Posts Tagged ‘Green Monsters’


Sunday, January 2nd, 2011

We were ready. That’s what we had thought. This passage is to be one of the most difficult in the world. One circumnavigator said it was the worst passage they had had in their two entire cruises around the world.  Others report broken booms, torn sails, busted engine mounts, etc.  You can listen to all

Aruba in Protected Airport Anchorage

Aruba's Protected Airport Anchorage

the bad stories and eventually you’ll end up paralyzed with fear.  But we have a good boat for any weather and a crew that has time offshore. The boat by all accounts is ready. We received our Sailomat part in Aruba and installed it. We’ve been looking at the weather, downloading GRIB files 2 x’s / day,  downloading rain files, and looking at the satellite files of the area.  We thought we had one opportunity a few days ago but something made W/ and I not take that one.

I’ve put our track on the chart and walked through the wx each time we download a new GRIB.  Even when it’s blowing 30 kts a 100 miles out it may very well be blowing 20 kts where we’re at. For downwind sailing our boat loves 15 – 20 kts of wind. 25 isn’t all too bad and 30 isn’t much to our liking. Obviously with the more wind we have greater seas and that’s been often what other cruisers on this route talk about “Green Monsters”.

The water from the Rio Magdalena  exits on the N shore of Colombia  and turns the water green. Then with the wind and all the water piling up  against Central America you can end up with some big seas with short wave periods.  Popular literature calls these the “Green Monsters”.  Finally with the GRIBS showing us as having a good trip we planned on pulling the anchor and leaving today. I was getting concerned that we could actually get stuck in Aruba!

We missed our great opportunity of a weather window because we had to wait for our Wind Vane part that had been stuck in US Customs for 20 days!  November – early December the trades are to lighten up a bit. After that the Trade Winds are there and they’re called the “Christmas Winds”.  Trades of 30-35 kts. The Bermuda High slips S in the Winter time and squishes the normal trades between the High and the Coast of S. America narrowing the gap the trades go through. Like putting your finger on the end of a hose to increase the speed of water past your thumb, the Trade Winds now squirt through the smaller opening at a faster speed.

But the GRIB’s show the wind we want for the duration of the trip. However;  Ma Nature doesn’t read the GRIBs and with all of the meteorologists  knowledge we know that forecasting is relatively accurate for 24 hours, a little accurate for 48 and pretty hazy at 72 hours and beyond. Lets hope that the 3 days goes in our favor.

I hitched a ride to Customs and Immigration with Gary on KaijasSong. A little wet but we made it and the clearance for Cartagena, Colombia was painless. Thankfully.  While I was at the office’s  doing paper work W/ was in the boat making sure things were stowed, and the boat is ready for the sea.  When I return we’ll put the Dyer Dinghy up wait till our time and then haul up the anchor. We were looking to get under way about 1500. This would give us plenty of time to clear the island and be well at sea before the dark of day. There was no moon out on this trip.