Friday, November 8, 2019

Pearl Bayou to Apalachicola

I don't know about you but I love thunderstorms. There's something exciting and yet soothing about the flicker of lightning followed by the slow rolling rumble of thunder. Add the sound of some rain and, well, what can I say.

But they are a different kind of beast when your "on the hook." Like last night.

Safety on anchor is largely about your rode, and specifically how much you have. (I'm sure I've mentioned this before so feel free to skip ahead a paragraph). How much you need is correlated to how deep is the water you're anchored in. We were anchored in water 10 feet deep, and the chain is another five feet above that (where it comes off the boat) so the magic number is 15. If the night is calm, or if you're just hanging out for a lunch, you only need a 5 to 1 ratio of rode. So, in this case, 15 x 5 = 75 feet. If you think you'll get some winds, that goes up to a 7 to 1 ratio (105 feet). If you're trying to ride out a hurricane, that's 10 to 1.

Angry clouds forming at sunset lat night
The weather predictions said we might get rain and a possible thunderstorm. We were, however, in a protected bay. With that we set the anchor hard and put out 75 feet of rode, which is chain for us. The night was warm so we left the windows open on the boat.

Miles of broken trees along the channel
About 10:30pm I woke to the sound of thunder (much like Bob Seger). I heard just a little rain so I poked Russ awake and he closed the windows. By 11 the sky was filled with bright flashes and big cracks of thunder. The wind blew like crazy (I'm sure we did 360s in the night), and rain pummeled the windows. By 11:30 we did a quick check to see if any windows were leaking given the amount of rain -- and none were, which totally shocked us. Russ also checked the anchor monitor to make sure we weren't dragging anywhere, like into some of the other boats. He was worried we didn't put out enough chain after all. We held firm all night. The storm raged until well after midnight. 

We got up early, bleary eyed from the lack of sleep, but did our usually coffee and breakfast before engine checks and heading out. The skies remained gray and the wind blew steady, not much of an issue since we were staying in channels most of the day. The radio was filled with small craft advisories for anyone going outside. Moreover, this part of the trip is through the path of hurricane Michael, just over a year ago. It's still crazy devastated here.

Abandoned boats and busted homes were everywhere.
I told my friends I felt like I
was whistling past the graveyard here.
Thankfully the day was shorter, although we crossed back into the Eastern time zone, promptly losing the hour we just gained two weeks ago. And the wind made docking a breeze (I'm so funny!) since all I had to do was line the boat up to the pier and wait for the wind to push us right in.

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