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Friday, June 15, 2012

Not So Fair Weather and Fishes

A couple of posts ago I mentioned the magic of radar – the equipment’s gift at identifying storm cells long range so that we can change course to avoid them altogether.  And that is still true… except that the storm cells have gotten smarter. Much smarter! The last few nights we have had some pretty crappy weather.

We hurried out of Marina Ixtapa – our 1 night there costing us 714 pesos… roughly $50US. We didn’t use any electricity and we only filled up with 80 gallons of water. It’s an incredibly expensive marina, especially considering it is the summertime in the tropics and only fools like us are there. But, it was a great place for Jim to solve our fuel leak. And because we carry spare auto pilot parts he was also able to make Sybil, our auto pilot, more civil… and thankfully so because we really needed her to have her best face forward for what was ahead.

The squalls we encountered appeared out of nowhere-
Splotches on the radar popcorning into little bursts…
Growing rapidly...
and then suddenly converging to form a giant monster popcorn storm ball!
One after the other… we couldn’t change course to avoid them.
I kept thinking of Captain Ron’s words:
“It’s just a little squall. They come on ya fast and leave ya fast.”

But, on my watch around 2:30am we encountered a nasty tempest which clocked around and hit us from behind. I was soaking wet in my favorite raggedy dress… the one I never wear in public because it has holes and rips in embarrassing places – but it is ever so comfy – except when it gets soaking wet. The wind picked up – pelting rain right inside the cockpit. I picked up one of my beautiful new multi-purpose cockpit cushions and used it as a shield. I was drenched and the wind grew to 30 knots. – which is not necessarily a big deal to us except we have never encountered that with rain and lightening… in the pitch black of night… underway.

It was so dark that I couldn’t see the sea state – maybe that’s a good thing. But we passed 6 large container ships – some of them just a mile off. 
I think I hate that worse than the weather – 
big ships passing us in the night… 
can they see us? 
Will I have to flash our spotlight? 
Will they answer if I call them on the VHF? 
Oh... and those ships? I couldn't see those on the radar because the big, fat monster popcorn storm ball was hogging up the screen! 
But, those ships are very well lit and in the pitch black of night I saw them approaching from relatively far away. I think.

Good news... the next evening we caught our first tuna in 3 ½ years – a small Big Eye. Do you know how I KNOW it was a Big Eye? Because my kids identified it for me. My fish specialists. And they are never wrong when it comes to fish. And just in case they are... I didn't take any photos.

This was what was going on as we reeled it in:
Me: It's probably just a stupid Bonito.
Kid 1: No, it's not.
Me: OMG! Look! It's a shark!!
Kid 2: Mom, it's not a shark. It's too shiny.
Me: Oh.
Me Again: Oh! I think it's a Wahoo! OMG! We caught a Wahoo!
Kid 1: Mom! No! It's not a Wahoo.
(Kid 2 returns with fish identifying book and crosses to man who reels in fish)
Kid 2: It is clearly a Big Eye Tuna.
Me: OMG! We caught a tuna! We caught a tuna!
Kid 1: Mom... settle down.
Me: That's right - we caught a tuna! Uh huh! Uh huh! der-der-der-der... der-der... der-der - Don't touch this!
Kids 1 & 2: It's "CAN'T touch this!"
(Kids 1 & 2 cringe and do puking gestures)

So a little belittling from the swabs and getting wet and rolling around was worth the divine seared tuna dinner we had! We landed in La Cruz late this afternoon. Tomorrow? We're getting a grip on the insurance company and our repairs that still haven't been fixed from the accident in El Salvador.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the funny story and the laughs! Great way to start my day today.