I can’t say that we are the best weather watchers. Yes we will check our regular sites wind and weather sites when we are prepping for a crossing, but any other day when we are on anchor we are pretty much ignorant of the what is going on. Thankfully FB is always there to keep us in the loop! As soon as something worth watching out for pops up on someone’s radar and they post it then we are made aware. (Thanks guys!)
A few days ago we started hearing whispers of “Invest 96”, a possible storm forming in the Atlantic. But at that point it was nothing more than a possible storm and wasn’t going to impede our our upcoming trip to Culebrita with friends. Two days later, with barely any internet signal on that island, we saw that it had indeed turned into Tropical Storm Danny and may be moving its way up the chain of islands. “Great, the year we choose to stay in the hurricane belt”. Being only a tropical storm and still a week away, there was no need to worry too much as it could change course or dissipate completely.
Today we were sailing back towards St Thomas when my phone started “pinging” with new messages. That storm is now a hurricane, and is projected to go straight through the Virgin Islands. Ok, but we are still talking about a storm that is predicted to hit in 4 days, lots could change in that time. No need to worry. However, getting so many messages asking about our “storm plan” started getting me freaked out that maybe we were being a little too complacent about this. Everyone is their own weatherman, and has their own opinion of whether or not it will be a direct hit, bypass us, or just fizzle off. And I have received numerous emails about people’s personal predictions, but it wasn’t until we reached St Thomas that we decided, “Yes we need to take action!” It wasn’t because anything new had presented itself in the weather, but because when we reached the mangroves that we were expecting to hide out in if the hurricane does come true, well THEY WERE PACKED.
This afternoon boats were cueing up to find a spot in the mangroves in Benner bay, and dinghies were driving around trying to find ideal spots. However it looked like all the charter businesses had gotten in first. There are rows and rows of charter cats, all lashed together and tied into the mangroves, anchors crossing every which way, as deep as the eye can see. We had to get a spot before this place was full and our “backup” plan disappeared on us.
With the help of many friends, we managed to get our boat and that of a buddy tied up into the mangroves. By the time our boats were all secured in the guys were all sweaty and full of mangrove slime. I owe them all one. For now we have a couple of lines off our stern into the mangroves and our 65lbs Mantus “storm” anchor keeping our nose where it belongs.
We also have longtime buddy boat s/v Simple Life anchored two boats down from us. The place is packed but we are all nestled in good spots. Now we all sit and way and see what the next few days will bring. We are surrounded by friends. Hurricane PARTY! Even if this Hurricane Danny brings nothing at all, at least we got our spot and wont be caught with our pants down and totally unprepared. And it will have been a good “hurricane prep drill”.
(In the meantime I get to worry about all the critters that could be crawling up our “mangrove lines” and on to our boat. ewww.) Fingers (and toes) crossed the storm moves further north and avoids us all, or south. Doesn’t matter really, as long as it avoids the islands, our boat, and those of all our friends.
|There’s Simple Life|
|All the ducks in a row|
|My new backyard view.|
The sea is your friend, land is the true danger………..crowded anchorages during a pending storm add even more danger……
Yes it could be scary but we like the spot we have found ourselves in the mangroves, and with our two little girls on board I would prefer staying out of storms at sea. We will hope that this all passes or that our spot works out well for us
If it does come your way make sure you strip off everything possible above decks to reduce windage and stow it below. These suckers aren't to be messed with. Good luck and stay safe guys. Hope it veers away soon.
Yeah all sails, canvas, and all other stuff will be coming inside. No way we want to be dealing with that in the middle of a storm!
You guys picked out the right spot to ride out the storm! I moved the 76 Cat Spirit I captained near there for "Hugo" back in the 80s. We came thru without a scratch except for mangrove slime that covered the boat, but others were not so lucky. Definitely remove all your sails early and have plenty of fenders ready for unmanned bareboats that will break loose and come sailing by. Danny is predicted to go back to tropical storm status but, with many years experience in St. Thomas, never let your guard down.
Thanks. It's good to hear from someone who went through one on these same mangroves. We hope it does out but if not I think the girls and I may get off the boat and Eben will stay on to fend off ships that go astray.