Tag Archives | weather

Accuweather radar Maria caribbean

Hurricane Maria watch: real-time weather

The news that Maria has strengthened from category 1 to category 5 hit like a gut punch. Learning this update at dinner last night stopped all conversation, then brought on questions: how does this happen in only half a day? Has it ever? Dreaded already for the track this storm is forecast to trace near […]

One of the early images circulating on social media

Hurricane Irma: sailing to safety, how you can help

Totem and crew are in Grenada. Time and mobility were our key advantages to get safely far from the devastating path of Irma when others could not. When Irma made landfall at Barbuda, we were secure in St Lucia. Clouds streamed from the west at sunset, sucked in the “wrong” direction by Irma. We watched […]

Drone view of Culebra

Cruising from the Greater to Lesser Antilles

  Figuring out the names of Caribbean islands was as daunting as learning island groups of the South Pacific. First, there’s a whole lot of them! And then, where does one country end and the next begin? And could I please have a Venn diagram that shows regions and island groups and countries? At least […]

catamaran beach bahamas dinghies

Offshore Communications: Satellite or SSB?

Cruisers anchored off a small beach in the Exumas dinghy in for cocktails and chat while the sun sinks behind a distant cay. Most evenings in this idyllic spot new cruisers and old salts alike meet over plans to go fishing in the sound, the best time to avoid day-trippers in the Thunderball grotto, when […]

1 sunset at sea

Passage notes: Bermuda to Connecticut

“This is turning into an expensive passage.” Those were Jamie’s words to me after the latest breakdown on our third day at sea. A large block, used for the genoa sheet, had permanently parted ways with the track on deck. The passage started benignly enough, once we got going. Although the weather watch to depart […]

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Passage notes: St Martin to Bermuda

Only one more passage separates Totem from landfall in the USA. The proximity is palpable, and conversation about what it’s going to be like has dominated dinner table conversations. The comfortable passage north from St Martin to Bermuda fostered cockpit discussion and navel-gazing under the stars, too. Here’s how it went. Passage metrics Distance: 872 nautical miles Duration: 5 days […]

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Passage notes: Ascension to Barbados wrap

Seventeen days (and five hours) after leaving Ascension, we made landfall in Barbados on a sunny afternoon. Impending arrival was heralded by small fishing boats: wooden runabouts with a small cabin and a miserable radar footprint. It made the first one a little extra exciting, as it barreled towards us at dawn about 50 miles […]

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Weather and communications on the passage

If you’re following along, you know we left Ascension Island a few day ago. Now, most of passages over time seem to top out around five days. We’ve had a few longer ones (especially in the Indian Ocean), but that’s pretty typical at the high end, and mostly they range closer to about three days. This passage, from […]

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Passage hindsight: sailing from Madagascar to South Africa

Sailing from Madagascar to South Africa is technically challenging. The Mozambique Channel separating them is famously dangerous, in particular for the effect of gales blowing up from the Southern Ocean against the south-setting Agulhas current. For a reference point that may translate better to sailors in North America, I’m told it’s comparable to experiencing a […]

PW route to RSA

Keeping current: ocean current data for passages

Ocean currents have been a significant factor for our Indian Ocean passages this year, and our upcoming passage to South Africa is no exception. On this morning’s SSB net, one boat after another chimed in about the strong foul current they’re experiencing off the Madagascar coast as they head towards South Africa. Most entered the […]

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