Don't Mess With Mother Nature
12 February 2010
So, we're still in Sisters' Creek, along side Radio MARTI. An increasingly dire weather forecast began yesterday and the anticipation in the air was palpable. They were predicting a vigorous cold front, with gale force winds, damaging lighting, heavy rain and generally not a fun event.
A number of additional boats joined us here in Sisters' Creek as the day (Friday) moved on in anticipation of the passage of the front around 6:00 pm. Sounds strange but they can predict with uncanny reliability when a front will come through and I can follow it on the internet via NOAA radar.
It was windy this morning but the wind abated and it was quite pleasant this afternoon, Nonetheless, I was loath to leave the boat given the severity of the anticipated weather. The forecasts kept getting worse and shortly after 5:00 a Coast Guard broadcast warned that the winds could approach 60 Knots and advise people to seek shelter immediately in a basement or other secure building. Here we are in a sailboat, with a sixty foot mast, and people in houses are seeking shelter?
I am anxious all day and nearing supper I instruct Judy to prepare a "ditch bag". This is supposed to be a small bag which, if you have to abandon the boat, you can take with you. Normally, your passports, important papers, medications, vhf radio and other essential things. I'll let Judy tell you what she put in her "ditch bag" in a subsequent post.
We battened down the boat, put out a second anchor, donned foul weather gear, life jackets, put Chopin in his cage etc. fully expecting that if we got 60 Knot winds that we'd be blown into the mangroves; probably not life threatening but potentially dangerous.
I start the engine, and get ready for the strong possibility that our anchor will drag and we'll need to try to motor away from harms' way; not a pretty prospect when you have two anchors, each with more than 100 feet of chain/rope criss crossin in front of the boat.
The ominous "front" is on the horizon and like clockwork, hits about 6:30. It's tumultuous and scary for a short while but the most winds we see is about 33 knots. Lots of rain and plenty of lightning. But, I'm expecting my neighbour, Radio Marti's towers to be my lightning rod.
The front is now past and while it is still blustery and unsettled, the danger is for the most part over. Another day in the life of a cruiser.....