Mistral, Rain, Thunder, Tornados…

Weather in the Mediterranean can be unpredictable, and change fast – that much we have learned! And it's not all sunshine...

One day there’s no wind, and the next day you have a mistral blowing in 30+ knots. We had a long sail (250nm) ahead of us from Menorca to Sardinia so we wanted to time that wind some winds. And wind we got! A weather window opened up with the strong mistral blowing from mainland Spain, calming down top perfect sailing winds where we were crossing!

Mistral winds blowing down from Barcelona

42 hours later we dropped the anchor in the Maddalena archipelago, excited to be in Italy!

Unfortunately, the mistral brought rain and unstable weather along with it to Sardinia. We tried to escape it by moving south along the east coast, with little success. Finally we decided it’s better to leave this behind, see the sunny side of Sardinia some other time, and head to Sicily.

We took off from Cabo Carbonara in the southeast corner of the island. Blue sky, 20 knots of wind – couldn’t ask for more! And then out of nowhere, there’s clouds forming up. Next thing we see is a tornado starting to form from one of the clouds… and then another, and another…

Tornado sucking up water!

We thought at first we could avoid this local thunder by going around it but two other thunder centers formed really quickly, and they were joining forces. That was it – we made a U-turn and returned to safe harbor in Cabo Carbonara to wait for better weather and find out what was going on!

We learned that there was an unusual collision of two warm weather fronts from south and a cold one from north, meeting up above Sardninia, and creating this messy weather. A day and a half later we crossed safely to Sicily, but the weather remains a bit unsettled. Locals here say that the weather in the Mediterranean is starting to feel more and more tropical, creating untypical weather phenomena.

One thing is particularly good with bad weather though, and that’s the sunsets it creates! Never have we seen such a sky than the one at sunset when returning to safety to Cabo Carbonara. Feels like all the colors in the world were represented if you took a 360 view around you!

This is what we were sailing into.Sunset after the rain.

And this is what we were sailing away from - before it got pitch black and lightings were the only light!

Last updated 8 October, 2013