Sanjeev's Reviews > Passage To Juneau: A Sea And Its Meanings

Passage To Juneau by Jonathan Raban
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's review
Jul 30, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: recommend-nonfiction, environment
Read from July 15 to 22, 2011

This is a book that is staying with me. I finished it a bit over a week ago, and despite having read some others in between, this books keep pulling me back.

One little section that I found the need to re-read this morning:
In the making of waves, first the air 'deforms' the water, which then begins to 'perturb' the flow of air across it; and it is out of this delicate intercourse between the elements that the wave is born. As the ripple turns into a wavelet, its slight convexity gives the wind something to shove against, and soon the wavelet develops a leeward face and a windward back, with a growing differential between the weak air pressure in front and the strong air pressure behind. The unstable air, given these sudden inequalities of pressure, helps the wave (as it now is) to climb: the water's line of least resistance is to go upward as the energy in the wind is transferred to the sea.

That morning, after a few experimental zephyrs, the wind blew down the long funnel of the strait with mounting, purposeful acceleration. I had no sooner unfurled the genoa than I was struggling to reff it down to half its full area. Waves barely formed were suddenly breaking white all around the boat. (The topping crest of foam returns to the air a tithe of the energy given by the air to the water.) It took only minutes for the waves to find their natural periodic rhythm and build into a short, steep, lumpy sea.

And it goes on, nicely.

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07/15/2011 page 55
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