Saturday, May 16, 2009

Should I Stay or Should I Go Now?

Chris here... Ahhh... The Clash. Should I Stay or Should I Go Now? Today reminds me a bit of that song.

Yesterday and Today Chris Parker, weather guru extraordinaire, has said that there may be some strong weather coming our direction. He hasn't been too sure as to what is going to happen, as low pressure systems are difficult to nail down. Today he sent out an afternoon update - "Waters of 81F-82F are sufficiently-warm to support Tropical LO. Atmospheric support is questionable. Worst weather (highest winds & squalls & seas) should occur in N&E quadrants of LO, and possibly extending well-East of LO. Vessels throughout GOMEX & FL & W Bahamas should monitor situation closely."

Always fun to hear the words "Tropical Low", as these represent high winds (30-60kts), clocking around (i.e. starting from one direction and then moving around to different directions) and commensurate seas. A tropical low is a the lead up to a hurricane, but the chances of something like that happening in May are slim - very very very very slim. Regardless, strong winds, big seas and heavy rains coming get cruisers into a big tizzy, and all the talk this afternoon has been about the upcoming weather. Where do we all go?

Well, we can't stay here as there will probably be a western component to the wind (i.e. northwest, west or southwest wind) and this harbor is completely open to the west. You don't want to just turn tail and hide right away. Low pressure system boundaries are very difficult to predict, so you could hide and either have nothing happen or pick a spot where you are more likely to get hit.

Tonight was spent checking out weather sites -,, GRIB files from the National Weather Service and various other weather sources. What I've come to find is that we're right on the boundary. It appears as if most of the big stuff will pass north of us, closer to Abaco, and we're probably going to get smacked around by 20-30kt winds. Maybe.

Alley Cat and Tawa, two of the kid boats we've been travelling with, are currently in Rock Sound and are planning to pull into Alabaster Bay, just northwest of us, tomorrow. They actually rented a car today and mid-morning we heard a call on the radio from them - "Pelican, Pelican, Alley Cat." We looked into the harbour and couldn't see them, so we asked where they were. "On the road by the dinghy landing", they replied. They had driven up here, and we ended up all having lunch together. Anyway, I digress.

Side by Side is trying to get back to the US by May 21st as they want to cross the great Atlantic by the end of June (they need to be across by then), and since it takes 30 days and they have a ton of stuff to do, they are considering heading back to the US ASAP, as in the next couple of days, in order to beat out this storm system. The rest of us (Miakoda, Alley Cat, Tawa and Asolare [a new kid boat we've hooked up with]) will have to pick a spot to wait out the storms. After looking at the charts, we think we might make the 41nm run to Spanish Wells on Sunday and then head through the Devil's Backbone (a nasty section of water littered with coral and rocks on the northern end of Eleuthera) to Harbour Island. At least there we'd have Internet and stuff to do if the storm ends up not being so bad. Harbour Island provides a lot of protection from almost every direction.

Anyway, if you see us skedaddle to the north, that's us trying to hide out someplace and waiting for this storm to pass. It's not a big deal - just some wind - but better safe than sorry. Talk to y'all soon!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Chris! Consider Royal Island as a pretty enclosed place to hang our in a strong blow as is on your way to Spanish Wells and would be a good hangout if the weather is not going to be too too bad.
Good luck!!