainbows. 3 or 4 fin
whales have been swimming around the boat (fin whales are the second
largest animal after blue whales). Neither the seals, penguins, nor the
petrels seem bothered by the weather.

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