Our northern friends were facing a bomb cyclone weather event. Here, the weather gurus advised of gale warnings off the Florida coast, high seas in the Gulfstream, 25-35 mph winds in Hope Town and rage conditions in the Abaco cuts. Again, like our northern counterparts, we stocked up on food and water, did the laundry and filled the stove’s propane tank.
All Tuesday night, in Hope Town’s protected harbor, we rocked and rolled in sustained winds of 25 mph. With its bow tied to the mooring, our boat would sail to one side with the wind, lean over until the mooring line jerked her to a stop, then snap back up and sail to the other side, lean over, jerk, snap and sail again. I slept in the main cabin – less motion than in the v-birth area forward.
Everything on deck had been secured and the halyards were tied around the shrouds to keep them from banging on the mast. Yet in the wee morning hours, maybe because of a slight wind shift, the topping lift halyard began slapping against the mast. Bang – bang – bang, bang, bang. Finally another wind change calmed it. But the howling – the wind in the rigging – ours and our neighbors – was our full-time night companion.
Wednesday dawned with surprising calm and sunshine, which warmed our solar shower bags and flooded power into our solar panels – our sole source of power without running the engine. But this tranquil respite was short-lived, as the winds soon built again.
On da Beach closed due to “sand … just… everywhere;” Pete’s Pub on the neighboring cay posted a video of waves overtaking its docks and beach to explain its closing; Abacays freight shut down; the local freight boat brought no food; and there were power outages.
I made bread, read, edited my pictures on Picassa, wrote something for the weekly Writer’s Circle meeting, and even cleaned. I considered some exercise. Although our boat is 31’ on deck, down below I can walk about 12 feet before I have to turn around and retrace my steps. My husband and I often walk 2 miles on the beach. Accomplishing that distance on the boat would require me to traverse its inside length almost 1000 times. Instead, I sat on the bench seat in the main cabin, a blanket over my feet.
Just after 3 on Wednesday, the wind again hit 25, with gusts to 30. Bands of lofty clouds swept towards the harbor, darkening the sky and bringing bursts of wind, with sheets of pelting rain.
One foot waves topped with white froth filled the harbor.
The boats resumed their sail, lean, jerk and snap routine. Like a choreographed line dance gone awry, the boats rolling this way and than in total anarchy – their masts swinging haphazardly to their own individual rhythms.
As night fell, the wind intensified and the harbor entrance became a funnel for wind and waves.
The wind gave up its howl – and started shrieking. Gusts threw the boat over to one side and then the other.
Morning brought sunshine. The strong winds were gone. But brrrrr. The front had passed, leaving cooler temps in its wake. We dug out long pants and fleece, pumped the rain water out of the dinghy – and headed to shore.