Sunday, 16 March 2014

an unwelcome visitor

Just a little bit windy for now
Lusi is coming to town this weekend, but we don’t want her to.

Friday 1100: The energy is charged around Opua this morning. We’re waiting for Lusi to make landfall on the northern tip of New Zealand. Boats have crammed themselves into the marina and then there are those of us tied to moorings with multiple lines and plenty of chafe guard. Our decks are cleared. Everything is tied down. And we have chocolate. We are ready. We’ve been through our share of storms, but never a cyclone or hurricane. We do expect Cyclone Lusi to shrink down to a storm before she graces us with her presence. We just wish she weren't coming at all.

Vanuatu has suffered because of Lusi. She has sadly been the cause of 3 confirmed deaths and a number of people have disappeared (likely due to mudslides) The damage a tropical cyclone can leave in its wake can be extensive. The recent Cyclone Ian is an example of the desolation that can be left behind. 

Friday 1400: The skies are overcast. Big thick clouds have been gathering since last night. The wind has begun to rise. But so far we’re in the 20 knot range with gusts only slightly higher. That’s just run of the mill winds. Rick is still at work. And I’m monitoring weather forecasts and working on some computer projects.

Live action while we still had Internet, can you see NZ?
(Click to enlarge)
Friday 2300: The wind has become very gusty, still only in the 30 knot range, but we don’t expect it to worsen for a few hours. After dawdling for a while, we go to bed.

Saturday 0200: Actually, to be exact, it was 0150. All of a sudden the wind was very loud. And we were both startled awake. We had already decided to get up every 2 hours to check our lines, and it was nearly Rick’s turn to go out in the storm. The boat was straining on the lines, but everything was fine. We’ve experienced 40+ knot winds before. The worst part is the noise, and the potential of lines chafing through. But we know to keep a close eye on that. There can be a lot of friction on the lines that hold a boat to a mooring (a yacht’s anchor rode or dock lines can have the same issues). If there is enough wind, the resulting motion and friction can slice clear through thick lines. Have I mentioned chafe guard?

Saturday 0300: We no longer have an Internet connection. Luckily our cell phone has a mini data plan that allows us to keep checking weather reports. Oh, and our anamometer stopped working. Our transmitter needs fresh batteries, while they still charge on sunny days, a cloudy day means they don't last through the night. [We found out later that the winds went up to 58 knots in the middle of the night. This explains why the wind sounded so ominous, luckily, our location was well protected unlike some parts of the Bay of Island.]

Saturday 0800: The winds are back in the mid 40’s (our anamoter is working again). Rick is sleeping after we've both spent most of the night awake. I'm keeping watch and working on the computer. I'm incredibly productive. Maybe it's because there is no Internet to distract me.

Rick and Ernesto Trying to save
what's left of that sailin 40 knot winds
Saturday 0900: A nearby (unattended) yacht’s foresail unfurled in the wind and we watch helpless as it slowly starts to shred. We pass on the message through friends, but we only have a rowing dinghy, there is no way we could go over there to minimize the damage. Our neighbour Ernesto on Libertee calls on the VHF and asks Rick to come help him furl it back up, Libertee has a dinghy with an outboard. So the two set off against wind and rain. I watch from Nyon as they put a stop to the already extensive damage on the sail. 

Saturday 1900: We barely notice the gusts in the mid 20’s tonight. We filled our bellies with a delicious chicken and kumara curry and we'll likely fall asleep early. We're tired. 

Sunday 1000: Light breezes and sunshine greet us. 

Check out  this footage, you'll see what it looked like in Northland during the storm. 

If you are a sailor (or not) and you want to know how to prepare for a storm or what it's like in an actual hurricane, this is a great article written by someone who weathered  Hurricane Marty in the Sea of Cortez. There is a lot of great information, and our hurricane list is an adaptation of theirs.


  1. Hi Kyra, I don't know if you remember me, but we were in the Sea of Cortez and BLA with you guys in 2012. Glad you weathered the storm ok! I just wanted to let you know that yesterday in Playa Santispac in Bahia C.oncepcion, Baja, they had 72 kt winds. There are 10-12 boats there, and many drug anchor. Crazy weather.
    I enjoy reading your blog!

    SV Harmony
    safely tucked away in La Cruz on mainland Mexico

    1. No way! 72 knots? Yikes, I'm glad we weren't there! Our storm didn't end up being as severe as they predicted (the storm's path veered west instead of hitting us directly), thank goodness. And of course I remember you! Did you spend the summer of 2013 up in the Sea as well? We loved it up there (well, not the chubascos), good times though. Enjoy a quesadilla at La Silla Rojo in La Cruz for us! Cheers, Kyra

  2. Glad you made it through safely.
    Allan & Sarah

  3. I'm glad to hear you didn't have any problems, and you only had to get a taste of the real thing. I'm sure in those times sailors wish they were on land hunkered down.




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