Tropical Cyclone Threatens Darwin

I know it’s been a long time since you’ve heard from me!  But now our thoughts are turning toward this year’s adventures and crossing the Indian Ocean.  For the past few months I’ve been busy sticking to the sailor’s code and bit by bit emptying my wallet while buying a few things for the voyaging.  Some things need replacing, such as the 1st reef clew line, and the lazy bag lines.  I’ve got the new climbing ascenders which will make going up the mast faster for me and easier on my long suffering first mate.  The cabin sconce lights, made of plastic, have begun to crumble, and even reinforcing them with epoxy glue hasn’t worked as well as I had hoped.  So they are being replaced by lovely glass and aluminum units which have built-in LED arrays.

And of course we’ve not forgotten the important stuff such as replacing the no-longer-squawking Pistol the pirate parrot, so he can continue to insult our guests.  And speaking of additions to the crew Prince Diamond is proud to announce the addition of experienced sailor Matt Ray to our ship.  Matt comes highly recommended by other sailing boats and should make our passage intensive season much easier to handle.  The distances between islands in the Indian Ocean are vast.  This year we will make our longest passage to date, estimated to be something on the order of 24 days in going from the Cocos Keeling Islands to Rodrigues.  The present 4 hours on, 4 hours off is doable but wearing.  The 4 on, 8 off with 3 crew members is much less taxing.  Pistol doesn’t pull his weight.  On Prince Diamond‘s YouTube channel we’ll certainly be giving a new feel to the content by showing more of the day to day life on board, and what it is like to make extended ocean crossings.

Matt Ray

While we make final preparations here in Toronto for return to the tropics, Prince Diamond has been watching the sky which is turning ominous.  So far this cyclone season we’ve been lucky.  But now the Arafura Sea, slowly broiling away under the sun has begun to pump life into a low pressure system roughly midway between East Timor and Darwin and will begin to build this low into a cyclone in a day or 2, just as it starts to slide to the south-west very near to Darwin.  We hope for the best.

Fortunately, Darwin is so close to the cyclone nursery in this area that often the storms are not powerful enough to cause major damage before they move away.  But Darwin has been devastated in the past.  One just never knows for sure.  And the season won’t be over for another month and a half.  With the ocean still heating up we’re bound to have more births in the nursery before May.

Update March 16 1600 hrs EST:  Cyclone Marcus is it has been named, will shift more to the south and pass directly over Prince Diamond in a few hours!  However, it has not had time to progress beyond category 1 and so the boat should not see winds over 30 knots.

Update March 20: Cyclone Marcus did indeed pass directly over Darwin as a Category 2 storm, but was only responsible for upending trees, knocking down power lines and in the marina shredding sails on the few boats which had not removed them.  At the moment Marcus tracks west across the Indian Ocean and prepares to turn south as a severe Category 4 cyclone.  Here is a short video of Bayview Marina as the height of the cyclone courtesy of ABC News.  Prince Diamond is out of view to the left.

A second cyclone is beginning to form to the north-east of Darwin, however all models show it tracking toward Darwin and then turning south-east into the Gulf of Carpentaria.  That is a good thing as if it continued toward Darwin it would be frighteningly powerful by the time it arrived.

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