Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Cuban Cruising - Sunsets & Thunderstorms

Cayo Largo Marina Sunset

Thunderstorm Formation
From the marina at Cayo Largo these thunderheads do look lovely. We were two days out from Cienfuegos and spent a couple of days in the small marina at Cayo Largo, before moving on westward again.

Our plans to explore the reefs and cayos changed rapidly when strong winds were forecast, so we changed tactics and course, heading instead to Havana after rounding Cape San Antonio at the extreme western tip of Cuba.

Around the cape, now heading north east, next afternoon the weather became decidedly dodgy, with thunderstorms forming right in front of us. These are things we like to avoid, as the accelerated winds and lightning they contain can be quite dangerous.

One in particular gave us grief for many hours - first came the the incredible cloud formation, followed by heavy rain nearby. We altered course, further offshore, monitoring the storm's movement on our radar as we traveled.

Then a fantastic waterspout formed, snaking across the ocean surface and sucking water furiously up into the clouds.
Waterspout On Starboard - We Last Saw One Of These In The South China Sea

This was not something we wanted over the top of us, so the radar tracking took on extra importance. Below is the basic radar image of the storm - note that the green rings on screen are each set 2 nautical miles apart, so the storm on our starboard side is only a mile or so away - that water spout was close.

Often we want a more informed view on screen, specially at night, so the radar image can be over-layed onto the electronic chart display, giving us a more detailed view of the navigation environment. In the image below the radar information is displaying in pink, whilst the vessel, it's track, course and heading can be seen on screen. These display systems are now common on many cruising boats - we all benefit from the improved safety information and situation awareness. And it helps to keep those nasty waterspouts away.

1 comment:

  1. Couldn’t agree more with you about radar and overlaying- very useful although I remember a couple of storms which appeared to be following us - every change of course was mirrored! That’s when it gets personal ��!
    Loving your blog


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