Refraction of light in ship exhausts

Leaving the port of Gothenburg after our mini cruise, A and I obviously had to secure the prime spot for wake watching because I wanted to check out more of the weirdness I talked about in the last blog post. So while we were waiting for the ship to sail, we had the best view of the ship exhausts, too, and it looks really fascinating:

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Do you see how the hot exhausts have a very different refraction index than the cold air around it?

Stena Germanica is the first ferry that size running on methanol (super interesting, btw, how the company is exploring new technologies!) so the exhausts are mostly clear.

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Although on occasion it does still look a little more like what you’d probably expect of a ship’s engine:

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But nowhere near as bad as it used to be! Can you imagine that this is what all ships looked like not so long ago?

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Good thing there are tons of regulations in place nowadays, and companies like Stena testing out new technologies.

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Can you imagine what Kiel would look like if there was more than one ship making that kind of smoke?

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Wakes and what they do to the sun’s reflection

When I said that wake watching made me happy last week, did you really think those were all the wakes I was going to show you? Ha! No, I have plenty more! :-)

Today, I want to show you a couple that have one thing in common: the way that they show up against the sun’s reflection and thus become a lot more visible than they would be if they were just reflecting a uniformly blue or grey sky.

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Reflected wake

The best ship-watching of the year happens during Kiel Week (even if I do a fair bit of ship-watching year round ;-))

But this year, I was absolutely fascinated with wake-watching. Look at the sailing ship below and its beautiful wake!

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You very clearly see the streak directly behind the boat, caused by turbulence where the hull pushed through the water. And then there is the actual wake, fanning out from the ship.

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And then that wake gets reflected on a sea wall as the ship is sailing past!

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Watching things like this makes me happy :-)