Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Turned around by Tropical Low in our path

We're baaack.

We left Tonga around 8 a.m. and had sailed 71 miles when we received an email from our weather router advising us to ABORT this passage, so we immediately turned around and returned to Tonga.  Bob McDavitt is our weather router for this part of the world.  He lives in New Zealand and knows the weather patterns here really well.  For a reasonable fee, McDavitt provided us with a route to NZ which would have taken us 9 days.  McDavitt's route took advantage of winds at certain positions and gave us a total passage of about 1140 miles...the straight line is about 1000 miles so this is fairly efficient routing.  A problem occurred when one of the Low Pressure areas we planned to pass through about mid-way to NZ intensified on the weather modeling computers.  These modeling computers now expect this Low Pressure to become a Tropical Low with Gales.  McDavitt sent us an email which we luckily received with only 10 hours into our passage.  We really do not want to spend 24 - 36 hours at sea in a Gale with 50kt winds so we took his advice to ABORT and turned around. 

We arrived back in Nuku'alofa around 5:00 this morning.  Just a 21 hour day sail in not too pleasant conditions because of the SPCZ activity.  We are back in Tongatapu and expect to try again Tuesday 28 October, weather permitting.

Re:  the earthquake last weekend
Received an email from a friend in the States and learned that the earthquake we experienced last weekend was a 7.1 and the epicenter was 94 miles from where we were anchored.  We felt 2 aftershocks on Wednesday afternoon.  Still have heard no local comments about this earthquake.  The local inhabitants seem to think nothing of it.

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