Moving to Hog Island
30 August 2007 | Hog Island
August and September are the hot months for weather down here. Learning how to dance around the nasty stuff is certainly an important skill if you want to enjoy yourself aboard a yacht without endangering your vessel and crew. If you let every possible development lock you in port you will never go anywhere or see anything. If you are not vigilant and go sailing about willy-nilly you will most certainly suffer a more unpleasant fate.
Staying within an easy day sail of a great hurricane hole is not too hard around here. You could be in the Tobago Cays (one of the most beautiful places in the world) and jump to the Tyrrel Bay mangroves at Cariacou in a mater of hours. All of Grenada is a short sail from Port Egmont. A fast boat can make Trinidad in a day and anyone can make Trinidad or even Venezuela from Grenada overnight. There is always something brewing this time of year but there is rarely reason to sit in a marina and stew about it.
Today, however, was our day to head for a safe haven to stew. The low pressure area we'd been watching in the approaching wave was rotating and well formed. Squalls were focused and abundant. All of these things equal bad news in the tropics. The only good news was that it was close enough that there would not be enough time for it to develop into anything super nasty. Super nasty causes us to leave the area. We prefer not to hang around for even nasty, but with guests aboard who were not ready to transit 100 miles or so of the North Atlantic we decided to stick it out in Grenada.
Mourne Rouge would not be our anchorage for this, or any other storm, presenting a lee shore in a west or south wind and being totally open to the south and southwest swell. After a discussion of the reasonable options the crew decided to head for Clark's Court Bay, two bays over from Martin's Marina where we had been holing up. The idea was to provide a secure anchorage with new scenery, proximity to Calviny Island's beach, proximity to the Light Ship and its restaurant, as well as the Internet WiFi at Clark's Court Bay marina.
Everyone slept in, biological clocks still adjusting to AST, so it was early afternoon before we headed out. We raised the anchor and motored in minimal wind around Point Salines toward the southern anchorages and entered the channel leading up to Clarks Court Bay, often called Woburn Bay. We circumnavigated the bay checking depths and looking at the other boats anchored and their positions. In the end we decided to try a spot behind Hog Island.
With the impending conditions no anchorage is totally open. This area did have a good space for us even though there were other boats in the neighborhood. As we anchored we got the "don't anchor near me" glare from a lady in a neighboring boat. I typically ignore this until we are settled on the anchor. I don't like being close to other boats more than most folks, and will be the first to relocate if need be.
We set the hook at 2,000 rpms and even sat with the engines running for an extra bit to ensure things were solid. It was at this point that the same lady popped her head out of the forward hatch and yelled, "you're too close". Lovely. I asked her where her anchor was and she simply ignored me and went below not to be seen again.
When a storm is coming, everyone in an anchorage has to cooperate to ensure mutual safety. One boat flying around makes all the work everyone else has done to secure their own assets futile. Coordination regarding anchor placement, scope and other factors can not only avoid problems, but allow others to assist more easily if something untoward occurs when things pipe up.
We expected no wind to speak of this evening and the Low Pressure of note was at least 36 hours away. Everyone would need to reset for the strongest wind direction, most likely south. We were a comfortable distance from all boats in the anchorage, though we could have been better centered. I decided to stay put for the night and address our neighbors concern in the morning.