Monday, November 7, 2016


Since we have been stateside and visiting with friends and family we have been asked many questions regarding our trip to Trinidad and living on a sailboat. I like answering these questions because the folks asking tend to be either surprised by the answers or completely underwhelmed by my response. It's interesting to hear what people think our lives are like down there.

This week I will list some of the questions we received since our return and give the answer.

#1. What was the scariest part of the trip?

Running out of beer. No, not really. Horrible yes, but not scary.

For me it was the Derecho in Georgetown, Exumas. Hurricane force winds surprised the harbour, whipping us around for hours while we were anchored close to shore. Our boat was heeled over and swinging from side to side giving us one horrible night we thought would end with us washed up on shore. The engine was running and we tried to steer into the wind to reduce the pressure on the anchor. This kept me at the helm the whole time, braced and tense. Boats were dragging their anchor and getting closer to us in the rain swept night. The waves in the protected harbor had reached at least four feet at times and the interior of the boat was getting trashed with stuff flying everywhere. The radio was alive with people asking for help and warning others about their plight. Spotlights and flashlight beams were blinking all over the place as well as air horns and shouts. Many boats were in trouble. Many different languages were spoken in panic and sadness that evening.

Image result for derecho
derecho (pronounced similar to "deh-REY-cho" in English, or pronounced phonetically as " ") is a widespread, long-lived wind storm. Derechos are associated with bands of rapidly moving showers or thunderstorms variously known as bow echoes, squall lines, or quasi-linear convective systems.

Deb and I were in the cockpit hanging on and begging our boat to handle the storm. We prayed our new Mantus anchor was as good as advertised and that our engine continued to run in this maelstrom. SV Kelly Nicole came through it all intact and secure. The Mantus anchor got a big kiss from the captain.

Our legs were like jelly and we were mentally exhausted after it all ended. We had a lot of cleaning up to do down below yet somehow that big pot of chili stayed on the stove top. Imagine if that had spilled? Our floor is already soaked with beer seawater and molasses so I guess chili would have added a nice touch. After checking all systems and the boats around us we began the cleanup. The chili was good even cold but the beer was excellent.

We got lucky that night. Others not so much. In my opinion this was the scariest part of the trip. In fact I told Debra that I think we just experienced the worst weather ever and it should be all good from here on out. We were scared but we were in control. Had we lost both the anchor and the engine it would have been a disaster as I am not sure we could have deployed the second anchor and got it to hold in time before we hit the shore.

We always play it safe but sometimes Mother Nature throws you a curve ball. We have had some other scary moments but the Derecho was probably number one.

More later.


St George's Grenada

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