Sunday afternoon it was hot and humid but dry, so we went exploring. There really isn’t much to see wandering the main road and sand tracks until we ended up looking over the Atlantic coast. The rollers were running in fast and furious onto the beach and the blowhole was emitting spray at regular occasions. The sea was looking pretty rough and treacherous – glad we weren’t out there. Above the beach was a pasture of what looked like long grass and I wondered whether this was the raw material for the straw handicrafts that are on sale here?
We walked back to the main settlement and admired the sand flats that had been uncovered by the low tide…. What a contrast to the Atlantic side.
The town itself was closed – but we ended up in Lorraines Café for a little while just cooling off from the walk. Then we went back to Morphie for a quiet night on board listening to the rain beating down on the coach roof.
Monday morning and it was raining – hard…. And that was it for the day. So we did a few jobs and decided to have a movie afternoon. I even made popcorn! We watched two good movies and then managed to get a few hours in the cockpit between showers later on in the evening. Fingers crossed for better weather soon.
Tuesday morning and it was cloudy and overcast. The forecast was for more of the same – intermittent rain with occasional squalls and thunderstorms. Oh well, another day on board then… Sigh…. The wind was swinging around quite a bit and we had the occasional shower but nothing too heavy. Richard topped up the diesel tank from our jerry cans and we made water and ran the generator – yesterday’s non-sun and non-wind day had drained our batteries so we wanted to top up. We were watching a huge thunderstorm out on the horizon but it was not coming at us – thankfully.
Then the wind swung – to a westerly direction. Oh no… this anchorage has protection from all wind angles EXCEPT from the west. We are now anchored in front of a rocky lee shore – with the wind picking up, the rain getting heavier, and the seas building from across the banks. We have no choice but to sit it out – so we get everything down below and batten down the hatches – just in time for the first squall to hit. It was dramatic – the sea started foaming – the waves are picking up to three to four feet and the wind was so strong it was ripping the heads off the top of the waves….. Up to 35 knots … up to 38 knots … then the wind dropped, the rain subsided and it looked like all was well. Sigh of relief.
But then it started again in earnest….. 20 knots…. 30 knots…. 40 knots…. 50 knots….. The lightning was striking the sea all around blinding us and the thunder was so loud it was like someone bashing cymbals in our ears…. The wind was coming horizontally and when the rain hit you it stung like mad. We had the engine on to keep Morphie heading straight into the waves to take the pressure off our anchor / windlass / snubber and to give us a ‘get out of jail free card’ if the anchor dragged. The rocky shoreline with waves breaking behind us was a terrifying sight and a big incentive to keep focused. Then we heard this terrible thrumming noise – the wind generator is about to blow a gasket – so we quickly switched him off. Finally – after a dramatic one and a half hours when we saw 54 knots on our windex – the wind subsided and we heaved another sigh of relief. That was something else – and I asked Richard how he rated it compared to our horrible night on the Caicos banks – and the answer was 10 times worse. I agree! Phew….. time to get dry…. We were both soaked through…. But we took time out to have a celebratory cuddle. We were safe – yay!
Once the storm had passed there was an eerie stillness and a milky sun tried to shine through the clouds…. There was quite a few boats in the harbour around us but thankfully nobody dragged although a couple left immediately after the storm had gone through – not sure where they were going to though…. The radio was alive with chatter – with one cruiser reporting 65 knots on his windex – think there may be bragging rights with this one LOL. Later on we picked up anchor and moved deeper into the anchorage – to get us further away from that shore in case the wind swung westerly again. Then the sun came out and the clouds indicated that we had seen the worst with the front moving away from us….. Can’t believe these pictures are from the same day!
The forecast is for easterly / south easterly winds but obviously these storms can build from any direction – there is no other anchorage nearby to run to which would give us shelter from any direction, so we have decided to stay put. In fact boats are turning up here from other places looking for a safe haven so looks like we have made the right decision. The current weather system looks like it is going to be the first named storm of the 2015 hurricane season – errrr – the season starts on 1 June so a little early!!! A few hours later the heavens opened again – so we settled down to watch another movie, without the popcorn this time. Then we had an early night – had been quite a day. The only casualty of the storm was our Ensign….
About 10 pm, lightning lights up the cabin. We are up and out of bed, dressed, got our jackets and life jackets on and we’ve battened down the hatches – this time we removed the canvas from the bow as well. We sat in the cockpit and the thunderstorm got closer and yes the wind went west again. This is much more threatening in the dark … The seas and wind picked up to 30 knots for a short period, the rain came down and we had the engine and instruments on and ready to go. Thankfully it was short lived as the storm tracked along the land and behind us before we finally decided the danger was over and returned to bed at about 1am.
Today, Wednesday, and the sky is grey, the weather is close, the humidity is draining, and the propagation is so bad we couldn’t hear Chris Parker’s weather forecast. We log on and check it out – and it looks like this weather system has stalled just north of us – and at that point we hear thunder in the distance. This system is now being tracked on NOAA’s National Hurricane webpage with a 60% chance of developing further – but models are putting it to travel north and west away from us – fingers crossed! We are sitting tight on high alert again in case we get another direct hit….. The rain has started coming down and we are monitoring radar to watch the thunderstorms skirt around us.
And here it comes….. Up in the cockpit – instruments, engine and jackets on….. Another direct hit by a thunderstorm – luckily it went by very quickly and only lasted for 20 minutes – with wind speeds up to 40 knots and from the south this time. So we had some protection from land and the waves didn’t build as big – we weren’t worried after yesterday – that was OK! We’re just brewing a cup of coffee to celebrate and warm us up…. Oh yes, and we can’t believe that a couple behind us abandoned their boat to fend for itself during that storm – we can understand that they might have been scared after yesterday but they put other boats in peril if it drags…..
Looks like another day of fun and games on the good ship Morpheus. Don’t worry about us – morale is high as this boat rocks!
Bye for now