Saturday, January 19, 2013

Running from the storm

January 19, 2013 13:20 UTC (2:20AM local)
Sailing Vessel LightSpeed
Call sign: WDF2150
Position: 13-30.92S 169-45.15W
CRS: 052T @ 7.4 kts
Underway Am Samoa toward Penrhyn, Cook Islands

It's peak cyclone season here in the South Pacific. The NOAA GFS model has been indicating the likely development of a cyclone that looks set to hit on American Samoa in the next few day. Not liking the odds of riding out a storm in American Samoa's Pago Pago harbor we decided to sail North toward the upper edge of the cyclone belt.

American Samoa is located at 14 degrees South and we're hoping to move up to Penrhyn Atoll in the Northern Cook Islands located near 8 South. To dodge the storm it will take nearly 900 nm of sailing. During cyclone season, nothing is a sure bet, and while Penrhyn has been hit by a few cyclones in the past 40 years it's much less likely to take a hit than Samoa which seems to be in the cross hairs again only a month or so after Cyclone Evan. We've been hustling this last week to make preparations for the voyage.

Aside from the 5 offices that required visits to officially check out of American Samoa, we had to fuel the boat, do laundry, buy provisions, check the weather 3 times a day, install the sails and rig the boat for sea, change the engines oils and filters, bake a cake, organize a going away party for us and a birthday party for our friend Shane and generally do lots of running around town that required many taxi rides across the island, lots of shopping lists and innumerable bus rides to and fro. It feels good to be underway and as I write we're about 10 hours into the voyage and 75 nautical miles to the NE of American Samoa. It's a little scary to be at sea when a cyclone is developing a few hundred miles to the West of us, but we'll continue to carefully monitor the developing likely track and if necessary sail further North to keep clear of it's path of destruction.

That's it for now.

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