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Monday, October 1, 2012

Tropical Storm Nadine 20 to 21 Sept 2012

As stated in the previous Blog, we left Velas on Sao Jorge earlier than planned due to the expected arrival of Hurricane Nadine. We considered that Horta on Faial would be a safer harbour in such a storm.
On the 15the Spetember, this was NOAA's prediction, with Nadine heading straight for Faial and the other Azores Islands in
 Initially, the predicted swell direction was from the SW, very good direction for Horta Marina as it would be protected by the Monte da Guia . Unfortunately, at the height of the storm, the swell was predicted to come from the NE, the worst direction for Horta.
On 18 September had a stroll to the south facing Porto Pim Bay close to Monte da Guia and indeed big swells from Nadine were rolling in
Please click on arrow to play video clip of the SW swells breaking in the normally tranquill Porto Pim Bay  - unfortunately will not work on Ipads

 Nadine was expected to hit us on the night of 20 September. Everyone in the marina was on the internet checking the Grib File, Passage Weather, NOAA Hurricane Prediction and other websites every couple of hours to get te latest forecasts. More and more mooring ropes were being added to their boats and anchors laid as an added precaution. Dutch Link was no exception.
The Horta Marina staff were very conscientious and helpful, checking boats 24 hours a day and attaching their own extra lines to boats they thought would need them plus laying anchors for boats if required - very commendable.
 Ropes were secured around the substantial pillars which kept the pontoons in place - just in case the pontoons broke free
We were lucky to have pillars to attach to - two at the front and two at the stern
 The pillars on starboard at our Stern and Bow were particularly reassuring as they would keep us off the pontoon finger in the predicted NEerlies and prevent our fenders from bursting.

 Finally the night of 20th September arrived - the latest predictions luckily showed that Nadine had been downgraded to a Tropical Storm and that we could expect 45 plus knots from the NE and the swell would be around 4 meters from the NE, the worst direction for Horta
 Grib Files for 00300 hours 21 September
 The night of 20/21 September was a tense night on Dutch Link, and all the other boats in the marina. The wind was above 40 knots most of the night with gusts up to 50 knots.
We tried to sleep but with the swell working its way into our part of the marina, the boat was rolling and lurching all night. Also we were rather concerned that the waves would break over the low marina wall at High Water in the early hours of the morning.
So we gave up and played Rummycube all night instead!
 The next morning looking NE from our marina wall

Please click on arrow to play video clip of the marina the morning after the storm had passed - unfortunately will not work on Ipads 
 The chartlets below show the problem with a NE swell

Looking North to the main part of the marina, tucked behind the large harbour wall - much quieter in a NEerly swell
After hitting us, Nadine went south and later eastwards towards Madeira where it weakened. However, a few days later it turned back west and strengthened yet again into a Hurricane. The latest NOAA prediction as of 1 October is for it to once more head north and hit the Azores for a second time - three hurricanes in one year is a bit much for the Azores when the previous one was in 2006.

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