FIRST DAY OF HURRICANE SEASON
Today is the first day of the northern hemisphere hurricane season, and for the first time in a long time, I am sailing my boat in hurricane season.
Sailing in hurricane season isn’t something I have done since I lived in Puerto Rico more than 40 years ago. That’s a fairly good indication of how much I respect hurricanes, and that I will move heaven an earth to avoid them.
When we cruised in the South Pacific, we sailed to New Zealand or Australia when cyclone season started. That’s how we ended up sailing twice to New Zealand and twice to Australia. When cyclone season starts, we always left the South Pacific so that hurricanes were not a problem.
When I lived for 5 years in Puerto Rico, we did hurricane drills at least ten times a year. It didn’t matter whether a tropical depression or a hurricane was bearing down on us, it required the same preparations.
Remove the sails, clear the decks, remove the awnings and bimini. Get out the storm anchors and set them at a 45 degree angle to the southeast, splitting the difference in the direction of greatest fetch. In Puerto Rico, that’s where I developed the storm anchoring principle that states, “He who anchors last anchors best.”
In the Caribbean, the tropical waves, tropical depressions, and hurricanes were easy to follow as they came across the Atlantic from the Cape Verde Islands. They had a regular pattern and there was little mystery about what was going to happen. The tropical waves were like soldiers marching across the Atlantic preparing for their assault on the Caribbean.
Things are different in the Sea of Cortez.
There is no orderly marching of soldiers in the monsoon trough. Instead the monsoon trough is a like disorderly collection of militias and mercenaries without a purpose or plan. You don’t know if these bad actors will make an assault of the Sea of Cortez, march off toward Hawaii, or die an ignominious death at sea.
Every day I examine the monsoon trough with satellite photos and weather maps, and I decide what these irregulars are going to do. Will they get organized and become a significant threat, or will they self-destruct in nowhere land.
The Sea of Cortez has a geography and a microclimate that protects it from the worst actors.
Hurricanes need hot sea water to support their evil agenda, and the Baja California peninsula makes it hard for a hurricane to strengthen and endure. The Baja land mass sucks energy from hurricanes, and the Sea of Cortez is so narrow that a hurricane doesn’t have enough hot water to keep the the storm churning and burning. Usually the storm blows itself out in the lower half of the Sea. Most hurricanes quickly downgrade to tropical depression dumping massive amounts of rain when they get into the northern half of the Sea.
That’s not to say you are safe or can’t get hurt in the northern Sea of Cortez, but the odds are massively in your favor if you set storm anchors in a hurricane hole, or if you haul your boat out of the water.
I lived in Phoenix, Arizona for ten years, and every year we watched one or two hurricanes hit Baja California. The pattern was always the same. Significant wind storms in the southern Sea of Cortez and massive rainstorms in the northern Sea. These same storms dumped rain on Phoenix in what we called monsoon season.
When it comes to hurricanes, I am not an optimist - I am a realist. Insurance companies are also realists, and they have a good handle on risk management with hurricanes.
Insurance companies have actuaries that calculate the risk of losing money in a hurricane in different locations around the world.
Insurance companies will not give you named storm coverage below latitude 27 degrees north latitude in the Sea of Cortez, and they are happy to give you full coverage above that latitude.
At the present time, Exit Only is at 26 degrees 6 minutes north latitude, and in this location I have no named storm coverage. But if I travel 54 miles north, I instantly have named storm coverage.
Sailing north for twelve hours gives us storm coverage, and sailing 200 miles north gets me to a hurricane hole at Bahia Don Juan.
I don’t want to go through a hurricane without insurance as it could be the end of my sailing adventures.
So I am a man with a hurricane plan.
I will cruise the central Sea of Cortez and keep a sharp lookout for action down in the monsoon trough. If the troops in trough become restless and start marching toward the Sea of Cortez, I will sail north to activate my hurricane insurance, and if the troops come with a vengeance, I will put my anchor down in a hurricane hole in the northern sea.
That’s my plan, and I’m sticking to it.
A massive Covid 19 hurricane is assaulting the entire United States right now, and we are using the Sea of Cortez as our hurricane hole in this storm.
It’s ironic that Covid 19 chased us from the Galapagos to the Sea of Cortez which has become our safe port in a Covid 19 storm. We are safer here from Hurricane Covid 19 than I would be at home in Phoenix which is a Covid 19 hotspot.
Awesome music video that captures the essence of what it's like to sail offshore in a catamaran around the world when conditions are less than perfect. David Abbott from Too Many Drummers sings the vocals, and he also edited the footage from our Red Sea adventures. This is the theme song from the Red Sea Chronicles.
Sailing up the Red Sea is not for the faint of heart. From the Bab al Mandeb to the Suez Canal, adventures and adversity are in abundance. If you take things too seriously, you just might get the Red Sea Blues.
If you like drum beats, and you like adventure, then have a listen to the Red Sea Chronicles Trailer.
Flying fish assault Exit Only in the middle of the night as we sail through the Arabian Gulf from the Maldives to Oman. And so begins our Red Sea adventures.
Sailing through Pirate Alley between Yemen and Somalia involves calculated risk. It may not be Russian Roulette, but it is a bit of a worry. Follow Team Maxing Out as they navigate through Pirate Alley.
Stopping in Yemen was just what the doctor ordered. We refueled, repaired our alternator, and we made friends with our gracious Yemeni hosts. We also went to Baskins Robbins as a reward for surviving Pirate Alley.
After you survive Pirate Alley, you must sail through the Gate of Sorrows (Bab Al Mandab) at the southern entrance to the Red Sea. The Gate of Sorrows lived up to its name with fifty knots of wind and a sandstorm that pummeled Exit Only for two days. Life is good.
Captain Dave and his family spent eleven years sailing around the world on their Privilege 39 catamaran, Exit Only. During the trip, the crew shot 200 hours of video with professional cameras to show people what it's like to sail on a small boat around the world.
The Red Sea Chronicles is a one hour and twenty-two minute feature film showing their adventures as Exit Only sails through Pirate Alley in the Gulf of Aden and up the Red Sea. The professional footage documents their experiences in Oman, Yemen, Eritrea, Sudan, Egypt, and the Suez Canal. It chronicles the rigors of traveling in a remote section of the world rarely visited by cruisers. Exit Only dodges Yemeni pirates, fights a gale and sand storms in the Bab al Mandeb at the southern entrance to the Red Sea. The crew explores deserted islands on the western shores of the Red Sea, and learns to check the cruising guides for land mines before venturing ashore.
The Red Sea Chronicles also has outstanding Special Features including an Instructional Video on Storm Management that tells sailors how to deal with storms at sea.
The Red Sea Chronicles is a first class adventure that stokes the sailing dreams of both experienced and wannabe sailors alike.
Join Team Maxingout as they sail through Pirate Alley and up the Red Sea
See what it's like to cruise on a catamaran before you spend a bazillion dollars purchasing one
After watching the Red Sea Chronicles you will be able to see yourself sailing on the ocean of your dreams
Although I like the feel of a paper book in my hand, I love trees even more. When people purchase an eBook, they actually save trees and save money as well. Ebooks are less expensive and have no negative impact on the environment. All of Dr. Dave's books are available at Save A Tree Bookstore. Visit the bookstore today and start putting good things into your mind. It's easy to fill your mind with positive things using eBooks. No matter where you are or what you are doing, you can pull out your smart phone or tablet and start reading. You can even use electronic highlighters and make annotations in your eBooks just like paper books.