National Geographic : 1989 Jan
rhythm of oar stroke and recov ery. The violent roll and pitch of the boat try our patience and endurance. When a strong wind heels us constantly to leeward, we use an oar on that side one foot shorter than the windward oar. We even learn to row in total darkness, timing the touch of blade to water by instinct. Before the voyage I would never have thought such a thing possi- ble. But it works. The mood of the Drake Passage is usually hostile, but at times it's benign, with minke whales circling placidly and albatross soaring overhead on ten-foot wingspans. Rowing Antarctica's "Most Mad Seas"