Overnight lightning lit up the skies starting at dark and continuing until after daylight rivaling the best 4th of July fireworks show … and in 360 degree cinemax! As forecast, the skies opened and eliminated every last spec of salt, at least on the exterior of the boat! All the critters residing on Warderick Wells were most likely worried that they’d be washed off their desert abode and swept into the raging sea without mercy. They were probably hoping to line up two by two for Noah to rescue – many are unique to this area – the almost endangered white tailed tropicbirds which nest on the outlying islands, the huatia, a rat-like creature that is destroying the little vegetation on the island, the curly tailed lizards so in abundance scampering over the sharp iron rock and even the rarely seen iguanas all probably would have happily sailed away.
As for the 21 sailboats and trawlers lucky enough to have moorings here, all are riding out the challenging conditions in comparative comfort compared to the stories of woe from those anchored who knows where that we hear on the VHF radio. As the lightning show began, we unplugged all the electronics, then sat in the cockpit quietly hoping the forecasters had missed the forecast for 40-50 knot squalls in this lightning show. By 10 PM the wind was still light, although the lightning show hadn’t diminished and we retired to watch the fireworks through the hatch over the Pullman berth.
As the rain poured and poured, we were lucky that the hatch over our heads didn’t leak, and neither did the portholes, although we weren’t so lucky with our starboard side window in the main salon. For awhile we’ve known we need to take it out and completely rebed it, but it keeps getting moved down the list when it’s not pouring rain. Maybe we’ll remember to move it up to get the insistent drips off our To Do list when we get back to the marina. Maybe ….
After dawn, a lingering thunderstorm or squall had everyone hunkering down inside the boats, but then the sun broke through and the wind piped up as forecast for after a cold frontal passage. So now the wind howls in the rigging, the KISS wind generator and sun are pumping in a combined 12-15 amps an hour which will soon top off our battery banks.
Luckily we were able to bail our dinghy and rescue our trusty crocs from being just another piece of plastic on a far beach somewhere just in time. The dinghy stayed in the water last night with the forecast and we couldn’t pull the drain plug. Easily half or more full of water sloshing around, the crocs could have easily floated off to certain doom. We used the several buckets of fresh water to scrub the stainless and David polished while I scrubbed out the cockpit. He then proceeded to scrub the decks and cabintop as well, so the salt encrusted boat is feeling revived this afternoon. The wind is forecast to abate some later this evening which will make everyone happier.
All afternoon we’ve heard boats calling from outside looking for secure anchorages and the park office has had to turn them away because there are no available mooring balls. A boat that got the last mooring ball came in mid-day and promptly missed the mooring and ran aground on the sand. David & several others jumped in dinghies and the park warden came out in his skiff and between them they were successful in pulling the boat off the sand and getting it secured to the mooring. I’m sure he’s a happy happy cruiser tonight!
Now that the current and wind have switched, our stern is literally mere feet from an sharp rocky small cliff that sticks about 2 feet out of the water. The water is deep all the way to the rocks, we hope. And we’re also hoping the park staff was exact in measuring exactly what size boat and draft will fit on this particular mooring in any wind direction! YIKES – it is definitely disconcerting to look off the stern and know you could almost literally step on the rocks. I wish the wind would stop howling!
But we were lucky that most of the really nasty weather – squalls to 65 knots and tornados and full GALE conditions missed us to the north! Here’s hoping this weather decides to settle and allow us to enjoy our last few weeks in the Exumas! There are so many places we want to explore that we can’t go with a north or south wind. All the Bahamas regulars are saying they’ve never seen weather this bad for a season … of course, we’ve been saying that for the past 3 years. But it’s bound to get better! ☺ I just hope it’s not after we leave.
In the meantime, I still have the Jimmy Buffett song stuck in my head …
“Scratch my back with a lightning bolt
Thunder rolls like a bass drum note
The sound of the weather is heaven’s ragtime band
The sky turns blue and the sun appears
But the question’s still what are we doin’ here
I don’t think the answer’s close at hand.
Barefoot children in the rain
Got no need to explain
We’d be swingin’ on a ball and chain
It’s always understood by those who play the game
Barefoot children in the rain ..
in the rain…
… in the rain”… (and wind)