Crossing the convergence zone

The sun rose large on the horizon off the port bow reflecting off the rolling swell.  My hands and feet, for the first time in 24 hours, had become warm and our dawn watch enjoyed the sunlight as we gently rolled from side to side in a light breeze.  I bit my nails and they tasted salty in fact I would hazard a guess and say if I bit anything on this boat it would unsurprisingly taste salty! No sooner had we enjoyed the sunrise and done a little work on deck pulling stuff that was salty and getting splashed by other salty things, I sat down to a cold porridge and just as I did the weather changed rather rapidly, all of a sudden the sky had become overcast. The sun was no longer visible and a mist limited the visibility.  We had, I am informed, crossed the convergence zone where the colder water from the south meets temperate waters in the north.  The water around us is now minus 2 Celsius and the water pushes up nutrients and we should hopefully see whales.  Fingers crossed.

We are just over half way to South Georgia and should be there in another 2 days.  Albatross constantly circle the boat as they glide hugging the contours of the waves in contrast to the storm petrels that fly rather like swallows dipping in and out of the water.  We have spotted many a dolphin which is always a pleasure to witness, an elephant seal and some sea lions. The species are just an estimate, if I am honest, the sea lions could have been fur seals or anything else with a dog like face doing breast stroke. Irregular sleep patterns have impaired my ability to identify things as I would do on land.  To give you a taste if you don’t know what it’s like. Sit in your kitchen in a michelin man suit, spill a bit of diesel on the floor, lightly salt yourself all over, turn the humidifier on and get someone to rock the room 30 degrees one way and then the other for a couple of days in an irregular fashion maybe hang up bananas and tea towels for extra swing effect.  This may sound horrible and that’s without the not washing or sleeping a solid 8 hours and stick 14 other people in the same place.  I completely forgot about this when thinking about the trip and to be honest I don’t really think about it now either, it’s just normal.  Also normal is random bursts of song, freshly baked cake every day, no cares and nick singing 9-5 as dancing as I write this, or people giving graphic descriptions of how they fell off the toilet and managed to wet themselves only to remark that they will change their smalls at a later date.  This strange behaviour can also be a distraction when identifying animals!

The mist is rolling in closer and the sea has turned a blue/grey as we roll on to South Georgia.  It does mean that the extra thick porridge came in especially useful this morning as it is staying in my bowl.


So a question for all the blog readers!  Whats the science behind the phrase “red sky in the morning, shepherds warning”?

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8 Responses to Crossing the convergence zone

  1. Jim Boyce says:

    Answer for Rich according to the BBC weather web site
    1. “Red sky at night, shepherd’s delight; red sky in the morning, shepherd’s warning”

    Deep red sunsets are often associated with dry, settled weather and high pressure. A deep red sunset may indicate a prolonged spell of good weather. But the key sign is in the red sky around the sun – and not the colour of the cloud itself.

    Red sky in the morning can be interpreted in a slightly different way. As the sun rises at a low angle in the east, it may light up the impending clouds associated with a weather front coming in from the west.

    It may also indicate that rain is on its way and due to arrive later in the day, hence the “shepherd’s warning”.

  2. Lawrie Allum says:

    Very descriptive blog Richy, I felt queasy just reading it but sounds a great adventure. Also sensing the beauty of the scene you vividly describe.

    Re the “red sky etc…” I just endorse Jim’s remarks above and of course whether it be morning or night the red sky is produced by the low angle of incidence of the sun’s rays through the earth’s atmosphere lengthening the wavelength into the red spectrum i.e. Doppler effect.

    Wishing you safe sailing and hope you’re soon out of the mist and back into the sunshine.

  3. Claire says:

    Great blog entry, bro! The dyslexic little brother I once had has become a poetic man – although, I have an image of you sitting on my kitchen floor wearing a Michelin man suit and not clearing up the tea bags, banana skins and diesel that you’d just spilled everywhere! As for the ‘red sky’ question, you’d think I’d be fully qualified after my degree in meteorology and oceanography but seeing as that was 10years ago, I’ll happily nod and agree BBC weather web site!! I can imagine why sea shanties were composed to the metronomic rock of the boat now…do you sing to the sway? We’re watching the winter olympics at the moment and Noah misheard me commentating on the mens’ ski jumping final. It took a while for it to sink in that you were still on a boat near ice and snow rather than skiing over the stuff! Not sure if you heard but GBR has our first ever gold medal on snow….tricky style (women’s slope style) – yeah!

  4. Hey Richy! Following your trip from this end and loving it! Sounds awesome! What an adventure! Enjoy every minute of it! Lots of love from G and Ro

  5. Richy says Hi! glad you liked the blog

  6. Anne-Marie Eames says:

    Great discription ,and lucky You having the chance to do it .It will be something to tell your future grandchildren .Good Luck and safe journey Best Wishes Anne-Marie and John

  7. Roger Leslie sMITH says:

    Hi Rich – so pleased to read your Adventure 2013 blog. There are so few real life heroes around these days and you and your fellow adventurers surely fall within the category of super heroes engaged on an epic quest. You may laugh at my comments but I am sure that the dangers which surely add to the excitement are something that you and your fellow sailors?/adventurers thrive on and I only wish that when I was young that I had embarked on a similar adventure.

    From an old super-hero to a young one I will impart my wisdom and experience to let you know that ” red in the sky means shepherd’s pie ! ”


  8. Lawrie says:

    Hi Rich,
    Hope you’re keeping well and having a good time.
    Just to inform you that I’ve sent a comment to Clare’s blog of March 1st, as follows:
    Hi Clare,
    Re. the Antarctic ice …. I don’t know if you have access to today’s news regarding ancient infective viruses preserved in permafrost ice being exposed by global warming but I’ve copied the clip from the BBC below:

    He told BBC News that ancient strains of the smallpox virus, which was declared eradicated 30 years ago, could pose a risk.

    “If it is true that these viruses survive in the same way those amoeba viruses survive, then smallpox is not eradicated from the planet – only the surface,” he said.

    “By going deeper we may reactivate the possibility that smallpox could become again a disease of humans in modern times.”
    Continue reading the main story
    “Start Quote

    Finding a virus still capable of infecting its host after such a long time is still pretty astounding”

    Prof Jonathan Ball University of Nottingham

    However, it is not yet clear whether all viruses could become active again after being frozen for thousands or even millions of years.

    “Finding a virus still capable of infecting its host after such a long time is still pretty astounding – but just how long other viruses could remain viable in permafrost is anyone’s guess. It will depend a lot on the actual virus.”

    Thanks but maybe I’ll give the ice with my gin and tonic a miss,
    Good sailing,
    Lawrie (Richy’s dad)
    Take care and have a great time,

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