WHAT THE .... WAS THAT?
05 August 2011 | Off the tip of Cape Wessel, Northern Australia
Yesterday, without warning, I was suddenly caught in the clutches of a nasty condition. At first it seemed that the swells were simply increasing, once again. But, well, rather than try to describe it in organized detail, let me quote exactly as it happened as noted in the ships'log:
"1400 (hours)Swells increasing again, As big as ever but all controlled, 12-15 feet at least Glad I didn't put more sail on everytime Im tempted Im pleased I didn't Following seas are BIG now-don't like it wind at 20(kts) Try to head, southing Maybe Cape Wessel will block this Never seen such CONFUSED big seas Very serious hit from the side even side waves (could) blow out the bimini. Have shut main cabin door and berth doors. - POOPING"
(No No No! NOT want you are thinking, not at time like this! - it's a mariner's term for when a wave crashes over the stern of the boat, usually filling her)
"136 45 (longitude) Seems to be calming/calmed What the . was that??"
So there you have it. It was in fact a 'tidal rip' where there is a clash of currents, tides, winds, depths and bodies of water, all leading to the maelstrom in which I found myself. Ironically, I had headed to this point to take possible refuge from higher seas out deep. Despite all the consultations with captains and sailors alike, none had mentioned this spot .but after carefully scouring the chart, again, there it was, in tiny letters: "water discoloration and tide rips"