The Drake Passage is the stretch of water between
the most southerly tip of South America and the most northerly tip
of the Antarctic peninsula. It is the place where not only are
there high and strong winds that blow most of the time, but where
the "Circumpolar Current" is squeezed through its narrowest gap.
This is a Westerly flowing current that flows around Antarctica
powered by Antarctic winds. It flows at the rate of around 140 million
cubic metres (=tonnes) of water per second, or the equivalent of
5000 Amazon rivers.
The Drakes passage has been described as the roughest
stretch of water in the world, it is what must be navigated when
rounding Cape Horn and Tierra del Fuego. To reach the Antarctic
peninsula it is necessary to traverse this stretch of water at right
angles to the current flow. The result is often very lumpy seas
indeed as seen in this shot where HMS Endurance is making the crossing.
Paul Ward - Olympus equipment,
35mm lens, 35mm film, K64.
This picture may not be copied
or used in any manner without prior written permission.