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Sitting Waiting for the Storm

Current Location: Port Egmont, Grenada
Current Position: 12 0.79 N 061 43.46 W Click to view map.
Distance sailed since last post: 3 nautical miles. View the map of our voyage track here

Port Egmont, Grenada

Waiting for Tropical Storm Tomas in Port Egmont, Grenada

So, after sitting out the hurricane season in Canada, here we are in a sheltered little lagoon in Grenada waiting for Tropical Storm Tomas to arrive. Here’s what happened:

Yesterday, in Prickly Bay, I was working on the electrics and Ceu was doing a wonderful job of removing rust stains from the hull. We were getting ready to go into the dock first thing the next morning to have Tech Nick install the wind generator. Ceu comments that we must be missing out on a party somewhere, as at least 5 boats have upped and left the bay.

And then we discovered there was a ‘disturbance’ on the way, and headed for us.

An examination of the National Hurricane Center’s forecasts and advisories, and various other sources (see our Weather page) indicated that this tropical wave had a near 100% chance of developing into a tropical storm and, at the time, appeared to be heading straight towards us.

Now Grenada doesn’t get hurricanes. It had one in 1959 (first one on record) and Ivan in 2004, and that’s it. Which, of course, is why we were here over the summer. Not only that, but the hurricane season, which starts in June and ends at the end of November, tends to have Atlantic hurricanes during the first part, and then Caribbean (ie west of us) hurricanes after that. So, this late in the season it should all be over for the islands.

But, as you know, it ain’t over till the fat lady sings…

The problem with this little corner of the Caribbean is that things sometimes brew up without much warning just north of South America, and then head westward. Normally they don’t do much. In fact, we have had several such waves pass through this season, some of which later turned into storms or hurricanes mid Caribbean, but did nothing more than dump a lot of rain on Grenada.

But Tomas, ah, Tomas seems to be a bit more vigorous. Already in his short life he has become a Tropical Storm with winds gusting as high as 84mph. He has plowed through Barbados causing some damage there, and is pressing on westward. But I get ahead of myself.

So, here we are, boat in pieces with tools and cleaning fluids everywhere but, since Nick won’t be able to work at all if it pours with rain, at 3pm we make the decision to move. But first I have to spend half an hour in Budget Marine getting a piece of chain cut for our new 4th anchor, a Fortress 37. Eventually they figure it out. Actually, they don’t. But I spot a length of offcut that is just right, so I take that instead.

Dash back to the boat, haul up the anchor, and let’s get going.

This time we didn’t sail! Don’t need another 5 hour sail to travel 3 miles east and arrive in the dark.

By 4:30pm we had nudged our way into Port Egmont and found all our neighbours from Prickly Bay who had left that morning! We found a spot between them and laid out 3 anchors in different directions. We are anchored right at the northern tip, just before the bridge. As you can see, Port Egmont isn’t actually a port, it is actually a nicely enclosed lagoon tucked away at the end of a long inlet, so is very well protected from storms. Pretty little bay, with expensive houses all around. But because it is so enclosed, I don’t think swimming is recommended here. Oh well. But, as you can see, thanks to my fancy new phone, I can still upload a blog post!

Then we tidied up the decks, hoisted the dinghy onto its davits, and waited for the storm.

Now, you have to realize that it was a lovely cloudless night. Stars were out, and the was a flat calm with a nice glossy smooth sea. You would never know there was a storm on the way.

At 8pm the new forecast was talking about 3-5 inches of rain and probably upgrading it to a hurricane in the next 48 hours. We figured we had some nice peace of mind sitting in this protected cove – probably the best hurricane hole in Grenada, as it is completely enclosed by mangroves and high hills, and so protected from both waves and wind.

We went to bed and slept well.

This morning it is still calm, but the tiny wind has shifted to the north, in agreement with a coming cyclone.

Couldn’t get good reception on the radio, as we are so protected, but we do have my fancy new phone! So, off to the NHC and StormPulse again to see the latest.

And the good news is that the storm is further north. Having passed through Barbados it is now headed for between St. Vincent and St, Lucia, and so should pass quite a way north of us. That has two beneficial effects.

  1. It means we are in the southern semicircle, also known as the navigable semicircle, as it gets less winds than the northern sectors and,
  2. At this distance probably the most we will get will be gale force winds, which is not too much concern. As for the rain, well it will be interesting to see what we get. Should know in a few hours!

Then, after all is said and done, I guess we will go back to Prickly Bay and get that generator installed 🙂

Another adventure in paradise.

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