Tuesday April 29, 2014
The last time we were in the Bahamas it seems like we could not keep ourselves out of the water with constant swimming, snorkeling, and spearing. I’m pretty sure by the time we made it to Jamaica we could have been classified as part fish. Now, after having traveled through the Central and NW parts of the Caribbean, we’ve found that the Bahamas truly does have some of the best water we’ve ever come across and we couldn’t wait to fall back into our old habits. Except, this year has been making doing that a bit difficult for us. Whether it’s because of bad weather or a busy schedule, we’ve only found ourselves in the water three times thus far. Once at Radio Beach in Bimini, once to unfortunately find out there was only sand and eel grass surrounding our boat in the Berry’s, and once just for a refreshing dip in Kidd’s Cove at Georgetown.
Wanting much more water time from this trip, we took a hint from Kim and Scott and made our next destination Lee Stocking Island, a place we were told has great snorkeling full of reefs and fish. After a tumultuous trip inside Adderley Cut where we were fighting wind against tide and bouncing around in the resulting whitecaps while trying to avoid the reefs just to the side of us, we made it into calmer waters and navigated the narrow channel that led to the mooring field where we chose to drop anchor instead. While it was still early enough in the day to get in the water and experience these activities we’d been sorely missing, the sky had become very overcast and looked like it was going to storm at any minute. The rest of the afternoon passed much of the same way and we agreed that any swimming or snorkeling would have to be put off until the next day.
This morning we woke up to the same dark skies and the same threats of rain. Since we had been greeted last night with a stunning sunset right at shark-thirty (that few hours just before and after sunrise and sunset when sharks are most prevalent), there were hopes that it would just need a few hours to roll over and we’d be enveloped by sunshine once more. Hopefully at a more shark friendly time of day. We settled into the settees and watched videos for a few hours to pass the morning and early afternoon.
Eventually caving to the urge to do something productive, which is usually pretty unheard of for me, I completed a round of sink laundry to get a couple of key items clean. It’s pretty sad when you have to start using swim suits as undergarments. Just as I had washed those and a few pairs of pajama shorts that I’ve been incessantly living in the past few days, I brought everything out to the lifelines to hang and dry when the wind really began picking up. For few minutes I was quite happy as I thought this might cut my drying time in half, until I poked my head out again five minutes later to see that the clothes pins didn’t look like they were going to hang on much longer and my beloved boy shorts were about to be lost to Lee Stocking Island forever. The winds also performed a quick shift, and those dark clouds that were supposed to pass to the south of us were now on their way over to say hi. It was pretty apparent. We were about to get hit with a big storm.
Just as we got all of the items off the lifelines and hanging from ports down below, the boat began bouncing up and down as the wind rushed in from the one direction we did not have protection from, causing whitecaps on the water. If we were not so sure of our 55 lb Rocna which we are still so in love with, I would have been worried that we were now pinned on a see shore with jagged rocks just a few hundred feet behind us, but knowing the chances of us dragging were very low, I just sat back to enjoy the show. The one I craved in Nassau but was never quite delivered without being blocks by dozens of buildings, but there was nothing shielding my view now. Through the next hour we enjoyed a thunder and lightning show, all the while with me in the cockpit as I watched the wind hang around 35 knots and gust into the 40’s. When the rain came in it was so blinding that at one point I could no longer even make out our neighboring boat, it lost to the haze that separated us.
Even though the major storm only lasted about an hour we had the same situation as the night before where skies stayed dark until just before sunset where I decided I would not let the day be completely ruined and enjoyed the sunny skies in the cockpit with a good book and my third to last beer (still in our fridge from Mexico, can you believe we didn’t buy any in the States?). I wish we could stay in this spot a bit longer to actually see what we came to see, but schedules are a pain and we need to keep moving north. Still taking all I could get from this anchorage though, I moved one of our sport-a-seats out to the bow of the boat after dinner when everything around us was pitch black except a thunderstorm off in the distance. I don’t think Matt will ever get over his uneasyness of being anywhere near them while we live on a boat, but I will always be awed by their beauty, and hey, if they’re going to come anyway I may as well have a front row seat to the show.
Is it just me who hates it when weather like this comes in. It means I am not going to get any rest what so ever. We have been lucky in that our anchor has always kept us where we are supposed to be but I have visions of it dragging, breaking or ripping the cleats out of the deck. I can never sleep yet my wife will sleep through anything without a worry.
Mark, when these storms do come through we prefer that they are during the day when we’re on the boat so that we can take action at a moment’s notice. But unless the winds are constantly over 40 (of which we had multiple instances in Isla Mujeres), then there has never been much need for concern with us. Usually we just settle in for a bumpy ride. 🙂
[…] There’s nothing I like more than sitting back and watching a thunderstorm come in. Â The sky growing black, clouds that appear like they’ll swallow you whole, and best of all, the bright bursts of lightning zigzagging though the sky. This seems the complete opposite of what someone living on a boat should enjoy, and although I prefer storms not to come anywhere near me while on passage, I do still love watching them roll in even while we’re at anchor. […]
[…] a short jump up from George Town was Lee Stocking Island. Â Known for it’s great reefs full of fish, we were extremely excited to get to an area where […]