Jamie didn’t like the darkening skies, so he took a look at the forecast to discover some big weather coming in from the west. Fishing vessels, large and small, arrived from deeper water, dropping noisy anchor chain and crowding into the anchorage behind Ko Tarutao’s high hills. He told the others to prepare themselves for some potential big winds.
While the boys played in 15 metres of water for 45 minutes, following fish, admiring the coral, playing with an eel and finding their lost equipment, Alicia and Liz stayed on the beach. The silk-smooth white sand only appears at low tide and they wanted to make the most of it.
When the first murmurings of this year’s SW monsoon came rumbling in, we cancelled our plans to meet friends in town and stayed aboard. Squadrons of clouds hurled lightning across the sky at each other for two days, while we sheltered in the cockpit and collected rainwater in buckets.
It’s a bit early but the storms have started brewing over Cochin. I remember two years ago sailing from Goa to Cochin having to motor straight through some nasty weather and seeing lightning like you see in this video clip.
Around the one minute mark you’ll see it’s just like someone turning the kitchen light on and off. It feels like monsoon is just around the corner.
The last instalment of our six-part story of our trip from Turkey to India has been published in Sailing Today. Over the last year our story of the Vasco Da Gama rally, including our passage through Pirate Alley and across the Arabian Sea to India, has been serialised in British sailing magazine, Sailing Today. In this story we make our way down from Goa to Kochi with friends Emma and Katie straight through some nasty storms, signalling the beginning of monsoon. Sailing Today Issue 171 is out now and is also available online.
So what do 7m waves look like from the inside of a cruise ship? I’ve put together three video clips in this post. In the first we see the effect of a storm on a cruise ship’s passengers, crew and gear. This CCTV clip was taken from a cruise ship that hit 50 knots winds off New Zealand and makes for scary viewing! The second clip gives you a bird’s eye view of a rolling cruise ship, and the third is a small clip taken from the bridge of a commercial vessel enduring some sci-fi looking waves. Anyone booked their cruise this year?
It doesn’t seem to matter where you are this weekend: Turkey, England, Germany… it’s wet wherever you go. If the weather’s not ripping pontoons apart in Marmaris it’s holding up traffic on the M25 and making the autobahn a dangerous place to travel. For those who haven’t seen it we have some video evidence of the damage that wreaked havoc across Marmaris, recorded by Mike of ‘Roam’, hot off the press. In stark contrast to that we have a great movie of ‘Ilios’, ‘Viva Solo’, ‘Esper’, ‘Full Flight’ and ‘Lady Jessie’ all demonstrating what we like doing best. Any opportunity to send Liz off up into the air attached to a bit of string , camcorder in hand, has got to be worth the effort and she captured some fantastic video clips, which we present to you here. A pleasant musical refrain replaces the dirty-mouthed Liz battling with a shaky video camera.
The anchor is well dug in and my transit line still hasn’t changed, but now it’s dark I can’t see it and the anchor chain is making funny noises every now and then. The wind is blowing hard enough that the boat is tipping over and I have to lean over the laptop to readjust myself to an upright position. I can hear the water slopping all around poor Esper. I’m not sure how well I’m going to sleep tonight and I’m exhausted after the six hours of sailing we’ve done today.
The next 24 hours became a blue of slamming, spray, 5 metre waves and queasiness. Most of the watches were done in saloon, though I preferred being outside, harnessed in and riding the boat as if on a surf board! It was either feel sick and feel sh!tty, or see it for what it was and make the most of it.
A fellow yachtie we bumped into in the showers warned us of Force 9-10s and 9 metre waves. This didn’t really phase us since Vincent was a grand yacht master (though I don’t know anyone who would want to see him put to the test in those kind of conditions) and the rest of us actually wanted to see 9 metre waves! (How foolish!)
The weather continued to amaze us as the sun set in the west and a huge orange moon rose in the east. On the one side was the Kentish coast and on the other Dunkirk, with huge great ships lit up dotted around in-between. We celebrated with a Thai red curry (cooked by yours truly) and ate it outside watching the sunset before us.
The weather was getting progressively worse but everyone was itching to get going and finally hit the open waters. When the green light indicated our turn to enter the lock the sense of nervousness and trepidation increased as the conversation dropped. Once the gates had closed behind us we had a fifteen minute wait as the lock filled and rose to sea level. We were all looking at the red traffic lights and waiting, wondering what the open water had prepared for us.
Back on the Ijsselmeer we continued to get to grips with the boat. At one point I accidentally tacked, which in stormy conditions can be the end of the boat since the boom can swing round the wrong way and put too much pressure on the wrong side of the mast, which could snap it in two. Mistake number one!
Although Ijsselmeer is only three metres deep it behaves very much like the sea. With fairly strong winds we unfurled the mizzen, the sail at the back of the boat that’s used to stabilise it in strong winds. With the slashing rain we were the only sailing vessel on what is normally a busy bit of water, and when the storm that had been predicted by the weathermen finally came over the sh!t really hit the fan!
More rubbish weather so today I just wandered up to the sea break and tried to take some photos of the rather large waves crashing over the harbour wall. I got soaked and got no decent pictures.
I can’t remember the last time I had a decent night’s sleep. It doesn’t help that I have the smallest bunk on the boat either! I could be philosophical about it but I’ll be damned if I’m gonna continue to live like this for the next few months. Am I showing the first signs of cracking? After only four weeks? Surely not…….