Tag Archives: reading the water

Reading the water — a new mystery picture for you! Today: Kiel Holtenau edition

Do you sometimes like to play detective when looking at water and figure out who or what caused certain pattern on the surface? Then I’ve got a nice riddle for you today!

Where do all those lines parallel to the pontoon come from?

Look at the picture below. Do you see all those parallel lines this side of the pontoon? Any idea what might have caused them?

Hint: The pontoon is floating on the water, and sometimes this happens: Ships pass by.

And when ships come by, they make waves, and then it looks like this:

(full disclosure: As you might or might not see from the waves on the far side of the pontoon in the picture above is that the ship that caused those waves was going into the locks (so right to left) in contrast to the ship in the picture above this one, where the ship went out of the canal and into the Kiel fjord…)

But yes! Ships make waves, which then move the floating pontoon, and with its edge the pontoon generates those long straight wave fronts, one after the next, so they propagate out as parallel lines, following each other!

Sometimes also this happens:

Going the wrong way round without any issues! I like tugs, they are just really really cool and I want to drive one some day.

But even without tugs in sight, Kiel is a super nice place to live in…

Happy Sunday evening, everybody! :-)

Reading the water – a new mystery picture for you!

Back by popular demand: Reading the water in my mystery pictures series!

Who knows what’s going on in the picture below?


You might recognize a couple of details that might give you a hint: There are waves parallel to the rope and drops of water falling from the rope.


And here is what happened: A floating rope was repeatedly being pulled up from the water’s surface and then sank back down as the research ship Håkon Mosby moved in swell (white). Each time the rope broke the surface, it caused waves that propagate away from it, the ones we see as lines parallel to the rope (yellow). And when it was pulled up, water dripped from it, so drops falling directly underneath the rope (green) cause the wave rings (red).

Like posts like these? Then you will love my upcoming book! Stay tuned! :-)

Reading the water

As you might know, I really enjoy reading the water – watching the water trying to figure out what processes caused the patterns I see. So here are two more movies from my recent Birthday trip.

First, look at the Este and tell me: Which way does the water go?

And then a second look at the Este shortly before it flows into the Elbe. Watch the oscillating flow. Can you guess what’s going on underneath the surface?

What you see is one of the two Este flood barriers.

Screen shot 2015-05-15 at 6.35.00 PM

The other one, by the way, has an awesome flap bridge, that happened to open right when we arrived there, so I jumped out of the car to watch:

Screen shot 2015-05-15 at 6.35.55 PM

Oh, and it will be a great year for pears :-)Screen shot 2015-05-15 at 6.34.08 PM

Reading the water

Just because it’s fun! :-)

I’ve mentioned before that I tend to stare at water when nobody else seems to find anything interesting to look at. So just because I’m weird, let’s look at some more water.

For example here. What could have caused waves like those below?


What could have caused this pattern?

Yes. These guys went past and what we see are both the circular waves caused by the oars and the stern wave of the boat.


Rowing boat. Seriously, why would anyone want to go backward all the time???

Ok. So on to the next riddle: What could cause what we see below?


Bubbles on water. What could have caused them?

Right, that was him:



And this?


More waves.

Yes! Him again!



Does anyone see where we are going with this?

Correct. Here.

Screen shot 2014-04-12 at 9.38.08 PM

Hamburg town hall.

And a last glimpse on the way back:

Screen shot 2014-04-12 at 9.39.42 PM


Isn’t this the most beautiful city in the whole wide world? :-)