Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Day Nine - The Giant Whirlpool at 12N116W

Last night, we ran into a hundred mile wide whirlpool with arms extending out 300 miles.
I knew something was up when the waves were getting all peaked up as I described in the prior post.
Then we started to lose speed on the GPS even though the speed through the water was normal.
Then the winds picked up to around 20 kts and the seas built like we haven't seen since the Atlantic.
We were getting bounced all over the place, wave slapped, and going nowhere.
What happened was that we ran into the north flow from a giant clockwise rotating current.

When the winds, which were from the north, oppose the current, it pushes the waves together and they get high, steep, and closely spaced. This is what happens to the Gulfstream in the Florida Straights with a north wind. Nobody goes out there.

I tried to download the ocean current chart prior to leaving Mexico but didn't get the attachment. Too busy to investigate. However, I now needing this information badly. I checked emails and found out the error was "Filesize too Large".
So I trimmed it down and resent it. It was still a big file but it came through.

We had several options. Continue Southwest, Go West, or Go South.
After plotting, setting sail, trying headings and speeds, and doing calculations, None of the options were going to be pleasant.

After getting beaten up trying Plan C, at 1AM, we put up all sails, started the engines, and headed East. Directly into the middle of this giant whirlpool. Our angle to the wind was better than expected and we came out the bottom of it around 9 AM.

Except for costing us some diesel, sleep, and geting smacked around alot we are no worse for the wear and glad we're not 100 miles further to the west. Will post the file when we get internet.
Cheers, Dave & Booker

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1 comment:

  1. That's wild and crazy whirlpool. When I had my corryvreckan whirlpool adventure, it sure was really thrilling but with that massive whirlpool swallowing the yacht, that's way bigger! Great that you made it. Must be a great adventure for you.