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MET GALE TONIGHT May 12, 2014

Posted by sailingnightwatch in Durbeck, FL, Florida, ICW, Pensacola, Repairs, Restoration, Sailing, Sailing the ICW.
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Almost a full gale, but more on that later. We arrived in St Kitts Monday evening on a holiday in which nothing was open. We ate dinner after a day with a wonderful sail to the island of St Kitts. We got to the west side of the island as the wind died. We therefore motored the last two hours.

Tuesday morning I went through one of those, ”not the best day” check-in with customs, immigration and the port people. It started with my following the instructions in my cruising guide. Wrong office. Got back into the dinghy and went about a mile away to the cruise ship facility. The custom people were friendly, but their computer was not. After several tries, and phone calls, they dough out the old form and stencil paper. Have not even seen the stuff in years. Good government, 3 copies. They filled it out by hand and all I had to do is sign…, all 3 copies.

Then on to immigration. One lady office listening to some gospel program straight out of W Virginia. Good old gospel songs. And she sang along. Good thing she has a day job. That went really well.

Off to the Port Office. They charge you a fee based on the size of your vessel and the number of people on board. Their computer was working, kind of, but there was a software glitch. The boss was talking on the phone with the computer people, the individual who was to do the work had 2 other pair of hands trying different things on her computer. There was this third person who was somewhere between the clerk and the boss. All three could not get the system to compute the fee on a boat twice. The guy in line in front of me with a smaller boat they wanted to charge $70. They wanted to charge me $15. That was fine by me but not the port people or the other boat owner. None of them had a clue about how the fees were calculated. I got away with what I felt was about right. I ran into the other guy a day later and he got his reduced some and feels he just contributed to a poor government in a poor country.

The capital of St Kitts is an industrial port. Not a nice place. We therefore moved to a bay about 4 miles south. It was very nice place with about 4 other cruisers anchored.

The next day we moved on to Nevis. They have mooring balls to tie too and those you pay for by the night. We were to leave Saturday, but the weather was to turn bad. There was a tropical wave interacting with a stall trough. About 10 pm the interaction got serious. The trades winds are from the east and we were on the west side of the island. This storm came out of the west, putting us on a lee shore. This means the beach was 150 yard behind us. It my mooring line broke or the mooring system failed we would be on the beach in no time. Not good. The wind pegged my instrument at 39kts with gusts into the lower 40’s. The seas were big enough to break over the bow on several occasions. I sat in the cockpit with the engine running so if things went south and I headed east, I could motor out to the west into a gale…. You should here me do “who’s on first”. It finally subsided about 12:30 am. The wind died to maybe 10-15kts and shifted about 90 degrees. That meant the seas were now on our beam. We rolled 35 degrees, back and forth almost till dawn. We took the cushions off the settees and put them on the floor to sleep, as best as one could. Things settled enough about 4 am to go to the john and climb into my bed. The mate felt it was still safer on the floor. I got up at first light and went out to look for damage. All was shipshape. The mooring line was stretched and twisted and had some ware spots, but all else was good. Sunday was pretty good and there was hope to move on.

Monday morning we decided to go to Montserrat for a couple days. This island is an active volcano that destroyed about a third of the island around 2005. It is still smoking, but has been quite for about 10 years. Never been on a live volcano before. Want to do that. We left our mooring about 8 am and headed south for the 30 mile trip. As we got to the southern end of Nevis, a squall started blowing and the seas were up again. This is not fun and after our Saturday night experience, I lay to and watch to see if it was a small local squall or something bigger. It was bigger, and we headed back to the mooring ball. The rest of the day has been rain, wind, calm, over and over again.

We have decided to skip Montserrat for the time being and go on to Antique. Till we have WIFI, keep us in your prayers. We may need it.

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