As we prepare to turn in Wednesday night, the National Hurricane Center in Miami has given us some unwelcome news. Bad weather is probably headed our way. I used the word “probably” because they predict the above red cone as being 70% likely. We’ve been watching this for a few days now, and the likelihood has only gone up.
A lot has to happen for a tropical depression to form in the first place. Basically, a group of thunderstorms have to come together and “organize” into one large system. This is bad in and of itself, but when it develops any rotation, things will get much worse. In the North Atlantic, these systems always spin counterclockwise. Once its winds reach sustained speeds of 35-64 knots, it gets upgraded to a tropical storm, and it is given a name.
All of this is where things might be headed out in The Atlantic right now, and as you can see from the graphic, it is predicted to make its way straight for where we are. It’s early in hurricane season for a storm like this to develop this far south. If this becomes the next named storm, it will be named Chantal.
Which is why we are weighing anchor and high-tailing it south at first light. We are going south for a few reasons. One is that most tropical storms and hurricanes start off the coast of Africa around the equator and bend north as they traverse the Atlantic. Another reason is that things are significantly more dangerous on the north side of a rotating Atlantic storm than they are on the south side. And the other big reason is that our insurance requires us to be south by August 18. The only significant complication is that we are almost out of fuel right now. We’re going to sail 20 miles south to Basse-Terre, Guadeloupe (the nearest fuel dock) on Thursday morning and cross our fingers that there is not a run on diesel (think bread and milk before snow days in the south). But even if we are not able to get fuel there, we expect be able to move the boat well out of harm’s way using only sail power within the predicted time window.
So, say a prayer for us, and we’ll check in as soon as we are able.