The boat crashes back down onto the water with a boom of a base drum. The constant hum and rumble of the engines provide the melody. Glasses and plates rattle like the percussion section. And occasionally you’ll hear a wave crash against the boat with a swishing noise in a completely different key. This is the Drake Symphony and you hear it when you are headed to Antarctica.
The Drake Passage is is the body of water between the southern tip of South America and the South Shetland Islands of Antarctica. It gets it’s reputation as the roughest sea in the world for good reason. The Antarctic Circumpolar Current gets squeezed through this narrow gap between the South American and Antarctic continents and it is the squeezing of this current in an area of naturally high winds that is a major cause the Drake’s moodiness.
To get to Antarctica you have to cross the Drake. Yes – it can be uncomfortable, but it’s a small price to pay to be transported to the bottom of the world and back.