Thursday, February 12, 2009

BOB Threatens Season 6

Current Location: Billabong's Location

Our Location: Chris + KT

We've been pretty lucky with good 'ol Mother Nature during our five year trip. Sure, we've been hammered both at anchor and at sea, but I can count the really scary moments on both my hands. Not a bad percentage considering we've been out for 1885 days.

We usually play it rather safe, avoiding cyclone seasons, watching the weather before passages, but Mother Nature is the boss out here and sometimes you simply get caught out. Once we entered the Western Indian ocean, we had to be careful of Named Storms/Winds. In the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden these winds usually created sand storms that covered the boat in red mud and created huge steep seas. We got caught in a Belat (a sand/dust storm) on the trip from Oman to Yemen, it wasn't pretty. These systems have been tracked for thousands of years, carry Arab names by fishermen they effect, and are even part of the Coptic calendar (including a special calendar of Gales).

The Meltemi

The Mistral

These storms don't end in the eastern Med, there are named winds throughout the Mediterranean - including the Etesian/Meltemi that effects the Aegean Sea (Greece/Turkey), the Mistral, and the Sirocco. You really have no understanding of these storms until you've been through one. We've had southern gales in Finike that brought sand from Africa, 380 miles across the Mediterranean. It covered our decks with red dust/muds... 380 miles.. how is there any sand still left in the desert? While we've been home, our friends in Marmaris experienced 76 Knots and the marina we almost left Billabong in was badly damaged (check out the video).

I know it doesn't sound very Arabic but BOB has been tracked even longer; longer than recorded history in fact. The timing is relatively well understood (around the end of June), but we can't be sure when exactly it will arrive. Will it come in the darkness of night, the early morning hours, or during the day with full light? Do we stay in Finike and ride it out in a known location or do we attempt the run to Marmaris and risk getting caught out? We arrive back in Turkey in April, but we have to paint the bottom and get everything prepared. We could really go for it and try to make it to Malta before BOB arrives... Decisions, decisions.
The good news is we've had plenty of warning and even started preparing Billabong before we left to come home. We've removed all the non-essential gear and are reading up and strategizing on how to prepare. Like all things in our cruising life preparation is the key, but we've been told that no matter how much we prepare, BOB will cause HUGE upheaval on board Billabong.

Despite all the work.. we are ecstatically awaiting Billabong's newest crew member (ie. Baby On Board .. BOB). How will it effect our season? You'll have to tune in to find out.. this one is fully in Mother Nature's hands.

More Photos

Continue reading "BOB Threatens Season 6"...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

and You think sailing is slow..

Current Location: Billabong's Location

During our development/testing of BlurbBits, we scoured the internet for interesting blogs that contain lat/long locations (or full georss support).

We found the Virgin Global Row site. This guy is trying to row around Antarctica

and it is expected to take 18-22 months (with One Stop).

After 17 days he's only covered 305 miles. We would typically cover this distance in less than 3 days, you driving on the freeway: 5 hours. I would NEVER take Billabong down there, waves travel around the world unimpeded by land, 40 foot seas are not uncommon. We added him to our BlurbBit examples. We can map his blog posts on an interactive map and/or create gadgets of map summaries or blog albums that can be shared or embedded on sites/blogs.

See Official Google Blog: The rowboat and the cloud to learn more about Google's role. Hmm.. wish we could have that level of support.

Go Olly go..

Continue reading "and You think sailing is slow.."...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Quick Update

Billabong is still on the hard in Finike Turkey ( View Location).

We are on a whirlwind four month trip through the states to visit family in three different states ( View locations). It's a little crazy.. but it's been great to catch up with family. We are REALLY enjoying our visit to the states.. but it is such a contrast our past year of sailing and life in Turkey.

Speaking of which, we have updated our blog with all the Blurbs that we originally mapped (via email) during our trip across the Indian Ocean and up the Red Sea (77 updated posts). They are shorter than our usual blogs and just include a status update, with position, and sometimes a photo (also see our Blog Album Summary or our Egypt Land Tour Photos). They complete the story and fill in some of the blanks and may help cruisers following in our wake with anchorages and cool places to stop. We've also added labels to help search blogs by country or area, in addition to our archive (by date). With the Geoblogs on this Page map you can quickly see the locations we blogged about in each area or time frame.

It also helped us test some new functionality that we may release for BlurbBits. If you are interested in giving BlurbBits a try or starting your own blog.. give us a shout!!

More news .. soon!!

The last part of the Red Sea in the hardest, the wind doesn't want you to leave. Non-stop 20-30 knots right on the nose, with ridiculously step seas for the amount of fetch. We sailed in similar winds at the same angle for 1800 nm from the Marshall Islands to Fiji but those seas were open ocean swell and not the boat stoppers that the Red Sea dishes up. Check out the number of tacks.. it was work.. all day non-stop work!! All that to travel 30 miles.. what you cover in a half an hour on the freeway!!

Continue reading "Quick Update"...