Gale Force Winds
20 March 2019
Bev and I decided to head to Hopetown for the day on Sunday, however, prior to shoving off, I had another date to take Abby ashore for her morning walk. Once everyone was ready, Driftaway headed back offshore to try their luck at fishing and Bev and I headed north to Hope Town for the day. This is probably the most popular stop in the Abacos, so we didn't even try to get in the harbour but anchored just outside the entrance for the night. Once we were all secure we dinghied in for a tour of the town and a much needed walk along the beach. As expected the mooring field was packed and with the approaching storm I didn't have any interest in trying to find a mooring there. Frequently there is only 20 feet between some larger boats when they swing on their moorings, not much room for error. During our dinghy tour of the harbour we met our friends on Sea Jules who invited on board for a visit. They have been living aboard their Beneteau 45 for the last few years and it was interesting listening to their future plans. We enjoyed a beautiful calm night at anchor which, really was the calm before the storm.
The weather forecasters couldn't agree on when the winds would pick up so we decided to get a jump on the crowd and find a good anchorage by noon on Monday. Marsh Harbour was one of the options but we knew it would be over crowed with lots and lots of boats. As we have gained experience and confidence in our anchoring we would rather anchor away from the crowd in a secluded area, even if the protection isn't quite as good. We chose to return to a small bay south of Tavern Cay that offers decent N-NE protection. There were only 3 other boats there when we arrived so we picked a good spot and made sure the anchor was well set. However, as the day wore on everyone else left, leaving us doubting our decision. We checked and rechecked the various weather apps, which all called for NE winds 25-40 knots or more with 2-4 inches of rain. As a few more boats arrived later in the day we felt reassured that we were in a good spot and by the time the weather deteriorated on Tuesday morning there were 9 boats to keep us company.
The wind had shifted around on Monday evening but the system really rolled in during the day on Tuesday. I double checked to make sure everything on deck was secure and before hoisting the dinghy out we rechecked the anchor set and ran out more chain. With 125' of chain out in 12 feet of water we were confident that Rocky the Rocna would keep us in place. Normally when the s..t hits the fan it's in the middle of the night, however, this time around we got hammered during daylight, which eased the stress level. I did a couple of light chores and spent the rest of the day reading and working on a plotting program. Bev baked some more delicious bread while Dagny got a much needed bath in the heavy rains. As advertised the winds started to moderate before dark although we still had a few hard gusts and showers overnight. The sustained winds for the day were well over 20 knots with peak gusts reported just over 40; fortunately, our little group rode out the storm without any issues.
Today's picture is of a satisfied customer at the “Thirsty Cuda” at Tahiti Beach