Twister off Mallorca

Incredible first hand account of waterspout

Many MBY readers will have shuddered to see the photo in our December 2008 issue of the twister off Mallorca.

MBY reader Kathy Allum took the shot from her Fairline Squadron 58, Brave Girl, which she keeps moored in Cala D’Or, Mallorca.

This is her incredible account of what happened on that day last summer:

This particular week, we had family with us and were heading out to Ibiza, via Andraxt.

We moored to have lunch in the Bay of Santa Ponsa. All was well, lunch was great and we were all totally happy and relaxed. The weather was not too good for that time of the year, and warnings were given out about possible twisters.

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We listened, took stock of the forecast and enjoyed our day.

Suddenly around 4pm, I noticed the sky and the sea was changing, I pointed this out to all on board and we watched with interest.

The next thing, we looked up and noticed a weird happening in the sky, which was now grey black – the sea also, grey black – and there was a strange quietness around us.

We watched and were then taken back at what happened – so very quickly too.

In the sky there were three “tails” whisking their way around, they then merged into one huge tail, the twister.

To watch this was amazing, we were all rooted to the deck. The sky and the sea changed dramatically, from grey to totally black – in fact at one point it was difficult to see which was the sky and which was the sea!

The clouds were racing around and building up in frightening patterns.

Then what seemed like almost a serpent, struck out of the clouds and sped downwards into the sea.

Again we were all just taken aback at the speed of what was happening around us (no time to be afraid, it was just too amazing to watch).

Next we noticed this huge serpent-type spout was sucking water up from the sea and forming an alarming size circle of white foaming water.

It was then we watched this pool growing larger and larger and realizing it was also quite near to us and a little too near for comfort!

We then took the decision to up anchor, put the throttles forward and speed like the devil out of the bay where we were moored.

Having been involved in sailing through many years, for once I was so relived to have power at the press of the throttles, rather than having to sail.

So much was still happening, with the clouds, dramatically swirling around and around and still sucking up vast amount of water.

Eventually, the twister quietened down, retreated back to the heavens and both sea and sky gradually became less turbulent, lighter, and we could then see the difference between the skyline and the sea.

The whole scenario happened so very quickly, but it was the most gripping, exciting and amazing action I have ever seen.

The power of it all was breathtaking – we captured what we could with the cameras we had but didn’t want leave our positions to reload – all our gear was at this time inside the boat – for fear of loosing a minute of this spectacular display.

We moored up in Andraxt, where there was an absolute buzz of excitement from all crafts, small, large, sailing and power – all who had been involved in Mother Nature’s display of the day!

We were later told that previously a twister had actually hit Palma, causing some destruction within the city.

Of course we talked endlessly of our experience and for me, I kept thinking, just what would have happened if we had been just that little bit closer to the twister’s waterspout?

Brave Girl certainly lived up to her name!


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