Being that we are at anchor in one of the most protected harbors in the Caribbean we haven’t been monitoring the weather as closely as when we are out sailing. We can predict the weather here to about 85% accuracy, morning lull, 10-15knot winds between 3-5pm, and then evening lull. There are daily lighting shows, often accompanied by thunder, but they don’t reach the bay. We just watch them in the distance. That said, in the 5 months we’ve been here there have been two random squalls, and one hurricane possibility (which thankfully missed us). One of those squalls happened today. Luckily we were on the boat for this one, not somewhere on shore questioning why we didn’t close the hatches above our beds.
As we watched the clouds roll in we wondered if it would blow by us like usual, but as all small blue spots were engulfed by grey we got started on preparing. Here’s what it looked like, although when it is written out it appears organized where as instead we were acting on purely ingrained instinct.
1) I ran around the boat shutting all of our hatches
2) Eben turned in the engine, for two reasons, in case the unexpected happens and we need it in an emergency, and also just to check that everything is running properly
3) I did the second round of the hatches, strategically placing towels and bowls anywhere we have drips
4) Eben dinghied over to the neighboring boat to close their hatches as they were not onboard
5) Eben turned off any unnecessary electronics and the Garmin gets placed in a dry bag inside the oven in case of a lightening strike to the boat
6) I checked Weather Underground‘s satellite images to see how long we should be expecting this blow to last
7) Eben got the deck brush out and uses Mother Nature’s gift to clean off the boat, and shower
8) We kept the radio on just in case anyone put out a distress call
The squall lasted about half an hour, and as soon as the wind dropped back down to normal this instant calm came over me. I have gotten spoiled over the last few months in this calm bay where the boat barely moves because any time the wind or waves pick up in the slightest my blood pressure spikes. We used to see this on a somewhat common basis while in the Bahamas and it did not bother me as much then. Too much calm has made me soft and wimpish. I have a feeling that it will take me a few days of sailing to get my head, stomach, and nerves accustomed to the motion of the ocean once again.
After it has passed, some rum drinks are poured, you take note of which hatches still have leaks, and laugh about how bad it used to be when the leak by the mast was a constant stream of water raining inside the boat . . . at least that leak has been fixed. Oh and don’t forget to remove the garmin from the oven before you accidentally torch it.
|This is what today looked like
|A little deck scrubbing
|And some reprieve from the rain