The power of the cold and the wind

Holding on to the railing of the National Geographic Explorer, as gale-force winds whip against my body, in Lindblad Cove (Antarctica)

Last night, we cruised into Lindblad Cove, an inlet about 5km across which is named for a Swedish adventurer Lars-Erik Lindblad in honour of all that he did to promote awareness and conservation of Antarctica. Its about 10pm in this photo and still fairly light out. I could barely withstand the gale-force winds, among the strongest winds I have ever felt in my life. In front of is a massive glacier which is (slowly) sliding into the Southern Ocean and has a mountain on either side of it. As we watched, a huge section of the glacier calved off and slipped into the ocean in front of us, generating huge waves and creating new icebergs. The cold, the wind, the sheer power of it all is absolutely terrifying and thrilling at the same time. This is Antarctica!

One thought on “The power of the cold and the wind”

  1. Lucky you! You actually witnessed an iceberg calving.

    Here’s a perspective about the weather. When we were planning our Jan 2008 Antarctica cruise, the issue of wardrobe came out. We had heard about minus 70 degree weather. Would we be up to it?

    Here’s where my physics schooling came to the fore. We were going to be on board a ship sailing on liquid water. Sea water freezes slightly below 32F, say about 28F or -3C. The air temperature is going to be the same as the water temperature since we were only a few feet above the water level. This meant that the coldest temperature we could possibly encounter would be about the freezing point of water. Being from Montreal, this was a non-issue.

    However, wind is a factor. That can make for a far colder experience.

    So we provisioned accordingly. No need for -70C clothing. And that wardrobe was all we needed.

    Steve

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