The boat that is not us…..
Yet another first for us… since the beginning of the official storm season we regularly check for possible storm developments. Last week something started brewing early in the week and the talk poolside was always “what is it doing and where is it going”? By Wednesday afternoon the predictions were that it was going to develop into a tropical storm and/or hurricane and the path was unusually south so Grenada might be in the mix. By early Wednesday evening Port Louis Marina (our current port) sent out notices that it was initiating its hurricane plan and that boaters were advised to do the same. This includes stripping the sails, bimini, dodger, dinghies, removing everything from the deck and doubling up all dock lines. The response in the marina was mixed and many predicted it would veer north and miss us. Some boats began immediate preparations and some, the strong willed and experienced perhaps, did nothing. There was also a regular parade of boats into the marina from Wednesday to late Thursday evening with sailors coming from the north (which was the most likely path of “Tropical Depression 5) and others from anchorages around the islands. By late Thursday it appeared that there were maybe a dozen berths left in the entire 170 slip marina.
We held off our preparations until Thursday late morning. We left the bimini up (keeps the rain off whilst sitting on deck) and the wind would still be able to blow through. We decided to wrap the main sail well rather than taking it off. Since we had to take Napa II out of the water we spent a great deal of time cleaning her bottom! It was amazing (and a little depressing) to see how much slime, sludge and barnacles had built up in a month! We had all our preparations done in time to get to our aerobic class by 5:00pm. A last weather check before bed predicted that the storm was going to skirt by Grenada but a “storm watch” was still in effect for significant winds and gusts.
Friday morning we awoke (6 am) to the dead calm and heat. After a quick weather check we discovered that Tropical Storm Ernesto had indeed gone north and was currently over St. Lucia continuing its path eastward. So a sigh of relief – it was good practice though as we will be able to complete the process in a much speedier manner next time. In the clouds and sprinkles today we took advantage of the ‘bareboat’ and polished stainless and washed and replaced the dodger. We will hold off with the dinghy and jib sail for a bit. Last check there is a possibility of another cell forming off the coast of Cape Verde, Africa so we will wait and see what comes of it.