"...makin' for the trades on the outside...and the downhill run to Papeete..."
|on way to BVI, not Papeete and by plane but still...
This line from the song Southern Cross, truth be told, never really meant that much to me. While I have always loved the romance of the song, the technicality of it was lost on me until my sailing life began.
The 'Trades' in the song are the Trade Winds.
|that's a lot of arrow, so, you get the idea...
These winds blow consistently around the world – northeast in the Northern Hemisphere and southeast in the Southern. Sailors have depended on these consistent, predictable winds to guide their vessels as they ran goods from Asia to Europe and the Americas and back.
We used the dependablitly of the Trades during our sailing classes in Tortola. The consistent winds there make the islands one of the best sailing destinations.
Personally, to say I have 'sailed the trades' enriches the adventure, romance, mystery persona I have created in my head...
These days, shipping is not dependant on the wind but on what ever magical fuel used to make those massive vessels run. Yet, the Trade Winds are still important.
I won't get all meteoralogical on you here, but in a very shallow explanation:
Cumulous clouds form over islands, because of the warmth of the land mass and the temperature and moisture content of the air above.
The Trade Winds steer rainfall, with weaker winds causing an increase in rain.
The movement and temperature of the gulf stream effects Trade Winds. As the water in the gulf stream cools (from melting ice at the poles) the temperature difference between water and air begins to equalize and the winds stall.
A stalled Trade Wind makes rain.
As in the massive hurricanes we have seen of late.
Hurricane Irma being a prime example.
We watched, safe in our Midwest home, as Irma moved through the US Virgin Islands, devastated our beloved Tortola, then moved on through Puerto Rico, and up to the Keys where we watched in awe as the water from the bay at Key Lime was sucked up by the wind, leaving boats beached on the sandy bottom where hours before they had been floating.
In an update – Tortola is moving forward with rehab well underway. The US Virgin Islands are also bouncing back. Puerto Rico has had the slowest recovery but reports from a March 2018 article in Travel stated that the island was around 90% functional with power and telecommunication up and running and over half of hotels and attractions open.
These islands still have a long way to go.
Toursim powers a good deal of their economy, so while I prefer to keep my favorite places relatively to myself, give these beautiful places a thought when planning your next big vacation.
I know we can't wait to go back.
There is something about the islands that exceeds explanation.
Maybe its the warmth, the lush foilage, the wonderful people, the exotic foods.
Personally, it has something to do with those beautiful sunsets...and that....
'reach before a followin' sea....'
|the red sunsets are caused by dust, blown by the winds from the Sahara...
This post is part of the A to Z Challenge. For more entries click here: a-to-z-challenge.com
H-Head to Heel
P-Points of Sail