wind force 10

12. October 2008, Sunday
36° 9' 45" N, 5° 22' 7" W

Oh yes, we knew we were going to have plenty of easterly winds to make the 48 hour non-stop trip from Garrucha to Gibraltar. But no one has predicted anything of severe gales of wind force 10 for the entire route.
With wind force 3-4, 20 degrees and rain, the anchor was up, because midsummer isn't nicer in the North Sea either!
The wind built up to 50 knots, waves higher than we have ever experienced in the Mediterranean were at right angles to the wind.
Sleeping was impossible, because even lying down, you were busy trying to hold on to something.
In the night, like freight trains, the waves thundered from behind, lifted Odin up, some spat at us and then ran under the ship.
A harbor where we could find shelter would be too dangerous to approach in this weather, because there was simply too much wind and too many waves. Do what you have to do!
When Odin was on the crest of a wave and surfing down the valley, the GPS sometimes showed a speed of more than 16 knots(!), but I can tell you, it gets pretty queasy when the whole hull trembles from the water pressure.
After thirty hours we arrived in the hazy twilight in front of Gibraltar and a new dance began.
A real Wallpurgis night, a cauldron of witches, lay ahead of us!
Here, of all places, the wind came from the west and in the strait the different current and wind conditions had created such a confusing sea that one could get scared and anxious.
In this washing machine we suddenly see a red flare, which means that someone is in distress. Another sailing ship?
What we see leaves us speechless: A huge freighter struggles with the elements. Sea rescue ships everywhere and the distressed vessel tries to hold on to both anchors, but fails because the wind is too strong and pushes the ship onto the rocks of Gibralta.
According to the current nautical chart, there are already 33 wrecks under water in this corner.
We don't know what became of the distressed vessel as we were busy enough with ourselves.
In the meantime tornadoes swept over us, ripped our Digi loose and pushed Odin, only in front of the top and tackle (=without sails), like a dinghy to the side.
In the meantime, it was pitch black, visibility was terrible and we almost rammed an unlit buoy. Nevertheless, thanks to the electronic navigation system, we found our anchorage.
Here, too, there were waves of up to two meters and a wind of 40 knots.
It took forever for our anchor to finally hold. Sleeping was also unthinkable that night, because it was a yacht rodeo, bulls and wild mustangs riding in one.
Our floating home bucked like a raging bull, while the anchor and chain made noises that hurt your soul.
In daylight it was time to anchor and look for a new anchorage.
We hardly believed what we saw now.
The storm simply bent our 30-kilo bracket anchor, solid steel, bent like a toy. Such a crap!
But tomorrow the world will look different again!
Before I forget: it's foggy and it's raining too. Welcome to Gibraltar!