04 October 2008

04-Oct-2008 Noon Position

Noon Position
Coast of Algeria
Mediterranean Sea

  • 80 nm last 24 hours
  • 554 nm from Malta
  • 367 nm to Malaga, Spain
  • Winds NW 10 knots
  • Seas NW 1-2 feet
More crazy lighting and squalls. We spent the remainder of yesterday afternoon motoring against 15-20 knots of headwinds. Right about sunset the winds let up, so we started making some progress. Because of this 10 hours of bashing we made only 80 nm last 24 hours. Right after sunset a huge squall line passed over us and suddenly we had rain and more insane lighting all around us. When I say "insane lighting", it is just about the most amount of lighting we have ever seen. Its kind of like a Hollywood version of a lighting show, lots of very bright bolts going off in many different directions and most hitting the water. Its a bit unnerving to say the least. Some of the bolts are so bright that when the go off it leaves us blind for a few minutes, just like if someone put a camera flash in your face.

When these squall lines come up on us we can see them on radar. This is a good thing because it is so dark at night you can not see where they are. On the radar we can see where the worst parts of the squalls are. Like playing a video game, we rev up Sandpiper's engine to full throttle and drive through the gaps that we can see on the radar.

We did pretty good last night and only got a little wet. But more important we left the worst of the lightning down our sides, then behind us. At times we were making over 7 knots racing around with the 30+ knot squall winds filling up our double reefed main.

To make this even more interesting, mix in a bunch of ships racing around through these squalls. And once they enter the squall, we can not longer see them on the radar. We had 2 close encounters. The first was a container ship that would not answer us on VHF radio. It crossed our bow causing us to pass behind him at 1/8th of a mile, right on the edge of a huge squall we were trying to get around. The next ship came at us an hour later right out of a squall at about a mile off our bow, causing us to have to make a hard turn to port to miss crossing his bow. Once again, no answer on the VHF radio.

Once all the squalls blew out around midnight the winds dropped down and we motorsailed to early in the morning. Then we were able to sail with the winds forward of the beam till late morning.

Right now the weather is very mild. And from forecasts we are hearing, they predict the winds will stay light for the next 3 days. This might mean a lot of motoring. But we should not have head winds and seas to beat into.

Still lots of ships everywhere we look, its kind of like being on the interstate in a very small car with 800 foot trucks flying by with nobody at the wheel.

More in 24,
Tom and Amy

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