A group of us from Sebago are going to attempt to continue our multi-year sea kayak trip around Long Island tomorow. Last year, we made it as far as East Hampton before bad weather and illness did us in; my write up of that part of the trip here. The plan this year is to pick up where we left off, and then head around Montauk Point and up to Orient Point:
However, once again, the weather is not cooperating. Currently, there is a large high pressure system up over Maine, and a large low pressure system in the ocean off Virginia:
Winds around high pressure systems tend to rotate clockwise, while winds around a low pressure system generally rotate counterclockwise. Where all those lines on the map between the high and low pressure systems are stacked up close together, we get intense winds out of the east. And those intense winds are centered right where we are headed--not great for kayaking in the open ocean.
In addition, the computer models have repeatedly collapsed, and the predicted future position of the low pressure system seems to change dramatically with every model run. When we pulled the go/no go trigger on this trip Tuesday night, the models were forecasting that the high would move out to the north, and the low would move along with it. That meant high winds today, diminishing winds tomorrow, and then decent weather. The next day, the models changed dramatically, pushing the low out into the ocean. A bit worse for us, but still OK. But last night's ETA model runs show both systems sort of drifting out to sea, while the GFS model shows the low moving north and the high drifting out to sea. Neither of those situations is good for us (although we do have some backup options), and this morning's marine forecast for Montauk just looks horrible for Friday (gale warning), but OK Saturday, and better Sunday (back to where it was two days ago!). But those predictions too seem to flip flop with every forecast.
And so, what do we do? Go out and look at the ocean and make a decision when we see what the local conditions are like. Many years of outdoors experience tell me that forecasts are a very useful tool, and one that you should take seriously (if a hurricane or tropical storm were forecast, we probably wouldn't be going this weekend). But you don't know what you actually have until you're in place looking at the conditions on the ground (or water). And, so, if you want to see what happens, I hope to (technology permitting) post updates on my twitter feed, and depending on the type of coverage I get, I should be able to post lat/lon coordinates too. Should be fun!