Meteorology in Drake's Passage back from Antarctica


We sail towards the eye of low pressure jumping with joy and devotion… How the landscape changed, going from having incredible visibility with a clean environment to navigating through thick mists with waves of considerable size…

The boat behaves well and we are already marinated, in a few hours we will change course, just as we enter the calm winds of the eye or center of the low. We are now heading 300, we are in the length of Cook Bay about 120 miles west of the island of Horn in the middle of the Sea of Sickles.

Meteorology in the Drake Passage

This is the first time I go to the center of a storm as a strategy, at the moment it looks good, I only worry about the waves because in a short space, about 30 miles in diameter, the sea receives wind from 4 quadrants and will need time, I calculate that a tide about 6 hours to reorder, This is going to happen in about 3 or 4 hours…

It should be noted that Lucas Hernadez, our captain, when I am not here was the first to realize this strategy. It is very, very good to have crew like him on board, he knows the boat, he stays calm, he behaves very well, the same must be said of Paula Cavicchia and Paula Gonzalvo, they are a great team and never better said with them I go to the end of the world … heh, heh. And I’m coming back…

The Ugly Day

Today is Tuesday the 13th, this day I do not like at all, I will be attentive until the day is over… Although bad luck is only if you set sail that day, for me this day would have to disappear from the calendar…

The Antarctic Toll

After the tack that we will do in a few hours, there will be 300 miles left to enter the Beagle, it will be just under 2 days and we will already be.

Antarctica is wonderful, much more than you could imagine, but this is the toll and what gives the value to the expeditionaries to get to this part of the world that seems from another planet …

If you really have something inside you that wakes up when you think about visiting it, this is your time, come in January or February, apparently there are very few places left for this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Alegría Marineros!!

Become part of this, our dream!

Meteorology in the Drake Passage

The Drake Passage is one of the most dangerous routes any sailor can face. The main reason for this danger is in its meteorology, which is far from calm.

The weather in the Drake Passage is characterized by strong waves. The depth of the waters of the Drake Passage and the atmospheric currents that frequent the strait itself make the meteorological changes sudden, which makes the passage much more dangerous than it seems.

Fortunately, today there is technology that helps to better understand the state of these stormy waters. Thanks to these advances it is much easier to see when the waters are calmer to make navigation much safer.

Meteorology in Drake's Passage back from Antarctica

Antarctica is a wonderful place, a unique experience that can only be lived in that part of the planet. The toll to get to Antarctica is to go through the Drake Passage and face its meteorology.

One of the main reasons for the danger of the Drake Passage is due to the convergence between the Antarctic Circumpolar and the South Atlantic currents. When these two currents collide with each other is when the waves occur and, these, helped by the wind, are able to reach up to 10 meters high in the worst of situations.

The normal thing in these cases is that the waves reach 4 meters high, something that is already quite dangerous and forces the boats to offer all their resistance. Crossing these waters implies suffering fear for some while for others it is an adventure. To cross the Drake Passage there is no doubt that you have to be well prepared and be aware that the boat is going to move a lot for several days in a row without stopping.

Even the most experienced captain will have trouble traversing the strait, so it is not convenient to relax. After almost three days of expedition and with the arrival in Antarctica the waters calm down and mountains of ice begin to be glimpsed, the prolegomena that we are approaching the end of the world.

Where is Drake's Pass?

The Drake Passage is a strait that spans the distance between the South Antarctic Shetland Islands and the tip of South America. This strait connects the southeast of the Pacific Ocean with the southeast of the Atlantic and has a size of 800 kilometers wide with 1000 kilometers long.

This Drake Pass is the one that anyone who wants to reach Antarctica must cross. As we mentioned before, the difficulty of the passage lies in its choppy waters under a weather that can become unpredictable. For many, the Drake Passage is the test that the sea puts sailors to see if they are worthy of visiting Antarctica.

Although it is a tortuous passage, the truth is that the navigation through it is quite surprising. This is because navigation through it offers a great variety of birds and marine life. Along the journey through the Drake Passage it is possible to see dolphins or whales, as well as several seabirds.

You may be thinking why such a dangerous passage is chosen to reach Antarctica and no other route is taken. The truth is that no other sea route between South America and Antarctica offers such a clear path, which is why it is chosen by sailors.

Why is it called Drake's Pass?

As with other passages, Drake Passage owes its name to the sailors who sailed those waters. In the case of the Drake Passage there is much controversy, since this name has been given due to the English privateer Francis Drake who sailed it in 1578. However, not all historians agree that he crossed it.

Drake Passage is also known as Sea of Sickles. Once again, in this case it is attributed to the Spanish sailor Francisco de Hoces who did explore this strait and, in addition, he did it 50 years before Drake said that it was he who had explored it.

The doubt that is sown about the discovery of Drake arises among the different versions of the privateer himself and his men. In addition, while Francisco de Hoces’ expedition was intended for exploration, Drake’s intentions were quite different, as they were geared towards plunder.

Due to the danger of the passage itself, many claim that Drake, most likely, carried out his route through the Strait of Magellan. Be that as it may, the name of the passage itself remains, to this day, a most interesting dispute. This makes the passage recognized by both names.

Discovery of Drake Passage

The discovery of the Drake Passage was the result of chance. It was the year 1526 when a Spanish caravel, San Lesmes, was heading to the Moluccas. This caravel was part of the Spanish expedition of García Jofre de Loaísa.

The San Lesmes reached latitude 55º South at the end of the year under the command of Francisco de Hoces as a result of a storm. The strong storm pushed the ship away from the expedition and into the strait. Finally, the ship managed to rejoin the expedition and crossed the strait.

The story of Francis Drake was somewhat similar, since he would enter this sea through the Pacific Ocean half a century later, but he would not cross the strait at all. On his way through these seas he took possession of an unidentified island that, at that time, he would later name Elizabeth Island in September 1578.


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