14 October 2009

Slalom course in a dust storm

It was quite eerie motoring off into the dust storm. We were novices at following the slalom course of port and starboard channel markers in Beacon to Beacon, but I must give credit to Nicky who did a valiant job. In very non-nautical terms we knew that we turned left out of the marina and first right!

When I say motored off I mean it. There was no way we were going to hoist the sails. The wind seemed to be on our nose (whichever way we went) and it just kept increasing.

For the record I have just checked the archived maximum wind gusts recorded at Cleveland (the nearest location as far as I know). The recordings don't give wind direction but I reckon it stayed NW most of the 3 days we were out.

Monday 12th Oct 29 knots, Tuesday 13th Oct 31 knots (thank goodness we stayed home)

Wed 14th - the day we left - 28 knots

Thursday 15th - 17 knots

Friday 16th - 29 knots (no wonder we needed to reef)

Our plan had been to anchor for the night at Slipping Sands in Canaipa Passage, but way before we got there we decided that we needed to find somewhere far more protected so we slipped into McKenzies Channel to the West of Crusoe Island. It proved a good decision as we found a great spot and by early evening the wind dropped away completely and with it the dust storm. You can see from the photos below how still it was early the next morning.

Nicky got a well deserved good night's sleep. I also slept well even though my chest felt full of dust.

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