Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Displaying items by tag: Water spout

Any young reader of the Arthur Ransome children's novel Peter Duck will know that waterspouts are - more or less - tornadoes over the sea which quite frequently occur in tropical waters, and they can build a mighty column of water between ocean and sky which - in Ransome's book - resulted in the villian's treasure-chasing schooner Viper being swept up into the sky in ever-smaller pieces.

In recent days in Ireland's current phase of very unsettled weather, some attempts at waterspout building have been spotted. Pierce Purcell Jnr recorded this one doing its very best as it came up Galway Bay on Saturday. However - most regrettably - no research boat was readily available to head straight for the middle of it to see what might happen.

The only time your correspondent witnessed an almost-made-it waterspout off the Irish coast was on August 11th 1999. The date is clear, as a total solar eclipse occurred at 1100hrs when we were still in Lawrence Cove on Bere Island - believe me, total darkness coming in fairly quickly at morning coffee time is distinctly spooky. As the light returned, we made our departure for Crookhaven to continue a round Ireland cruise. In moody and distinctly foreboding weather off Mizen Head, the sky to weather turned as black as pitch. Under its darkest part, the sea started to boil up into the waterspout "stalacmite", while down from the cloud came the "stalactite" element.

The two met for a second or two, then it all collapsed, and in improving weather we went on round to Crookhaven. Never, before or since, has O'Sullivan's looked so warm and welcoming.

Published in Galway Harbour
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