Saturday, June 30, 2018

A blue-grey sunset

On a typical west coast summer day (cloudy, with occasional rainy bits, 5 minutes of sunshine) all the colours are muted, shading from blue to bluer. Even the sunset is blue.

And, if the water is calm, the cruise ships are out.

Holland Line ship. 8:46 PM. This and one other were heading south, freshly emerged from Seymour Narrows.

Seymour Narrows, just north of Campbell River, has been called ""one of the vilest stretches of water in the world." (by Captain George Vancouver). Of course, that was before we blew up Ripple Rock in mid-channel, but it is still treacherous. The current can reach, through this narrow bottle-neck, 750 m. wide, up to 15 knots, or about 28 kph. On top of that, it is extremely turbulent.

Seymour Narrows is notable also because the flowing current can be sufficiently turbulent to realize a Reynolds number of about 10^9, i.e. one billion, which is possibly the largest Reynolds number regularly attained in natural water channels on Earth ... (Wikipedia)

So the cruise ships come through, one after the other, at the top of the tide, when the water is changing direction. It's too risky at any other time of day. Or in bad weather. On calm evenings, they slide by silently, their captains breathing easy after a tense passage.

Two hours after I took this photo, I was on the pier, in central Campbell River, watching the current. Now it was pushing north, dragging logs and kelp along. I could see the movement all the way across the channel to Quadra Island. No boats were out. A fisherman on the pier estimated that the current speed at that moment, slowing down here at the wide mouth of the Narrows, was about 5 knots, or 9 kph.

And here's the light just before sunset, at 9:12:

Looking north, towards Willow Point. A hint of magenta on the water.

1 comment:

  1. The big ship sails through the Ally, Ally O. FYI, we have lost our cabin Internet for some time. The satellite dish had to come down to remove our shed from shore. I will only be able to read and comment when we make the trip to town. Then I'll try to catch up. - Margy


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