Sunday, 2 June 2013

The Tempestuous Denmark Strait

 The most beautiful thing one can experience is the mysterious.  It is the source of all true art and science.  He to whom this reaction is a stranger, who no longer can pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe,  is as good as dead. His eyes are closed.
Albert Einstein 

The region near Southeast Greenland in the Denmark Strait is one of the stormiest places in the world’s oceans, situated directly beneath the North Atlantic storm track.  (Robert S. Pickart Physical Oceanography Department, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution).
Storm in Denmark Strait
Photo © Corina Gamma

 By 20:00 we had winds of between 20 and 25 metres/sec.  On the beaufort scale this is defined as a strong gale or storm. 

As usual, we have been looking at satellite weather charts over the past few days.  We could see very strong winds forming to the South of Greenland which were due to track north in the Denmark Strait.  Hm.  Pretty much exactly where we were going. The winds built steadily throughout the day and gradually swung to come out of the north.  By 20:00 we had winds of between 20 and 25 metres/sec.  On the beaufort scale this is defined as a strong gale or storm.  
Looking out the large windows on Fram the sea looked rather dramatic.  Wave heights were four to six metres with some of the waves cresting over and the air filled with salt sea spray.  Inside the ship was another story. Inside Fram it was nice and comfy-cozy.  We were fortunate that the seas were taking us on the starboard quarter stern.  This imparted a long steady roll to Fram.  Nothing violent.  No bashing into waves.  No heavy bumps. No large crashes.  It certainly looked much worse than it felt.

As today was a full day at sea, we had a full program of lectures.  We also held briefings designed to familiarize everyone with our Polar Cirkle boats and our tender pit operations.  Sea days are also an opportunity to meet the Captain on the bridge and learn a little about navigating Fram in polar areas. 
Miki Jacobsen (right) conducting  a tour of the ship's abundant art.
Painting by Miki Jacobsen
Photo © Corina Gamma

Photo © Corina Gamma
At 15:30 there was a nice change to the days routine with aromatic waffles being served in the Observation Lounge.  You could smell the delicious aroma of cooking waffles throughout the ship, from deck three all the way to deck seven.
At 22:00 Miki entertained us all by playing his guitar and singing Greenlandic songs in the Observation lounge.  Miki is a very talented musician and artist.  A lot of the artwork on Fram is his, including the large paintings and sculptures in the reception area on deck four.  It is always a pleasure to have Miki on board!