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

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations on your impending arrival of "BOB". I hope he or she adapts quickly and you are able to resume and complete your circumnavigation!