This blog is about my wife and I sailing our 13m sailing catamaran around Australia during 2012 2013 and 2014. We will sail from Brisbane at the end of April 2012 and slowly head north anticipating that we will arrive in Darwin for the cyclone season and head west when safe to do so and complete the circumnavigation.
Although I have continued to be a weather watcher for
sailing purposes it has been a while since I have been concerned about cyclones
for our planning as we are normally outside the cyclone areas in the monsoonal
seasons. However, this year being in Darwin it is a thing that concerns me
greatly. The last time I monitored weather for cyclone activity for our own
preservation was in Raiatea, French Polynesia when we sailed the Pacific Ocean
as we were held up there for the cyclone season as French Polynesia is just
outside the cyclone belt. They can still have some nasty storms and winds but
they do not usually experience cyclones.
(Tropical cyclone Evan as it hits Fiji)
Cyclones are an evil necessity in Australia as it is usually
the cyclones that bring water to the inland areas, last few years cyclone and
storm activity brought water to Lake Eyre and the Murray River, many cyclones
that hit around Broome area that cross the mainland and then forms a low
depression carries the rain across the driest parts of the country which
farmers in VIC, NSW and SA rely on for crops.
The cyclone belt appears to be active east of Africa across
the top end of Australia and through to the Pacific to the west side of French
Polynesia. One of the ingredients for forming a cyclone is sea temperature,
cyclones can form in sea temperature above 26.5⁰C a website to monitor this for
Australia is -
(As seen on the above website, it is possible to click on and area and it will give the lat/long and sea temp at that point)
One of the other sites I monitor is the Madden Julian Oscillation
(MJO) rather than me trying to explain what this is and what it does there is a
great web page that will do it better than I can and that is -
After understanding what you have read from this website on
the MJO go to this website and it will provide the last 40 days MJO monitoring.
This is only one of the tools that is used by the met as they use satellite and
models to predict all weather.
(MJO monitoring as seen on the website indicating activity as it is out of the centre circle)
It is interesting to note that the MJO is split into 8 phases
and Phase 1 is simultaneously east of Africa in the Indian Ocean and in the
Pacific Ocean around the Fijian area where a cyclone Evan has created havoc at
In monitoring the storms worldwide the following website is
very good -
There are many weather websites that can be used for
monitoring the weather and many sailors have their preferences, I personally
use many websites and listen to weather reports on commercial radio , VHF radio
and HF radio.
Whatever website you prefer to use make sure that it
provides what you need there are many people that use http://www.seabreeze.com.au/
in Australia and it is a very good site for coastal use only. This website is
for wind surfers, surfers and boats that hang very close to the coastline. If
you search the website you will note that it states yacht skippers should use
another website. A few miles out to sea can be different than what is
experienced along the coastline.