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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Naked Outside in the Rain @ 3 a.m.

See how smooth, even reflective Cane Garden Bay’s
surface is when we pulled in?

Glassy.  That’s the word we used to describe the water’s surface in Cane Garden Bay.  It was that calm.  Not only were there no waves, the wind was so still nearby wind generators were silenced by the stillness.


Of course, I knew it would rain.  The Dana-humidity-gage-rain-predictor’s proven pretty accurate in the tropics.  Add what looks like rainclouds and it simply becomes a question of when, and how much.
Photo taken about an hour before the rain began in
Cane Garden Bay.  Note the smooth surface still
prevailed?  The “bad religious postcard”
lighting caught my eye.
About 7 pm, mellow after an excellent BBQ supper enjoyed in our cockppit, the initial light rain felt good.  But I knew that was just the start.  Eventually Wayne, too, fled the cockpit for the shelter of our cabin, even though it was overly warm and stuffy as I closed the hatches to keep the rain out.  The rain beat down, yet there was no wind, and just a little chop.

As the night wore on, the chop became waves, pushing hard across the side of our boat, which rocked from the wave, then back again to right itself.  Back and forth.  Back and forth, like a large cradle on steroids.

About 3 am the waves became big and aggressive enough that various boat noises began to escalate, getting more and more distracting.

Slap-THWAK, slap-THWAK, slap-THWAK, protested the wires inside our main mast.  Nothing I could do about that; and I’ve learned to condition myself to be lulled by its background rythym – or so I tell myself.  Ditto the swish-swish of the curtains sliding back and forth along their tracks.

It was the other noises, the unidentified ones that I wanted to find and STOP.  This was worse than when we were getting bashed by waves while sailing close-hauled – and we were at anchor!

The first CLUNK-CLUNK sounded like it was coming from the companionway area.  I thought it might be outide the cabin.  It was dark and warm enough I did not let my lack of a nightie (or any more suitable attire) dissuade me from stepping out to look.  It was the propane tank that powered our BBQ dinner, slapping against the side of the cockpit.  Unwilling to restow it in the darkness and rain, I stopped its tinny clanking by slipping a cushion between it and the cockpit sidewall.

While I was out, I checked our position.  Though we were closer than we were earlier to the catamaran next to us, I could tell we were anchored as securely as the cat was attached to its mooring ball. 

Then I noticed a more muted THUMP-thump. The sound was coming from inside the cabin, near the companionway.  It was the hatch covers, rocking in their normally secure slot under the nav table.  Shoving a jacket sleeve between the hatchboard covers and their case silenced it.

Then there was a THUMP. THUMP. THUMP.  I figured it was either the dinghy or the side ladder or both, whacking the side of the boat with each violent rock.  A quick look over the side confirmed it was not the dinghy.  Grabbing our bimini struts and stanchions firmly to ensure my naked body didn’t land in the bay, I unclipped our safety line shackles from our backstay, and clipped the top one back into its safety position.  Then, nervously, I leaned over it to grab and yank our side ladder up and into its sailing position, hinged back with the lower safety line threaded between its last pair of rungs.  I breathed a sigh of relief that I did not get launched over in the process, and latched the lower safetly line shackle into place.

Ahhh, now even if I couldn’t stop the rocking, the boat would at last be quiet. I returned to the somewhat dry cabin – somewhat as our center hatch cover dribbles a little bit on our floor.  This is not a biggie.

But, the boat wasn’t quiet. 

A Roll-SLAM!  Roll-SLAM! Roll-SLAM, repetition taunted me.  I traced it to the bathroom.  Was it in the bathroom?  Or was I hearing it through the open side hatch, with its source somewhere on the side deck?  Aha!  It was a bottle in our medicine cabinet, flopped sideways, its rolling ending in a side-to-side slam against the cabinet walls.  Easy fix; toss it in our small bathroom sink; the next day, I found a plastic basket to snug it into within the cabinet.  The now audible softer but still annoying ZZZZZ-zzzzz, ZZZZZ-zzzzz of the shower curtain was stopped by securing it to one side with the chain and hook installed for that very purpose.  Later, Wayne re-attached it.

At last, I slipped back ito the v-berth, to rest, if not sleep.  A little cool from my wet foray, I pulled on a blanket, only to introduce yet another sound.  Roll-roll. Roll-roll. Roll-roll.  It was … ahem… a personal item along the v-berth rail.  I relocated a towel from a different part of the v-berth rail and stuffed it in to stop the latest rattle.

At last, I snuggled against Wayne.  He wears earplugs.  Every night.  Smart man.

We left Cane Bay very early, at first light, much earier than intended. Three other boats left the anchorage at the same time.  Wayne let me rest while he motored to our next destination.

“Six foot waves in the channel,” he said.  “Wind?” I asked.  “No wind, just waves.  I was up since 3 am, and playing the video game on my computer I was starting to get seasick.”

Wayne rarely gets nauseous.
Soper’s Hole is a deep harbor, mostly 60’ deep.
We tied up to a mooring ball long enough to
rest a little, grab a bite and check out.  Note
the sherbet-colored buildings?  Pink roofs,
and pastel lavender, orange and pistachio buildings.
About 5 ½ miles from Cane Garden Bay, Soper’s Hole, a mile-long marina which was not facing North, was calm.  Wet, but calm.  We proceeded to rest before checking out of the BVI.

Really, it’s hard to complain.  We hadn’t had close to that much rain since Rodney Bay, and that was 5 months ago (click here to find out what we did then).