|The twilight zone- desert dust fills the air|
The morning started off reasonable with a fresh NE beaufort 5. By 11:00 the wind had freshened to a near gale (force 7) and by 13:00 wind speeds were a sustained 40+ knots, (severe gale Beaufort 9) gusting to 50 knots on occasion. The sea built slowly but surely with wave heights of 6+ metres throwing us about by the late afternoon. Fortunately we got the more sensitive equipment onboard before lunchtime and then commenced our run east at 4 knots to get away (hopefully) from the dangerous storm centre. A strange eery pinkish/orange light filled the afternoon sky as dust and sand from the Sahara desert was lifted and blown our way. By 15:00 we were in a weird and wonderful twilight zone. With forty five knot winds my effort at taking photos was a joke but I did manage to catch a gannet - probably a 2nd calendar year bird, go rocketing down wind! A Cory's did a really close pass too, but I just couldn't get a shot from the rolling ship and buffeting wind. I got a call from the bosun at 16:30 saying that a very nice bird was resting on the starboard paravane door so I grabbed my camera and went for a look. By this time the sand filled sky made for appalling light conditions but I did manage a shot or two of a very wind-swept kestrel.
The blow has kept up all evening so we will not be getting much sleep tonight. The wind should moderate in the small hours and then get even worse tomorrow afternoon before the real serious blow that is due our way on sunday. Of course the forecast may be wrong!
I almost forgot that I also took a long-range shot of our tanker/support vessel getting roughed up by the sea this morning- before things got too crazy! It's a poor quality photo. but it gives the overall impression of what the sea conditions were like and what a F8 gale can do to a moderate sized vessel!
|Sanco Sky in F7/F8 gale|