Let me tell you the story of the picture below. I was walking along Kiel fjord with some friends and we saw this mama duck with all those tiny cute ducklings. We stopped and oooo’d and aaaaa’d and they were just so adorable!! But the after a while they swam on and we continued walking. But then there were people standing on the sea wall, obviously very worried about something. And then we saw it: a tiny duckling that had gotten separated from its family! It was struggling so hard to catch up with the rest, but they were swimming together while the little one was trying to climb over the rocks along the sea wall! The distance grew larger and larger. People started cursing mama duck for leaving the little one, or were pleading with her to come back for the poor baby. And then mama duck started heading out into the open fjord, where it was a lot more windy and wavy. How should the poor baby ever catch up? Eventually mama duck turned back. But she didn’t spot the baby! They all swam in the wrong direction away from the baby! It was dramatic. The crowd on the promenade was agitated. People were heading towards the ladders to climb down and rescue the baby! Then, finally, mama duck and all the siblings came back. Baby duck sprinted back to its family and finally everybody was reunited. Phew! The crowd wasn’t quiet ready to leave, not quite trusting mama duck that she wouldn’t abandon baby duck again. But then we decided that we had seen the happy ending, the scar hadn’t hurt for 20 years and all was well.
The reason I am telling you this story? Because I am still fascinated by wakes of ducks. And I saw really beautiful ones this morning:
The structure inside of the legs of the V is clearly visible.
And what’s even better: you can see the pattern on the sea floor, too!
The more I observe waves, the better I get at noticing details that were probably always there but that never stood out to me as clearly as they do now.
That’s why I am so happy about having started this blog — it helps me observe so many amazing things :-)
Oh, and if you are still waiting for the wake? Sorry, this was it. I was obviously talking about waves :-)
When I was talking about foam stripes the other day, you might have noticed that the foam stripe wasn’t a foam stripe all the way, but became “just a stripe”. And since I have been thinking about surfactants a lot recently, I think that’s actually what we are seeing in places where the stripe is just a stripe: Some kind of film on the water.
Inside “the stripe” the water looks a lot smoother and waves are dampened out.
At first I thought that it was maybe due to being sheltered from the wind, but clearly that wasn’t the case. If anything, the stripe was in a location where it was more windy (see where it comes out underneath the pier? That should be funneling wind around that corner, not sheltering from the wind!). But surfactants would make sense if they collected in the convergence zone of the stripe.
See how the reflections from the sun are different where there is stuff on the water and the waves are dampened out?
I really like it when waves reach a sea wall at an angle, because the resulting criss-cross looks so cool :-)
And especially cool when you see it gradually building up, like below where the sea wall is partly protected by the gravel (or whatever you call those heaps of stones running in parallel to the sea wall?). The energy of waves hitting the sea wall at that part is dissipated, hence no reflected wave is sent off. However waves that hit the sea wall directly are reflected. Can you see how the reflections spread?
The KiFo owns a ROV that — until now — has never been fully operational. But since I like a challenge (and have a really skilled research assistant who really deserves all the credit) it’s working again!
We first went to test it in a tiny lake on campus.
This was exciting enough, since it seemed to have been leaking on previous attempts.
But this time round it did not, and the lake wasn’t deep enough to test whether it was actually water proof even at increasing pressure.
So off to the Kiel Fjord we went!
And after some careful preparations…
…and a careful launch…
…it worked! :-)
Well, at least until the laptop battery died. But it’s a start! Thanks again for the great work, Nico!!!
In July I will be involved in teaching an “expedition learning” course for a week. It will be all about coastal protection in the Kiel region, so two colleagues and I went on a private expedition to scout out what can be explored where. This is a very picture-heavy post, be warned! It’s more a note-to-self to document the different beaches we looked at than something I expect anyone else to be interested in.
We started out in Friedrichsort, where there were nice breaking waves to be observed. My part of the course, you might have guessed it, will be on observing waves…
In Friedrichsort there is a lighthouse on a small headland, and there are sand banks around it that make for very interesting wave fields, like for example below, where the sand bank almost seems to filter out some wavelengths.
Looking seaward over the sandbank, we see breaking waves over the shallow part, and waves being bent around the sand bank.
A similar thing could be seen on a tiny headland: Can you see how one and the same wave crest gets wrapped around the headland?
See? So cool!
Btw, you might have noticed the weather changing a lot over the last couple of pictures. It’s April, I guess… But a couple of raindrops here and there make nice tracers for the time since the last wave washing up over the beach ;-)
Always fascinating: When you can see wave-less spots that are shielded from the wind, and then local wind waves and others that are travelling in from further away. And breaking on a sand bank…
Also, did you see how nice the weather was for a couple of minutes every now and then? ;-)
And here is a close-up of the waves breaking on the sand bank.
Oh, and looking back to where we came from: That’s the lighthouse on it’s headland right there! And my two colleagues figuring out what’s wrong with the GPS they brought. Their part of the course will focus on more geological things than mine…
But I really like this view!
See how nice and regular the waves are that reach the beach even though the local wind field is really messy (as you see a little further offshore) and the waves have gone over the sandbank?
Oh, and always one of my favourites: When nice and regular waves hit a stone and it sends off wave rings. Love it!
One more, because it’s so nice!
And here waves bending around a wave breaker thingy.
And this is a picture that really nicely shows how if you don’t have wind, you don’t have waves. The lagoon there is sheltered so well that you can actually see the reflection of the bird sitting on the edge!
And here we have a very nice superposition of waves coming from different directions and with different wavelengths.
And waves coming through the “slit” between sandbanks and spreading as segments of a circle. Nice!
Oh, and more waves breaking on the sand bank.
After a while, we reached Falckenstein:
Not so far away from where we started out at that lighthouse over there:
Another interesting superposition of wave fields.
Oh, did I mention we did a lot of walking in the sand? About 20k steps. Well, I guess that isn’t even too bad…
Below I really liked the criss-crossing of waves. It’s actually one wave crest crossing itself after being bend by the shallowing water.
And those waves get deformed a lot, too!
And here we knew that it was a matter of minutes until those rain showers would be where we were…
Luckily, this shower went over quickly, too.
And this is the kind of stuff the other courses will be dealing with: Awesome formations in the coast!
Ha, another weather front:
And this is my favourite geological feature: there are interesting features in the sand/soil/stone (however you call it?) and then erosion marks, clearly made by water, right below!
A little bit further along the coast, there are weird wave breakers and if the wind hadn’t died down, we would probably have been able to see more interesting waves than these…
But the waves below were really cool: There were the ones that you clearly see on the picture at an angle to the coast, and then there were waves that came in perpendicular to the coast (so the wave crests were parallel to the coast) and they washed the other waves on the beach and back into the sea. I should really upload the movie…
So those waves above caused ripples in the sand which are parallel to the water line, even though in the pictures the other wave field is a lot more visible!
We ended up in Schilksee and had a look around the marina. Apart from the typical wind / no wind resulting in waves / no waves, we saw……
…this! Pretty cool, huh?
One last look at the coast near Bülk.
At this point, only one of us still felt like exploring every nook and cranny…
Even though there were some pretty nice wave fields, but we could see them from our vantage point without doing an extra step ;-)
Actually, there were a couple of cool features on the beach still. What’s up with those little bays?!
We ended the day with trying this very cool contraption to measure the coast with. It was actually a lot of fun!
And you wouldn’t believe how much work it was to hold that ruler thingy in the wind!
So yeah, that’s what we did. And how was your day in the office? :-)
I think I might need to find a new route to walk along the Kiel fjord. When I was walking — in the most beautiful sunshine! — with my friend over the weekend, she pointed out that there are funny waves and it looked like there was water dripping in, and I went without looking “no, there is a step right there that’s causing those“.
You see it in the picture below: Every wave crest washes over the step, and then when it retreats it sends off its own little waves.
It’s a funny thing with professionalized perception. What I notice walking along the Kiel fjord is really highly trained and specialised, I guess. But still a lot of fun! And it makes me really look forward to the excursion that I’ll do later this summer with a couple of high school students where they’ll learn to observe waves my way :-)