The Drake Shake


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Our current position in the Drake Passage

We had a fabulous trip to Antarctica and currently are returning back to Argentina across the Drake Passage. Our southbound crossing was blissfully calm, but it looks like we won’t be so lucky on the return.

We’re halfway across the Drake right now, and a major weather system packing 40-kt winds and 30-ft seas on 7 seconds is heading our way. It looks like we’re about to experience what is called the “Drake Shake” in this notoriously difficult body of water. A month ago, a passenger died on another cruise ship when a rogue wave blew in the window during a Drake Passage crossing.

It will be interesting to see how well the National Geographic Endurance handles the conditions, but hopefully not too interesting. It’s an unusually strong Polar Class 5 vessel, so we expect it to do well. We should reach the shelter of the Beagle Channel sometime tomorrow evening.


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Conditions at the center of the system heading our way


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3 comments on “The Drake Shake
  1. Raffaele says:

    Buon 2023 !
    Happy New Year James and Jennifer !

    Looking fwd hearing from you, since last post was “We’re halfway across the Drake right now, and a major weather system packing 40-kt winds and 30-ft seas on 7 seconds is heading our way. It looks like we’re about to experience what is called the “Drake Shake” in this notoriously difficult body of water. A month ago, a passenger died…”

    Hope the experience was better than that !
    Buon Anno !

    • Yes, absolutely we’re fine. Thanks for checking. The conditions where, by far, the worst we have ever seen at sea with wind gusts past 60 kts and 30′ waves but it wasn’t bad at all. Many were sea sick but we had a fairly central cabin and we didn’t find the conditions a problem. In fact, it was kind of fun to sit at the window with a glass of wine during dinner and both watch and feel the waves crash onto our beam. The Nat Geo Endurance is a pretty heavily built boat.

  2. John Schieffelin says:

    Looking forward to hearing about how the ship handles rough weather and all about the complete experience.

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