WSW – Winter, Summer, Winter
I’m going to start this blog post with a blog post I wrote on this very site on March 28th, 2013, almost five years ago. It just so happens I also included it in my new book ‘A Foolish Odyssey’. AVAILABLE HERE
Here it is.
Jet Stream Blues
According to the meteorologists, it’s all down to the Jet stream. It spent last Summer further South than it should have, and as a result, we had one of the coldest and wettest Winters on record. It seems it liked it down South as it’s decided to move out of its usual Northern residence and return there. So now we’re getting cold air from the North East instead of warm air from the South East. Net result, we are locked into freezing temperatures. Drifting snow that fell five days ago is still lying on the ground. There’s a slight thaw during the day as temperatures go 1 or 2 degrees above, and then it all freezes again. This time last year we’d had weeks of warm sunshine, now they are saying this cold could last well into April. The doom-mongers are pointing to this jet stream relocation as proof of climate change. All I know is that we’re getting a stark illustration of what the UK climate would be if this was to become the norm. It makes me all the more grateful to be building a means of escape. There’s no escaping the effect it’s had on the build, I’m well behind where I planned to be. I’ll keep pushing as best I can and see where we are in a few weeks, but right now it looks as if I’ll have to make some changes to the plan.
For the UK it was confirmed as being the coldest March since 1962. March was also the coldest month of the ‘extended winter’, the first time this had happened since 1975. There was still lying snow on the ground on the 1st April.
So why do I reprint this blog post now?
Because it’s happening again.
As I write much of the UK and Northern Europe is blanketed in snow. Here in Murcia we’ve had yet more strong wind, rainfall above normal and temperatures below normal.
Yesterday it was storm Giselle. We’ve already seen Emma and Felix. Now there’s talk of Hugo.
And it’s all because the Jet Stream is stuck down south again.
Just like five years ago it looks as if things aren’t going to change anytime soon. I was in the Ascar boatyard the other day to help a friend move their boat back into Yacht Port. As is usual in Spain work progressed at a leisurely pace, and I ended up standing around longer than anticipated. About an hour in I realised I’d underdressed. Windchill and rain left me shivering. I was less than impressed.
Speaking of the boatyard, ‘Gleda’ is scheduled to be hauled out on Tuesday at noon. I’m not stressed, just a little anxious.
Strong northerly winds are forecast, ‘Gleda’ is in a tight berth, she’s never been raised with a travel lift before. There’s a list of jobs to do, then we’ve got to get back in the water. It’ll all be fine I’m sure, but the grey matter does like to worry.
All in all, I’ll be far happier when the Jet Stream moves back home, the weather improves, and ‘Gleda’ is ship-shape again.
That day was brought a little closer earlier in the week with the arrival of a parcel from Imray.
I’d purchased three more charts and a Mediterranean Almanac to complete this seasons navigation library.
Yes, I do have these charts on two different electronic plotters, but I still like to have paper versions aboard as well. I prefer seeing the big picture laid out on the table. I enjoy plotting positions and courses in pencil. It just feels right.
Aside from all that, there’s something romantic and exciting about paper charts.
Look at those names. Tell me you don’t get a little buzz just reading them.
I’ll finish with some news.
Given the length of time we’ve spent in Yacht Port Cartagena, Gail and I can, in truth, no longer be called sea-gypsies.
I guess if all goes well, 5 or 6 months of Western Med wandering might go some way to restoring the title, but there’s no avoiding the fact that we both like to have somewhere to call ‘home’, for the winter at least.
So, after much research and discussion, we can now tell you where we will be spending winter 2018/2019.
And the winner is ………………….
Yacht Port Cartagena!
OK, maybe not a huge shock eh? If you’re interested to know how we arrived at the decision let me know. Actually, I’ll probably tell you anyway another time.
Any which way we’re both very happy with our choice. We’ve been out here long enough now to know that we’ll enjoy our summer far more knowing where we’ll be heading in the autumn.
See you next time with a big haul-out blog post.
Wish us luck!