Friday, March 12, 2010

Suviving in Kodiak's "cold" water

(These are not B&W pictures. That's just the way it is...lots of reflection making things look blue-gray.)

With surface temerature in the teens for a week, it's finally cold enough to drop our sea water temperature to 35.5 F. You don't want to fall in that water. Most locals will tell you you are unlikely to survive long. Some say 15-30 minutes. According to the US Search & Rescue Task force those numbers are too short. Here are their numbers.

Expected Exhaustion and Survival times
@ 40-50 degrees F: 30-60 minutes ; 1-3 hrs
@ 32-40 degrees F: 15-30 minutes ; 30-90 minutes
@ < 32 degree F: < 15 minutes ; < 15 - 45 minutes

But I think the locals figure that if you fall in without a survival "dry suit" fully zipped, you are likely to become unconscious and swallow enough water to drown.

Water is colder elsewhere. Anchorage's water is 30 and Nome's is 27.7 (it's at the end of the Iditarod race). That is barely low enough to freeze salt water (it freezes at 28, they say). What you see frozen in Kodiak's harbor is the surface water which has slightly less salt and freezes closer to 32.

I don't think the Harbor Master is making his rounds in his boat today. Others are getting ready for a quick trip out as soon as they can. Meanwhile, this man's "helper" takes a break to check out what is under all that white stuff.

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