Loading Map

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Day 9

146 nm made good, all sailing. 1752 miles to go.

I have a few thoughts to share on Flying Fish. As an adaptation for evading predators the ability of these small fish to take to the air is a huge waste. After watching a thousand or so glide away from NAKIA I've come to the conclusion that if a more intelligent animal had this ability it would be far more entertaining. First lets take a look at what the fish does. As some scary menace approaches, the fish jumps out of the water at a shallow angle and spreads its wing-like fins. Depending on how much speed the fish had on departing the water it could go a few feet to as far as 30 yards. In order to keep in the air, the fish can 'tail' the water using the lower lobe of it's tail which is longer then the upper lobe. This can extend the flight another 30 yards or so. During the flight, the fish exhibits a kind of terrain following ability (probably based on ground affect) that allows the fish to pop up to avoid oncoming waves and then back down to low level flight. Now imagine what it would be like if this ability we present in a higher level animal who might do this kind of thing just for the fun of it. Like a dolphin. Since they're mammals, there's no need for them to go back into the water to breath, so they could take to the air and skim across the surface or a mile or more. Who wouldn't want to do that? Instead we have a 6 in fish who only thinks of this ability after it has been frightened out of its wits.