There’s a saying that goes “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only different types of good weather.” That’s exactly the type of delusional optimistic thinking that any around the world sailing voyage will put a permanent end to. As we’ve probably said before, evaluating your actual situation as it really is, without optimistic or pessimistic bias, is one of the most essential skills needed for traversing the seas. Weather is the primary cause of unexpected trouble, and when combined with optimistic thinking you have a perfect recipe for disaster.
So we’ve been hopping around the infamous Whitsunday Islands in Australia’s Coral Coast wrestling with weather that can only possibly belong in one category: Bad. The timing is a little unfortunate because Mom and Pop, always looking for some more adventure, joined us about a week ago, and this time they might be getting even more than they bargained for. That’s because we’re in the direct path of tropical low which is forecast to become a cyclone later this evening. Being firm non-believers in the “all weather is good” approach to cyclone forecasting, we’ve been checking our GRIB files and the Australian Met office website several times daily since we left Bundaberg, so the cyclone’s likely arrival isn’t a surprise. We’ve hunkered down in a marina in Airlie Beach and are ready for whatever comes our way, within reason, over the next 36 hours.
We luckily had a few amazing days of island hopping while the low was still forming out over the Pacific somewhere, and we’ve found the Whitsundays to meet the high expectations we had coming in – the island group is small, but its reputation extends worldwide. Once the weather clears in a few days we’ll have time to finish our circuit before Mom and Dad leave – they won’t miss anything, other than some relaxation time on the anchor. In it’s place they get the excitement of living through a circular storm, and being the thrill seekers they are, it seems to us they’re perfectly happy about the situation.
Winds are now gusting above 50 knots for the first time, the highest we’ve ever experienced personally, but that record will certainly crumble between now and tomorrow night when the storm blows through. The boat is secured so firmly to the dock, that if the boat blows away, the dock will surely go with it. We’re waiting now to see how deeply the depression develops and if it will officially be declared a cyclone that will directly impact our area. If that happens, emergency procedures will be activated and we’ll be asked to leave the marina for higher ground…. Mom and Dad, we suspect, can hardly wait for that.