Oceanography The Official Magazine of
The Oceanography Society
Volume 22 Issue 02

View Issue TOC
Volume 22, No. 2
Pages 228 - 233


Kayaking with Bernoulli

Burkard Baschek David M. Farmer
First Paragraph

In the narrow channels along the coast of British Columbia, Canada, powerful tidal currents generate spectacular rapids sometimes exceeding 8.6 m s-1. The Nakwakto tidal rapids are an especially impressive natural fluid mechanics laboratory and a beautiful example of Daniel Bernoulli's famous principle of energy conservation in a fluid. Boundary-layer separation from irregular shorelines generates intense shears with highly energetic whirlpools that draw gas bubbles to great depth, enhancing aeration of the water. Large standing waves form in the wake of an island. In these environments, fresh surface water from the extensive inlets of the mainland coast and saltier water from the Pacific Ocean are mixed thoroughly throughout the water column. In this article we describe unusual measurements acquired in Nakwakto Rapids, an outstanding educational laboratory with unique opportunities for studying hydrodynamics.


Baschek, B., and D.M. Farmer. 2009. Kayaking with Bernoulli. Oceanography 22(2):228–233, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2009.51.


Bernoulli, D. 1738. Hydrodynamica.

Bernoulli, J. 1732. Hydraulica.

Guillen, M. 1995. Five Equations that Changed the World. MSF Books, New York, 277 pp.

Hemmingway, R., and D. Douglass. 1999. Beyond Nakwakto Rapids. Pacific Yachting. Available online at: http://www.insidepassagenews.com/ARTICLES/PACIFIC_YACHTING/nakwakto.html (accessed May 13, 2009).

Henderson, F.M. 1966. Open Channel Flow. Prentice Hall, 544 pp.

Copyright & Usage

This is an open access article made available under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution, and reproduction in any medium or format as long as users cite the materials appropriately, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate the changes that were made to the original content. Images, animations, videos, or other third-party material used in articles are included in the Creative Commons license unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If the material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission directly from the license holder to reproduce the material.