28:12.2 N 64:57.8 W

Sula Sula III
Thu 15 Jun 2023 17:13
We received a gentle reminder that it was not going to be all straight forward this morning. It would appear that the interface of this warm wet air circulating the high pressure to the south east and the unstable air from the tail of the depression we were making for to the north, had set up an intimidating wall of Cumulonimbus through which we had to pass. The photo below is the one that got us as we tried to steer for a gap. We had 1/2 main and about the same of staysail, I had switched off all the electrics and disconnected the domestic batteries but even so, this beast gave us a proper slapping. Before it got light we had seen lightening on almost every quarter but it appeared miles away and there was no sign of one chasing us; of course not..... They were sitting in a line in front of us daring us to cross! We thought we had picked a gap, but it closed over us and we experienced the awe inspiring force of a mature cloud. Lightening, thunder, and the deathly stillness that lets you know exactly how much air is being sucked upwards. What goes up must come down. First rain that fell in such volume it flattened the sea, then cold air mixed with it at increasing velocity probably reaching 35 to 38 knots at its (thankfully short-lived) peak and finally hail! Junior had never experienced cold air before nor hail, and to be fair I had not expected ice to fall from the sky while we were still nearly 300 miles south of Bermuda.
The other side of the cloudy curtain, we set a North Easterly course as advised by 5 of the 6 predict wind models and within an hour were back in the balmy conditions we had become accustomed to. Now, from 30 miles away they look completely benign, perhaps because the curvature of the earth does not allow us to see how dark it is at sea level. I wish I was a proper photographer.... At one point as we were about to be consumed, I observed a layer of stratus cloud at about 200ft above sea level it took me some time to work out that there was so much cold air descending from such a height that it was condensing out the humid air sitting above the ocean. This image gives some idea of how dark it was inside the cloud.
Yesterday, despite some frustrating sailing, we made just over 130 miles so are now over a day ahead of our target pace.

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