Sunday, May 23, 2010

Squall Watch

   15* 46.5' South
143* 11.0' West
May 23, 2010


My watch last night was fascinating! As it got dark, we ran into three big squall lines. The first one, Brad helped me batten down the hatches and pull up all the cushions in the cockpit. He also went over how to set a bearing on our radar before he headed for bed.

Squall on the radar

WPC 011

The first big squall passed almost completely in front of us. Right before my eyes (on the radar screen) that part of the squall that was headed our way, broke up and disappeared from radar. (I called Jamie on the VHF just to make sure that my analysis was correct and he said they saw a lot of this kind of activity in the ITCZ - our time in the ITCZ was short and I was not feeling well enough to be examining the weather in depth!) With the moonlight, the actually clouds were still visible, but I thought we were clear and started putting the cockpit back together, when we got a couple of minutes of rain right along the edge. Luckily, I hadn't gotten very far in my resetting everything. The stars came back out and I opened all the hatches only to spot another squall forming to the east of us. This particular bunch of clouds and rain, looked like it was going to pass behind us which it did. It also weakened as it passed behind, but then broke into two cells once on the other side of us and they each began to grow. Then, a humongous squall began to show up on the radar. It was getting close to watch change so I started getting the cockpit stowed away for Brad after I set the bearing on the radar. This particular bunch of clouds was again heading in front of us, but more and more kept appearing on the edge of the radar. When I went off watch, the main cell along the leading edge had passed in front of us and had started to dissipate, but some of the parts of it that followed were actually gaining intensity. There must have been more activity while I was asleep, because Brad said that he and Bryce had gotten a little wet. The clouds are much higher and thinner as daybreaks. I must say that it is really nice to be able to feel better than I did on the big crossing and take more notice of the phenomena and surroundings out here!

Totem at Sunrise


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