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  • A Call to AntarcticaOn March 10, 2009 at 13:43:19 French time, Skipper Rich Wilson and Great American III crossed the finish line at Les Sables d'Olonne. Race time: 121 days, 41 minutes and 19 seconds
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Essay - Forces of Nature

by Rich Wilson, Skipper, Great American III

Rich WilsonTake a globe. Center it in your gaze at 15° South latitude, 155° West longitude. Look at all that Pacific Ocean!

The Pacific is huge, and down here in the southern part powerful low pressure weather systems keep marching along, circling Antarctica like beads on a necklace, pushing big waves, winds and currents in front of them.

A different, but similarly huge, oceanic force is in the North Atlantic, where the Gulf Stream moves massive volumes of warm water from the Gulf of Mexico, around Florida, up the east coast, and across the Atlantic, heating northern Europe to temperatures far more moderate than we have at the same latitude in North America.

Volcanoes are powerful forces of nature, too. In the Pacific, the volcanic islands of Hawaii rose up from a “hot spot” in the tectonic plates. On the sea charts, one can see a string of sub-surface mountains that didn’t quite make it to the ocean’s surface to become islands – these are called seamounts. In 15,000 feet of water, we passed a seamount a few days ago that rose to within 25 feet of the surface – now that’s a mountain!

It’s logical to feel very small in the face of nature’s enormity, but mankind still has an effect on nature. We should minimize our impact so that our relationship can remain in the realm of awe.

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