What do you know about GRIBs? Yeah, me too. Not a darn thing.
Part of our deal in this upcoming journey is that Josh will manage the engine maintenance and I'll do all the weather forecasting. "Fine," I thought, "how hard can it be?" Apparently, harder than I anticipated.
Some cruisers have Internet connectivity and simply log onto a website like passageweather.com, windfinder.com or weatheronline.com. Others pay a service and use the single-side band radio and call up a person somewhere back on land who is an expert weather enthusiast (for lack of an official term) through mwxc.com or similar and get the skinny on whether optimal conditions are heading their way. Still others, using email service (sailmail and saildocs, which I'll in a later post) send out an email request to NOAA for a specific area denoted with a series of coordinates, then download the file (called a GRIB—GRIdded Binary or General Regularly-distributed Information in Binary form) they send you, open it with your reading/viewing software and interpret the file. We fall into the latter category. The files look like the above. It's a chart/series of charts that you can animate (much like the weatherman on the 6 o'clock news does) with markings to indicate wind, pressure, wave height, etc. that is from NOAA's satellite imaging with their best guess of what the weather is going to be based on past conditions and what is currently happening in the vicinity. This is why meteorology is not an exact science. There are certain weather patterns/behaviors that can be assumed based on generally accepted weather knowledge (for instance, high pressure usually equals sunny, fair conditions and low pressure air is rising and may bring precipitation) but it takes lots of practice to interpret. And that's my next order of business. Researching, reading, and gathering all the advice and information available to me now so I will feel confident when its time to test in real life. Even when we get out to sea, don't worry too much about us, as we will ALWAYS err on the side of caution.
For now, I plan on starting a weekly if not daily exercise of doing the above described and checking weather conditions for the great lakes area.
Also, quick update on Interlude: still not in the water. Yep. Not thrilled. Josh is traveling part of this month as it is, so we will not have her back in the water before the middle of the month. Still no resolution on the work that needs done and we are having difficulty contacting our surveyor. Will keep you updated!