Do We Stay or Do We Go?

The distance between Hong Kong and Subic Bay is approximately 620 nautical miles. As you can see at Google maps, no small distance.

However, at a traveling speed of 8 knots per hour, the Laysan can make the passage in about 77 hours i.e. 3 days. The challenge is to find a weather window that will allow a relatively calm passage for that 3 day period.

Much consultation is ongoing to determine whether that weather window may be opening up on February 1. Opinions include,

“Looks like there may be an opening to begin the transit starting late on Feb 1st. A high pressure cell moves off China. When the center of the high reaches Japan, then the pressure gradient over South China Sea may weaken to Eerly 10-15kts range, seas 1-2 meters.”

“Sending Feb 4th prediction JIC. Looking good, finally!   2.5 M waves in middle and 3 to 10 MPH winds. Not sure how long this will last, but if future predictions are this good leaving on the afternoon of the 2rd will work.”

To follow along on how this decision is being made, check out
http://www.passageweather.com/ . To see wind and wave conditions for the upcoming week, first click on the Indian Ocean portion of the map. Next, click on the South China Sea portion of the map. The top map for wind can be animated to show the upcoming week. Similarly, the bottom map for wave height can also be animated. And that’s it. You too can engage in the question, do we stay or do we go?

1/28/11 Update from John

As the list gets shorter, the weather gets better, an alignment of planets may be occurring. Electronics whiz kid, Ray, came by to route cables for the HF radio, tested the VHF radio, and generally demonstrated our Raymarine chart-plotters in their various scenarios of system integration. I moved the smaller chart-plotter, E90, down from the flybridge to the pilothouse to act as a second display for the radar and allow the larger E120 to show a larger map only. A new Navionics data chip for Hong Kong and China to Korea and the Philippines was inserted and now we have detailed depth and navigational info for the crossing. Now we have entered various day trips into the plotter and we have tentatively entered the route to Subic Bay.

Forecasts for Feb 2 are the beginning of a trend downward, so if this trend continues, a window may be opening for a departure soon. This of course has immense impacts on our previous plans and everyone else involved with our lives. The reality of having a day job can definitely crimp a boating lifestyle. A dual existence certainly is fraught with denial, but only for so long before reality crashes in.

Went to Harrods of Sai Kung today with its deceptively small opening and an absolute warren of narrow aisles, stairways, dead-ends and finally tumbled out with again, more gear than I could carry until I collapsed on the minibus 101. When I got off the bus, I had to back out the door with shopping bags of rope, dinghy anchor, transmission fluid, tea towels, etc. Hey, at $4 hkd it was cheaper than a taxi at $14 hkd, which would be $2usd. Ok, I should have taken a taxi.

The 300 feet of anchor chain lays flaked on the dock properly marked at 25’ intervals and ready to be stowed and deployed on our outing tomorrow. Fuel is the first order of business and then a cruise of Hong Kong. This will be interesting.

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