Friday, February 15, 2008

Another cold front.

Monday, Feb 11 Georgetown Marina (Exuma Docking Services) 23:30.2 N, 75:46 W
It must sound like whining to those dealing with 11 degrees and lots of frigid snow BUT this is NOT the vacation I would subject my family to. Chris Parker, the weather guru that people with Single Side Band radios listen to every morning, calls this "the most impressive cold front in two years" - it has lasted about 9 days in all. Whoopie.The wind began to really kick up Saturday night. We would have liked to go out to anchor but our busted starter on the starboard engine prevented our getting off the dock. The boat would have been better swinging around than tethered to immovable pilings. Lew found two more fenders at a store in town Saturday morning, thank heavens! Because between Saturday evening and Sunday night we blew out three of our original fenders, they are the bumpers boats use to protect the hull from the dock. Sunday was not a good day but Sunday night, Monday and Monday night were a nightmare. The wind varied between 25 and 40 knots (gale force is 35) and was slamming our boat against the dock, constantly. Monday evening the boat began to bang unexpectedly. The entire boat would shudder. We thought that it corresponded to low tide. Maybe the sands underneath us shifted in all the wave action and we were hitting bottom. Later, we found out from another boat in deeper water at the marina that they had been banging now and then, too. Now we think it was rogue waves breaking against our hull. Ouch!
Every few hours Lew and I would go out on deck and wrestle the fenders back into place between the boat and the piling. We were rubbing the piling so much that a 2" x 4" x 8' eventually gave way and either floated away or sunk. There are splinters all over our deck. That left us right up against the telephone pole-type piling. That's ok but still not good to be slammed against. We managed to gouge a groove into it about 2 feet long. We got SOME sleep Sunday night and the wind was a bit calmer Monday morning - maybe 25 knots.The good thing is that we were ok. We might need to have a diver check the bottom before we try to take off anywhere at all. The closest place we can have the boat hauled is Spanish Wells, a two day trip north, through about 12 hours of ocean chop, then weaving among inner parts of the Cays.If this "vacation" doesn't give us at least an equal amount of GOOD times we're going to have to rethink this whole Caribbean sailing fantasy. Of course all the boats had their own issues with the weather. Some were tucked into very protected harbors and just had to deal with whatever rocking the waves brought. However, we were all held captive on our boats, making sure anchors were not dragging or more fenders blown out.
On Monday, we were able to borrow two large fenders from “Bullet” which really helped and we were also able to contact Ft Lauderdale and have a new starter flown out on Tuesday. Wed consisted of putting the starter in, test it, get some supplies and get the H off that dock. Now at anchor across the harbor in light winds seems like a new beginning.

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