Sunday, September 7, 2008

Dodging Hurricanes & Fitting Davits

Chaguaramas Bay, Trinidad
10 40.6N 61 38.3W

We are now safely back on a mooring after a very eventful week!

In order for Mitchell the welder to fit our new davits we had to come into a marina for a few days. First disaster was a minor misjudgement on the way in and we made very slow contact with the boat in the next berth, normally not a problem but sadly on this occasion due to various freak reasons we bent their pushpit quite badly and so more work for the welder and a nice bill for us!

The next few days passed uneventfully, just lots of hard work in the blazing sun getting everything fitted on the boat, while I worked with the welders Linda finished working on the teak using the abundant fresh water to wash it all ready for the new coating as we have given up on varnish. Because of the 3 hurricanes in the Atlantic this week we got out of the usual rainy season weather pattern and had endless sunshine which really helped Mitchell get the work done, even if we all fried!

By Friday the welding was done and by Saturday night we had installed the solar panels and wind generator so were feeling very happy and ready to spend Sunday doing a final clean up before going for a sail.

Sunday dawned clear and sunny but at lunch time we got a pretty strong system of squalls through associated with Hurricane Ike and within 15 minutes we went from all well in the world to fighting tooth and nail to keep the boat in one piece. Chaguaramas Bay is well protected from the prevailing winds, but these storms set up a big swell that came rolling in from the SW and straight through the marina. Matsu (and all the other boats) started to roll and surge in the pen like a mad thing. The force of the waves was astonishing, rigs were clashing as the boats rolled, and then the boats on either side broke their mooring lines. We dashed around madly in the lashing rain retying them before they could crush us, and then we had to stand on the dock watching Matsu fight against her lines, hoping that nothing more would break or else she would be pounded to a pulp against the dock.

After 3 hours of hell it subsided enough for us to get out of the marina having astonishingly not sustained any damage. Several other boats had broken cleats, damage to rigs etc etc. One miracle was that every canister in the galley was on the floor, but the lids stayed on so rather than a soup of flour, rice etc etc we were intact!

We picked up the mooring and fell into bed exhausted but relieved. Oh yeah and I think we have davits.
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