Friday, September 14, 2012

Sept. 13, 2012 Gales of September


Storm clouds gathering, at the somewhat crowded bay 

Waves breaking at the outer shore, separated from our bay just by a narrow strip of land 

We are still anchored at the bay in Mahon, waiting for fair weather for the long passage to Sardinia. But fair weather seems hard to come by. September is the month of weather transition as the hot days of summer are replaced by cool days of autumn, and as if Nature is rehearsing the winter furies that will follow, there are frequent gales in this month. We were chased by one on the way to Menorca, and a week later there is another full gale blowing down the Gulf of Leon again. This is a gale with a serious attitude, a full force 10 at its centre, forecasted a week prior. The northern islands of Menorca, Corsica, and Sardina are most exposed to it’s path. So the yachties at this little bay are all staying put for the week, about a dozen yachts of different sizes and nationalities – Americans, Brits, Australians, French, Italians, and the lone Canadian. It makes a lively social scene, parties at each other’s boat while we wait for the storm to pass.

The storm lasted two days, started after mid night (so as to cause maximum coax!), reached force 7 with gusts at over 40 knots, settled down a bit the next day, and then resumed in full force the next evening at force 8, with gusts peaking at force 10. Our anchorage is a bay protected on all sides by low hills, so there are no sea waves but the hills are too low to offer any protection from the wind. One the north side, the bay is separated from the open sea just by a narrow strip of land, and from our boat we can see the large, white crested blue waves smashing onto the outer shore. Thankfully our anchor held, but not so for two other boats. They dragged anchor in the darkness of night, with the wind howling, waves being whipped into white caps even in the small bay. In 50 knots gusts it’s extremely difficult to retrieve one’s chain and anchor and then re-set the anchor, and they circled around the bay in repeated attempts to re-anchor. One boat hit several other boats, and another boat drift out of the bay and had to issue a May Day call for the coast guard to tow them back into safety. No one in the bay had much sleep that night!  

1 comment:

  1. wow! looks like you had hell of a time out there, loved reading this post and your awesome adventures. seeing content with such nice shots makes me happy.

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