Tuesday, February 2, 2010

God’s Bowling Tournament 2.2.10

We had the ‘Storm of the Season’ here in Tenacatita last night. And what a doosey!!!

Rain, rain go away!!

It rained most of the day which sucked as it seems we’ve been stuck on the boat for DAYS! The sun decided to peek out and the rain slowed down to a drizzle so Robert on S/V Harmony (The Mayor) announced we would hold the first ever ‘Bocce ball in the rain on the beach’ at 2pm. Sounds GREAT!! Sign me up. Michael and I were busy getting ourselves ready to go ashore – launching the dinghy, gathering the necessary items, trying not to forget everything. Michael was in the dinghy, holding onto the side of the boat waiting for me to get in while I was running around the boat looking for something. And suddenly, out of nowhere, the wind decided to pick back up again, spinning the boats 180 degrees. All in a minute or two! Then the wind continued to pick up. Bocce ball on the beach in the rain was cancelled…bummer!

Then as we were all trying to figure out what kind of weather we were going to get, Rita on S/V Overheated followed a transmission from the Port Captain's office in Barra de Navidad that alerted us to winds that would increase to 40knots (like 46-50mph winds) coming from the South to SE direction later in the afternoon/evening, then the winds would clock around and come from the South-Southwest direction before finally dying off in the late evening. There were about 30 boats in the anchorage and, of course, everyone had a different idea on what to do. Stay here or pull up anchor and head to the other side of the bay, go into Barra… So about 10 boats headed across the bay to another anchorage that would shelter them from the winds called La Manzanilla. We weren’t thrilled about being on a lee shore during the high winds but we were comfy with our anchor set and with the amount of room around our neighbors. You see, when the SSE winds hit us, the boat was facing out into open ocean meaning the back of the boat is facing the rocks which is called a lee shore - if your anchor fails, you will drag back into the rocks that are behind you. Or you end up on the beach. There's not a lot of reaction time when that happens. It's not a good situation and we usually try very hard to avoid being on a lee shore.

Anyway, we decided to stay. We knew our anchor was dug in tight and knew how we would swing with the boats around us. The winds continued from 2pm and really began to strengthen around 7pm or so. It was not uncomfortable at all, in fact, we were watching a movie and what got our attention was the lightning that was happening around us. We came up into the cockpit where it was raining cats & dogs and lightning was lighting up the mountains around us. It was really amazing.

Lightning around the Blue Bay Hotel in Tenacatita

And as we continued to watch, the lightning appeared more….and more! Fabulous, amazing lightning that looked like I could be back in the midwest. Now lightning is not good for boats and so it was a crazy, stressful time....but oh such a beautiful show! We have a large mountain to one side and the lightning was on the other side of the mountain and would light up so it would silouette the mountain and light up the other boats beside us like it was daylight. It was awesome - and the thunder was....thunderous!! Way cool. In trying to describe it, you’ve seen the newsreels about when we were at war with Iraq (the first time) and did a shock and awe one evening – bombs were going off everywhere and the light was flickering so much in the middle of the night you would swear it was daylight? That was how it was here. Amazing… I was able to pull some photos off the video and would you swear this boat was being hit by lightning?! And remember….this is in the middle of the night!

Lightning strike just behind S/V Qualchan

Crazy lightning just behind S/V Qualchan and S/V Eoney

Some of us crazy enough to leave our radio on were clowning around on the radio during the storm. When one of the closest, loudest, & brightest lightning & thunder happened right on top of us someone came on the radio with a “HELLO….Tenacatita!” And I couldn’t help myself….I jumped on with “Is this god?!” It went on from there and finally we were calling strikes and spares that God must have been bowling above our heads.

The big winds happened around 11:00 - it piped up from 20-25 knots to sustained 30-40 knots with gusts up to 70! (80 MPH!!) The lightning continued for HOURS! Around 12:30 or so the wind did what it was supposed to – whipped around from the SW and all of the boats were again spun around and the wind continued until 2:30 when it just completely stopped. Since we were tucked around the corner of the mountain in Tenacatita, we had no swells to worry about but we did have some fetch, though nothing uncomfortable, thankfully! I filmed some cool videos but it doesn’t seem to capture the small pulsing lightning – only the big hits. So the wind piped up, the anchor held, the rain POURED down on us - crazy, BUCKETS of rain for hours. And rained all night. After the wind stopped, there was no wind to point the boats, we swung sideways to the waves (which were really fetch, not swells) and we bounced around a little bit but not nearly as bad as in Chamela and we slept the rest of the night.

Those boats that went to La Manzanilla - they had it nice while the wind was coming from the SSE. But when it clocked around, now THEY were on a lee shore and were open to the swells that were coming in through the bay. (We're really tucked up inside a nice corner that limits our exposure to the swell) So it was Chamela all over for them - bouncing from side rail to side rail for hours. Many of the boats upped anchor and came right back over here in the middle of the night, it was so bad. It's been crazy weather out here this year!

Time to dry out! More to follow…


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