Friday, March 24, 2023

June 3-5, 2022 Tropical storm prep and survival Eleuthera

 6-3 Friday The tropical storm is exiting Florida this weekend and predicted to pass by us to the west.  Since the winds move in a counter clockwise motion, we will be getting the wind from the south then west.  We are expected to get wind gusts up to 50 knots.  
On the  Beaufort Wind Scale, Gale is 34-40, Strong Gale is 41-47, Storm is 48-55, Violent storm is 56-63, and Hurricane is 64+.  
It’s common for us to see winds in the Gale force range.  But once it’s higher we take more precautions.  First we find a protected anchorage.  One of the reasons we came here a few days early was to get one of the best spots.  This gets to be a busy anchorage during bad weather.  To our surprise, we were the only boat here.  We actually like that because you don’t have to worry about another boat dragging their anchor and moving towards us.  On the other hand, where was everyone?  Either most boaters have returned to the United States by now, or they are in marinas.
We decided to set a second anchor to hold us in the higher winds.  This harbor has a soft sandy bottom, which is why boat’s anchors will drag if not set properly.  Luckily we had experience from anchoring in the muddy Missouri River in South Dakota.  
We store an extra anchor for storms like this.  Our Fortress anchor is stored unassembled, so Dave took it out of the lazerette and assembled it.  It was made of light weight aluminum.  This made it easier to use our dinghy to place it rather than using our boat.
Our original anchor was set to the south.  The second one was set at 90º towards the southwest.

First Dave took it to the bow and attached the anchor rope rode to 2 cleats, port and starboard.  He had to maneuver it around the original anchor chain so hopefully they wouldn’t tangle.  At the helm, I put our boat in reverse to straighten out the anchor chain for the original anchor.  Over the past few days, we had moved with the tide or wind.  And we wanted this anchor to hold us in the south wind.


Next Dave pulled the dinghy along side the bow, and I lowered the anchor to him.  He took the dingy away from our boat and dropped the anchor 90º to the west.  When he came back to the boat, we had to be sure that anchor was set (dug into the bottom).  I was at the helm with the engine is reverse trying to swing the boat away from the second anchor.  Dave was pushing the boat with the dinghy.  Then he went back out to the anchor to see if it was set.  We were satisfied.  


 That afternoon, Dave sewed the edge of our Bahamian flag.  This was the second one we used in the windy 3 months we had been here.  This one only has to last another week.


We had several conch shells sitting in the cockpit.  They needed to be packaged and stored below for the storm and our passage back to the states.  I had saved egg cartons for this reason.  I wrapped and taped each one with the egg cartons and paper towels and bagged them.

Dave tried a new recipe for chicken wings.  He grilled them with a light breading and then tossed them in a Thai BBQ sauce.  They were delicious!!  In the Bahamas, we throw our food garage overboard.  It creates less bagged garbage and eliminates food garbage odor.  Tonight when we threw the chicken bones overboard, there were several remora under our boat chasing after them.  Dave decided he wanted to try to spear one.  He did hit a few of them and had fun with the fight.  He accidentally dropped a spear during the ruckus.  I marked our location on my phone navigation app.  We’ll have to wait until after the storm to retrieve it.  

Dave put up a fly strip.  they swarm when you cook outside

 We talked to our friends, Bill and Margaret, who had left the Bahamas and were back in Brunswick, GA.  They wanted to see where we were, and if we were safe.  They were familiar with the harbor where we were anchored and were also surprised that no one else was there.  But agreed that it was a good thing.  We were comfortable with being by ourselves.  
6-4 Saturday We felt ready to hunker down for the storm.  It was windier today, but ok.  We spent the day watching movies and checking our position.  We could see waves breaking at the entrance of the Harbour. 

It rained off and on, so we spent a good part of our time opening and closing windows.  
We lost our wifi around noon, so we couldn’t get anymore weather updates.  Maybe there was an issue with the local tower.
6-5 Sunday. I woke about 6:00am with heavy rain and wind from the south west, the direction of our 2nd anchor.  Dave slept through it, so I made a video. 


By 7:00am we had the first sunshine in about 24 hours.  It turned out to be a nice day.  

Dave cleaned the raw water screen for our engine in preparation for heading back to the States.  Brian Killion is our float plan contact.  We sent him a message on our In Reach device to let him know we were ok after the storm, since we still didn’t have any wifi or phone service to contact anyone.  The storm is still moving through the area, so we are waiting for a good weather window to head back to the states and to decide which route to take.  Dave actually played cards with me today, something he doesn’t care to do anymore.  Later, I played the card game Malice by myself and just played both hands.  That’s a new low in boredom.

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