View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Came and went

I mentioned in my previous post that the cruiseliner Delphin was approaching Stornoway from the south, closely hugging the Lochs coast. About an hour ago, it hove into view from my position but then it made a graceful turn from a northwesterly to a northeasterly course and went on its way again.

ShipAIS shows a vessel's destination, which was marked as Stornoway until about 12.30pm; now, with the Delphin moving away into the Minch again, it is due into Invergordon at 6 am tomorrow morning.

I can understand why the ship chose to abandon its date with Stornoway. The southerly wind, blowing at a steady force 6 with higher gusts, has already whipped up the sea to choppy state (clearly visible in above pic), making transfer by tender a hazardous undertaking. The Delphin has a draught of 6.3 metres (21 feet), which is only 1 metre / 3 feet below the maximum draught that Stornoway harbour can take.

I hope the passengers on the Delphin have a comfortable crossing to Invergordon today, and that they will one day return on a better day to see what the Isle of Lewis has to offer.

Saturday 15 August

Quite poor weather for a day in the middle of August, with heavy squalls lashing the island, with only intermittent flashes of sunlight. The Northern Lighthouse Board's inspection vessel Pharos is currently leaving port, and although she is only just past the Coastguard Station I can barely see it. On the way in is the cruiseliner Delphin, probably doubling as a vomit comet this morning. It was due in at 11 am, but the adverse weather conditions will probably delay its arrival until 1 pm. Its position on AIS is currently off Loch Erisort, 15 miles south of here. The wind? South southwest, force 6, with gusts to 40 mph, galeforce.

Did I hear anyone mention the word umbrella? I remember the city gent, some years ago, who came here on a day like today. Rain pouring down, but the force of the wind was lost on him. Although we suggested he take a taxi to go to his meeting (10 minutes' walk up the road), he insisted on going on foot, with an umbrella. On leaving the house, the force 8 gale gleefully took hold of his brolly, and he nearly took off with it. He sheepishly returned indoors, having changed his mind on the subject of taxis.

Hurricane update - 15 August

Tropical storm Ana has formed in the Atlantic Ocean, 1,000 miles east of the Leeward Islands. This system will move west at a speed of 16 mph, and will gradually gain strength. Its course will veer from due west (at present) to west northwest, taking it past Puerto Rico, Hispaniola and the Bahamas towards Florida. The latter section of the forecast track is full of uncertainty, and close monitoring of the NHC output (every 6 hours) is required if you are at all concerned.

The Pacific currently shows two cyclones, a weak tropical depression called Maka, which has drifted across from the Central Pacific - it formed southwest of Hawaii 4 days ago. The second system is category III hurricane Guillermo, which is located 1,450 miles west of Baja California and is heading west northwest, towards the sea area north of Hawaii.