And then there is Wx. Weather conditions in the central Pacific have been dreadful. We have already had 11 named storms. Two hurricanes hit or come very close to the Hawaiian islands so far. And there are two additional suspects out there that may threaten the Islands again. The first is an area of low pressure about 1100 miles ESE of Hilo, the second is Tropical Storm Karina heading west from Mexico and there is a new storm brewing up east of Katrina that the Weather Service says is huge. It looks like this one will stay off Mexico rather then head out west.
This will not impact us too much. We may have to stay in the Marquesas Islands a bit longer to be sure the Hurricane season is over before heading up to Hawaii. Tough duty hanging out a few extra weeks in Paradise.
And then there is el Niño. This could be a pain. El Nino's weaken the SE trades and can sometimes cause them to reverse and become Westerly's for a time. It also becomes stormy; thunder lightening and squally winds. Just like here in Panama.
There seems to be a consensus emerging that if the el Nino occurs it will be nowhere near as strong as originally thought. One speculation is that the warm water that was making it's way eastward toward South America has begun emerging along the North American coast instead.
|Variance of the Sea Surface Temperature from|
So overall the wx picture looks better now then it did a few months ago.
One thing has stayed consistent however, there is no wind here in the summer. Panama is tucked out of the wind behind the northwestern shoulder of South America. South winds coming up the west coast of South America spread out as land falls away to the east, and loose speed. There are few times during the rainy season that winds reach higher then ten knots. A rule of thumb is that it is necessary to get to 3N before the sailor finds decent winds. We are at 9N so we are facing the prospect of a long motor unless we catch a break.