These pictures were taken from the French frigate FS La Motte Picquet as she steamed toward Norfolk a couple of weeks ago. (Photos and description courtesy of the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command.)
According to the account of the voyage, “During their translant, they crossed 3 bad storms, with a maximum wind speed of 90 kts. The [top]picture is one of the biggest waves they (the French) have ever seen (almost 45 feet).”
Ice on the forecastle as the ship approached St Pierre et Miquelon, a small French territory off the coast of Canada.
These shots illustrate to me the importance of the small and unheralded group of expert Navy ship routers based out of Norfolk and Pearl Harbor. Their service is called Optimum Track Ship Routing (OTSR). I once was told by a three star Admiral that the routers are so good at keeping American ships out of harm’s way that he was concerned the crews would lose their proficiency in sailing through actual heavy weather. That’s a pretty powerful compliment by a senior officer, and well-deserved.