What I love about my job (in addition to the awesome job itself, obviously)? That my office is located in pretty much the coolest spot in Hamburg when it comes to touristy views of the city. So much great wave watching (and ship watching) to be done here!
For example below, see the small ferry on the right, and how well you see the bow waves in this kind of light?
And below, it has turned and is heading out into the main Elbe arm and you can spot the turbulent wake that reflects the sun very differently from the rest of the water on either side.
And then just casually strolling past dry docks, container terminals, huuuge ships…
I really enjoy this every day! Hamburg, the gateway to the world.
A beautiful picture: the pink sky, purple clouds, a peaceful channel flowing in between lush greens that the calm water surface mirrors back, a bridge somewhere in the background, connecting the shores, both in reality and in the image on the water. Early morning harmony. Hygge?
And what jumps at me?
Which I think are really beautiful: Featured in the dark images of the trees on the water, a duck’s wake reflects the light sky back to us, thus becoming visible. And once we spot the V in the waves, with the almost invisible duck at its tip, we can see how the space between the feathery sides of the V is filled with half circles, connecting the feathers. They get more and more difficult to see the further away from the duck we look. The contrast becomes less clear where they aren’t set against the dark backdrop, and the more the waves dissipate with time.
This kind of waves is so common all around us, all the time. Did you ever really stop and look? It’s so worthwhile to really observe these things, to me that is happiness :-)
The Teltow channel and the bridge connecting Lankwitz and Steglitz, by Henning Krause. Picture used with permission
In the picture above, you can still see the ship on the left, and having seen the ship, I am sure you can recognise the turbulent wake in the picture below, too: It’s the lighter blue stripe towards the horizon with darker, rougher sea surface to either side.
And in the top picture, you see individual “feathers”, i.e. parts of the V-shaped wake with the ship at its tip, coming towards us, whereas in the bottom picture, a little later, the one part of the V has reached us and we see the “feathers” as the wave crests that are more or less perpendicular to the bottom of the picture.
I find it interesting how the perspective makes it seem as if the wavelength gets a lot longer towards us, but that’s really only the perspective. Also the closest two or so crests are really hard to see — can you spot them? The closest one you can see better on the right side of the picture where there is a sudden change from a darker to a lighter part coming across, and the second one you see more easily on the left side, again, with a quick change between darker and lighter. And the third one is fairly easily visible all across the picture.
Do you do wave watching when you are at the water?
Now that the weather is nice and sunny again, here is what it looked like only last Saturday. It wasn’t even really stormy, but windy enough so that the ships leaving the locks at Kiel Holtenau were working a lot harder than usual. Especially difficult when you are almost empty and then there is a lot of wind! See that wake?
Right behind the ship you see above, there was a second ship leaving the locks. See how milky the water looks where the first ship went from all the air bubbles that were pushed under water by the ship’s propeller? You can even see some of that water spreading underneath that floating barrier in the foreground!
And see the difference between the waves on the upwind side of the ship and the downwind side?
Here is the picture that my friend sent me that she took from inside of the café that we were sitting in before I HAD to go outside and take pictures. If I am being sent pictures of my back every week by my friends, are they trying to tell me something? :-D
On Sunday, I set out to see a large cruise liner go through the locks at Kiel Holtenau.
What happened, though, was that a ship with a smiley painted on its deck came first. Do you see the two shadows to the right of the ship, the left one aligning with the one side of the wake’s V? That’s the pillars the bridge is resting on.
This ship has a very interesting wake, since it consists of several Vs. Not quite sure why. Also, it seems to be driving in a very non-straight line, judging by its turbulent wake.
But watch what happens when the wake hits the sides of the canal.
The green thingy interrupts the straight line of the shore and creates these beautiful ring waves!
A little while later they have spread half way across the channel, while on the other side, the wake is just reflected on the shore.
It looks funny how the reflections are so asymmetrical relative to the ship, but of course the ship isn’t driving in the middle of the channel, so they have to be.
And on the other side of Kiel fjord? Yep, the cruise liner speeding past the locks. Clearly they decided to not take the shortcut through Kiel canal.
And now the small ferry is starting to cross. And in the background: The cruise liner!
I realize the earlier pictures in this posts were a lot nicer than these, but look how funny: Above you see the small ferry going around the larger ship, and the wake tracking where it went on its turn. And below, it has turned into a V! Waves are funny.
Some throwback Friday evening wave watching (at the locks at Kiel Holtenau with my friend Sara for a nice and relaxing end of the week) to start the new week. The best!
First: The pilot boat going towards the locks. Unusually visible wake — they are going fast today! Plus an interesting sheltering of waves: The wind is coming towards us so outside of those floating pontoons are a lot larger than the ones on this side that haven’t had enough fetch to build up.
Below we see the same wake: But do you see how it’s just ending on the left? That’s because the pilot boat went in behind the jetty on the far side of the fjord, and it’s only these bits of the wake that were able to propagate outside before the boat went in and the waves don’t make it out of the small channel created by the jetty.
And below the pilot boat going out again in a curve: Love how you see the turbulent wake as well as the deformed V-shaped feathery wake. When you look from the pilot boat down on the picture, do you see the individual “feathers” of the V? Love this perspective on wakes!
And this is what you will see of me when you meet me for a coffee anywhere near water. Sorry Sara, but thanks for the picture! :-)
Berlin is full of interesting history to discover … for example that of ships that have gone past on the Spree! :-D
Let’s start with some easy wave watching. In the picture above, you see a ship and its wake (both parts: the turbulent one where the ship has gone, and the feathery wake that forms the V with the ship at its tip). And you can make out the wake of a ship that has already gone round that bend of the Spree: the turbulent part showing a different surface roughness, and reflected remains of the feathery V on the right shore of the Spree. So far, so good!
Below, you see two turbulent wakes: The one of the ship you still see, and then the one of a ship that went the other way, but already went out of the area captured in the picture.
Berlin Cathedral Church seen from across the Spree
And here is a series where you see the feathery wake reach the side of the Spree…
Bode museum and television tower Berlin
…get reflected there…
…and then meet the reflection of the other side of the V to form a checkerboard pattern! Would you have known what’s going on here if you hadn’t spotted the ship just about to leave the picture, or seen the previous images?
Below is another nice one. What happened here? A ship sat there, waiting, and then started moving again right before I took the picture! This is the beginning of a turbulent wake right here.
Reichstag, home of parlament
And below another nice wake plus reflection.
And here you see another feathery wake, plus the turbulent wake of the same ship on the other side of the Spree.
Reichstag, home of parlament
Similar picture as above, except in a different spot…
German Chanellery in Berlin seen across the Spree
Yes, that’s a pretty good representation of what sightseeing trips with me are like ;-)
I just love this picture: The two boats in the front are going at the same speed (the trainer is driving right next to the person in the row boat over a long distance), yet look at how different the two ships’ wakes look!
The motor boat has this huge, breaking, turbulent wake. Even though it rides so high up in the water, it displaces a lot of water and creates a wake with a large amplitude (how large the amplitude is is visible in the picture below, where some poor people were sitting in row boats when a motor boat sped past. But also here: Look at how cool these feathery waves that constitute the wake look together!).
But then, going back to the original picture (which I am showing again below) — look in contrast at the row boat’s wake. You see the paired eddies where the oars were in the water, and you see a tiny little trail where the body of the ship went. But that’s all. Yet both boats are going at exactly the same speed! Pretty cool, isn’t it? (Also pretty scary how much energy the motor boat is spending on moving water and moving a larger hull and a heavy engine rather than just propulsion when the payload of both boats is more or less the same — one person)
You know how they say that the journey is the destination? That was certainly the case for my spontaneous mini-vacation yesterday (and how awesome is it that my #BestTravelBuddy is up for a cross country trip on a day’s notice?). We went all the way from the east coast to the west coast — which in Germany admittedly isn’t that terribly far — to visit the island Sylt in the North Sea for a day.
But it got even better when we reached the west coast. This is my kind of train ride!
Below is a view of the dam that connects the island Sylt with the main land, and here again you see how windy it is, and this is in the lee of the island. In the lee of those shallow dams you see that it really doesn’t take long for the surface roughness to increase again.
So are you excited to see the wind-ward side of the island now? I’ll post some wave watching from that side soon, but I first have to wade through literally thousands of pictures to cut it down to a handful. I’m already down to about the 100 best, but now I can’t decide which ones to post, because I like them all…
But here is a picture of the train ride back. Do you notice how there are regions with really low surface roughness on either side of the dam, suggesting that this dam is sheltering the water surface from the wind in two directions? Of course it isn’t — it’s just ebb tide and the smooth surface areas towards the right of the dam are wet sand that look similar to a smooth water surface.
So that’s my wave watching from the train! Excited to go back soon! :-)
Have you ever noticed how much you can observe when you look at water from a distance? For example in these pictures, you see the tracks of ships that are long out of sight! Do you see the circle that one obviously drove before leaving our field of view?
For the ships far out in the fjord, you can’t actually see the waves so much as the turbulence they created that left the surface smoother, thus better reflecting the light from the low sun (and appearing yellow-ish). And how cool how you see how newer tracks run over older ones! Only for the ferry in the bottom left you can actually see the waves themselves.
In the picture below we actually see the waves that both ferries made.
Zooming in: How cool does it look to have these waves almost all the way across the water? And do you see how they are bound by the ship’s V-shaped, feathery wake? I find it really fascinating that there are such large surface elevations, but only inside of the ship’s wake.
I just love wave watching, even when I am not even that close to the water :-)