Lightning every 10 secs

Here’s almost the same shot with Jamie in the cockpit a second or so after the main image above was taken. This image shows how the world lights up as lightning hits nearby.

We’ve sailed a lot of miles through many lightning storms, but this was our biggest and longest in 13 years on SY Esper. It was relentless, at times the lightning bolts came every 10 seconds.

Miri Marina, our destination, is notoriously difficult to enter. There is a long, shallow sand bar on approach and a narrow channel into the marina only navigable at high tide. Any kind of swell makes it impossible. We would be arriving on a spring tide, so needed to catch it at the right height and current. We had three days to go and needed to be there at around 9am.

When we left the shelter of Serasan a light breeze and sunny skies allowed us to shake out the sails in the blue waves. Dolphins played at the bow and we all enjoyed some peace.

No sailor ever tires of these gorgeous creatures

Jamie enjoying some peace before the storm

But PredictWind was showing storms along the Borneo coastline. Through the binoculars, anvil-shaped clouds built in the east. Perhaps this would be the shape of things to come now the southwest monsoon had finished much earlier than expected. In the transitional period all bets are off. With binoculars at the ready, we kept a wary eye on the horizon.

Apart from the weather, this coastline has other hazards, in particular oil and gas rigs. Some are on the charts, but many don’t appear, have moved or been replaced in a slightly different position. Some have even been cut down with just their legs left behind at wave height.

Rigs and hazards on approach to Miri marina

While Millie helped to keep watch, Liz fished.

Millie on watch

Liz fishes

The clouds gathered overnight and before dawn we were in the middle of it. The good news was that the wind picked up to 35+kts so we made good speed. The bad news was that we were now ahead of schedule and needed to reduce speed to ensure we wouldn’t turn up at the marina too early.

Liz re-enacts her reaction to the lightning earlier that day

As always, thanks for supporting us and allowing us to share our adventure with you.

Peace and fair winds!

Liz, Jamie and Millie xxx


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2 Comments on “Lightning every 10 secs”

  1. I’m with you with such frightening thunderstorms. Something similar happened to me in the Med when the lightning bolts hit left and right, even ignited a bush fire on a nearby island. I was scared to the bones as I was standing barefoot behind my stainless steel steering wheel, rain and hail stones hitting like bullets and all these deafening thunder made me shaking like a tree leaf in a hurricane. I was so scared that I had put on my diving suit booties with a thick rubber sole for the unlikely event that we get a direct hit and I get electrocuted like on an electric chair. To be honest I was close to get my underwear in autumn color 🙂

    1. Haha! Thank you, Werner, for the detailed account of your horror story! Yes, we’ve sailed through many storms because they are very common in this part of the world. The most I’ve ever seen in one go was when we were on a dinghy one evening in Kerala crossing the river from a friend’s boat back to our own. Forks were falling in the water all around us, left, right and centre. At times, they were only a few meters away. It was like a fireworks party. I think the large amount of white wine I’d drunk kept me calm. 😉

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