Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Sunday 13th May


10 24.735 N
75 32.607 W

Happy mother’s day, we are thinking of the mums in our life with our love.

What a start to the day! We were just awake and laying in bed thinking about getting up when the sky clouded over. Gerry asked me if it was raining – it wasn’t but we both got out of bed. Just as well we did because as soon as we were standing the wind began to pick up in intensity. We threw on clothes and Gerry went forward to take down our wind scoop which is over the forward hatch. In a matter of seconds the wind picked up even further and Gerry yelled back to me to turn the engine on, a huge squall was coming through. With the engine turned on I stood guard at the wheel keeping the boat steady on the anchor until Gerry had all the hatches closed down. The wind continued to increase in intensity and the sea kicked up enormous waves. Gerry came back into the cockpit and took over control of the boat, we had the engine going to keep us steady into wind so that we wouldn’t drag anchor. Luckily for us Terry had warned us that the squalls hitting here were fierce and sudden and the chances of dragging anchor were extreme. As we guarded the safety of our boat we watched our nearest neighbour, Jubal – a Canadian registered 36’ steel mono hull begin to drag his anchor. There was nothing we could do to help him, this was a case of every man looking out for the safety of his own boat and as we looked around almost every boat had crew on deck, checking their anchor and keeping themselves from moving . Jubal’s owner, a single hander, was out on deck trying to get his boat under control but unfortunately failed miserably, he dragged past us and down onto the rocks of the nearby shore line where he stuck fast. Then to our horror another boat, Swedish flagged, broke loose and was drifting straight for us. The owner must have been ashore as he suddenly appeared in his dink, fighting his way across the waves to get to his boat; he must have been worried to death as the dink was being blown all over the place and at one point looked like it was going to flip over. The boat, Da Capo, drifted into the boat that was now our nearest neighbour at the same time that the owner managed to scramble aboard, unfortunately the damage was already done, his pulpit and safety lines were pulled out but he quickly got his engine started and had the boat under control enough to motor around until he was able to re anchor when the squall passed. We heard later that he had hit another boat, Calypso, on the way through too – some heavy insurance claims will be coming in from that little squall! We watched as the wind speed hit 42 knots – exciting but not something we want to repeat, and then began to drop as the squall passed. We were lucky, we hadn’t moved at all but several boats were re adjusting their positions, having dragged a little or not being happy with how they were situated in the event of a further squall. The coast guard were out immediately the wind began to abate and went to the aid of Jubal, they managed to pull him off of the rocks and towed him into the nearby marina to check for damage, we aren’t sure why but he appeared to have no engine or was unable to get it running. Anyway the coast guard did a great job and should be commended for it. With the squall passed I made coffee and pancakes and we listened to the cruiser’s net – most boats, it appeared, fared OK. Everyone began checking in with their neighbours to make sure that all was well and compare experiences, this was a “first” for us as far as squalls went, but it reminded us of the hurricanes we went through in Florida a couple of years back – it was that fierce!. One other thing to note here was the boats that were “med moored” in the marina at Club Nautico seemed to have a hard time, they are moored very closely together and when the squall hit they would be lucky if they didn’t hit each other, we were glad that we were at anchor and not in the marina at the time. The other marina, Club de Pesca seemed to fare a little better as the boats there are in pens, not med moored. This was a mother’s day to remember! The swap meet was cancelled for the day – no one was game to leave their boat for the better part of the day as the clouds seemed to be hanging around and the chance of another squall was too high. Our plans for the rest of the day were also cancelled, we were going to walk into the old city and wander around the sights there; instead we spent most of the day on the boat reading and playing computer games. Late in the afternoon we ventured into the club, it appeared everyone had the same idea as there were a lot of people there typing on their computers – probably letting everyone know about the mornings’ squall. There was supposed to be a pot luck dinner at the club that evening and we checked out if it was still happening, apparently it was so we dinked back out to the boat and prepared some food to share and dug out a couple of steaks to grill then at the allotted hour we went back into the club for the shared meal. We sat with some people who were about to fly home, leaving their boat here for the season, they had been cruising for 8 years and leave their boat somewhere different each year during hurricane season. It was very interesting to hear about their travels, I guess they have got it right in that they only do it for half of the year and then go home for the other half. We had a fairly early night as we wanted to do the tourist bit the next day and see the sights we had missed today.



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