10 November 2017 | Majuro, The Marshall Islands
25 October 2017 | Tarawa Atoll, Kiribati
22 October 2017 | Equator South Pacific
07 October 2017 | Port Denarau, Fiji
05 October 2017 | Denerau, Fiji
23 September 2017 | Musket Cove, Fiji
23 April 2017 | Port Antonio, Jamaica
15 April 2017 | Port Antonio, Jamaica
08 April 2017 | Port Antonio, Jamaica
06 April 2017 | Port Antonio, Jamaica
01 April 2017 | Georgetown, Bahamas
31 March 2017 | Georgetown, Bahamas
26 March 2017 | Lee Stocking Cay, Exumas
20 March 2017 | White Point, Exumas
17 March 2017 | Staniel Cay
02 March 2017 | Governor's Harbour, Eleuthera
24 February 2017 | Little Harbour, Abacos
16 February 2017 | Green Turtle Cay, Bahamas
14 February 2017 | West End, Bahamas
11 February 2017 | West End, Bahamas

The Long Night

30 March 2016 | Man o War Cay
It was bound to happen sooner or later. I misjudged the weather forecast and put ourselves in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The day began beautifully. Sunny, gentle breeze out of the south. We motored out of Hope Town Harbour for Man o War Cay. It's a charming cay that is often overlooked by cruisers. For one thing, it's dry, no alcohol. The business is boat building, so the waterfront is mostly taken up with industry and industrious men and women at work. The harbor is tight and unattractive, which is why we chose to anchor outside on the Sea of Abaco. We dropped hook off a rocky shore. Winds were forecast to be from that direction, so we would have good protection. Seas were flat. All looked good.

What I didn't know was that the Cold Front moving through was bringing some powerful thunderstorms our way. By dusk, I realized my mistake. By then, it was too late to move to a safe harbor. The storms created a powerful west wind, placing our cove directly at the end of a 20nm fetch. By dark, it was a white-capped, frothy landscape with breaking waves. Worse, the rocky shore was now a lee shore. We couldn't afford to drag, yet I didn't dare let out any more anchor rode for fear of swinging into the shore.

Meanwhile, another problem was brewing. I had pulled the dinghy up into the davits as I do each night, engine on the dinghy. In the pounding seas, I could see the davits pulling on the pushpit, and I grew concerned about the whole thing breaking off into the sea - solar panels, dinghy, davits along wth half the stern pulpit. I needed to get the dinghy into the water right away.

Getting the dinghy into the water in the dark in these conditions brings its own set of risks. Once the spring lines are released it begins to swing uncontrollably. Working with Tammy in the driving rain, we quickly got it in the water and released from the davits. It immediately went crazy, crashing back and forth with each breaking wave. The davits was safe, but now I was afraid of losing the dinghy. I found a rubber snubber I use for docking Aria and put it on the dinghy painter. I also looped a second line through the dinghy and attached it to Aria, in case the painter or D-ring failed.

Then began anchor watch. Sleep was impossible, as Aria was pitching around. If we began to drag, we would have to move quickly to get the engine on and motor off the lee shore. I was nauseous with worry, self-recrimination... and the pitching motion. Band after band came through. Winds rose to 35kts, with some 40kt gusts. We held. Winds turned NW then N then NE. The rocky shore was no longer behind us. What's more, we were now getting some protection from the shore. By midnight, the storms had moved through. We fell into our berth and dropped immediately into sleep. We slept well.

More storms forecast for today. No time to move. The first bands are hitting us now. We are below, blogging and working in our cozy refuge - with one eye on the sky, of course.
Hailing Port: Myrtle Beach, SC
Crew: The Hetzers: Tammy & Michael
About: Email: michael (at) webhenmedia (dot) com
Home Page: http://www.sothishappened.me
Album: Main | So This Happened
Oct-Nov 2017 aboard Moon Dancer
54 Photos
Created 10 November 2017
33 Photos
Created 22 April 2016
65 Photos
Created 30 June 2015
Continued, beginning with Christmas Eve on Hawksbill Cay through Staniel Cay and beyond
73 Photos
Created 27 December 2013
This album covers a lot of sailing. First we sailed Aria from Little River to Nassau with Tom Leonard and Gary Miller. Later, while I remained aboard Aria, the family plus my old college pal, Larry Knipp, joined me at various times throughout the winter.
53 Photos
Created 21 November 2013
Conrad and I hiked 8 days through Bavaria beginning in Oy-Mittleberg and ending in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
28 Photos
Created 30 July 2013
June 2013: St. Helena Sound, Beaufort, Hilton Head, Bluffton
33 Photos
Created 25 June 2013
Tammy and I, sans kids, visit Beaufort, Morehead City, Bald Head Island and Southport
26 Photos
Created 1 April 2013
Instead of a bushing, I used two custom-made steel plates to repair an elongated hole that supports the alternator.
9 Photos
Created 15 February 2013
Photo essay of my project to replace heat exchanger, and make several other upgrades to the fresh water and sea water loops.
18 Photos
Created 26 January 2013
25 Photos
Created 6 September 2012
Tammy and I sailed to Cape Lookout Bight, then returned via Wrightsville Beach to Bald Head Island, where the kids and dog joined us. Lovely family vacation!
27 Photos
Created 12 August 2012
Michael's voyage from the BVI to Bermuda, May 7, 2012
25 Photos
Created 6 May 2012
Pictures sailing in our home waters, a stretch of the coastal Atlantic called, Long Bay.
5 Photos
Created 28 April 2012
Scott Jackson, James "JD" Dodd and myself sailing from Marsh Harbour, Abacos to Little River, SC, clearing in at Charleston, SC
21 Photos
Created 24 April 2012
Hetzers, Plus Sarah Martin!
32 Photos
Created 8 April 2012
Trying out the new mainsail, a mylar/taffeta laminate sail from Neil Pryde.
9 Photos
Created 3 April 2012
17 Photos
Created 3 April 2012
Six guys, two identical Beneteau 40s, a dozen islands and ample stores of rum - how I spent spring break, 2010.
20 Photos
Created 3 April 2012
Summer 2010
20 Photos
Created 3 April 2012
Christmas 2009
20 Photos
Created 3 April 2012
The boat was in Milford, CT when I bought it. We sailed it home... well, motored mostly, as there was no wind, and we got the mainsail jammed in the mast on the first day. We came ashore in Atlantic City to take on more fuel.
26 Photos
Created 2 April 2012