March Weather

Hello everyone,

All is well here aboard and we hope the same can be said for all of you up north. The spring should be showing up there soon and the snow must be on it’s way out.

We have just had a cold front through here and the temperatures have dropped. It was a classic cold front and I will try to describe exactly what happens.

The predominant winds here are from the east and south-east. And they blow 10 to 15 to 20 kns most of the time. When a cold front is approaching, coming in from Florida usually, things start to change. The winds will clock around towards the south,then south west and, finally, as the front approaches closer, the west. Usually by that time the winds have increased in speed. Rain may immediately proceed the actual edge of the front. And then the north winds start to howl. This always happens at night. The rigging shakes, and the wind generator zooms. Anchors, that have held for a week or more with the wind from an easterly direction, are suddenly wrenched around from the force of the wind. The good ones with enough chain out will re-set themselves and the boat will hold just fine. Some will let go. And then, the crew is left with the task of re-anchoring in the dark with rain and strong winds to complicate the issue. If they are awake, that is. Otherwise, their boat may drift with the wind and, usually, come in contact with another vessel. Or, the bottom. Neither are desirable.

This last front hit very suddenly. The winds preceding it had been extremely light. In fact, the no-seeums had attacked us in bed. The rain coming in the hatch woke us and we scurried to close the ports. It was 11:30. Then, instantly the wind went from light breezes to gale force from the north. Thirty, thirty-five, fourty knots were reported on the VHF radio. Our wind generator showed a steady 20 to 25 amp input to the batteries, with a peak of 30 amps seen. As we don’t have a wind speed indicator, that is how we judge the wind speed. One boat called a ‘mayday’ as their anchors had let go, one rode was wrapped around the prop and they were about to go on the rocks. Local boats went out to assist them, re-anchored the boat and took the people off. By the time that drama was over, it was 12:30 or 12:45. Our anchor had held firmly, as had those of vessels around us. It was time to try to get back to sleep.

The wind blew all of the following day. The wind generator continued to charge nicely. We made water for an hour, typed many e-mails, read and used lights freely. Now, it is the second day. We are starting to get a little stir-crazy. It is time to brave the winds and try for a run to town. The supply ship has come in and fresh vegetables are available.

Tomorrow we plan to start north, likely to Norman’s Cay. Then, on to Rose Island, near Nassau. And the third day, to Royal Island in Eleuthera. But, the weather may have something to say about that. We hear another cold front is heading our way. So, we may be stuck in Norman’s for a while. Who knows? Plans must always be fluid, living in this fluid environment.

Hugs to all and stay in touch. Love

Murray & Heather