Saturday, October 27, 2012

Ha'afeva Fury

We should have left with our friends two days ago...but we supported the local economy by having some laundry washed here and that delayed us from departing with them. They managed to hide away in a lagoon like anchorage nestled between three islands where there was no roll from the seas. We had every intention of following in their wake the next morning – but the weather wasn't very good. We felt we needed good visibility to sneak into this spot because of all the reefs and it was raining, grey and windy. So we waited with the hope it would clear by noon or 1300 (1 pm). It didn't – the weather deteriorated as the day progressed. In hindsight, we should have escaped first thing in the morning. Our buddies offered to help us get into the lagoon. But we hate putting people out on our behalf so we stayed here. We are the only boat here.

The day was filled with lots and lots of torrential rain, changing wind speeds and directions and we watched as the barometer plummeted from 1007.6 to 1002.4 in less than three hours. That's fast – and it showed. The skies were very dark and the winds were steady 20-25 all afternoon shifting from the normal east to north then to the northwest.

Then it hit! We watched the barometer drop quickly and a microburst , the front or something hit us right when the barometer was at its lowest point. The wind built very quickly and Michael saw 40 plus and our anemometer registered a maximum of 56 knots of wind. The boat heeled way over, Michael started the engine and we watched and hoped the anchor would hold. We now had a lee shore with a reef behind us. .so holding was now even more critical with less room to drag. We also lost our anchor floats (the floats we tie to the anchor chain to float the chain off the corals). We watched them float away. Don't know yet if the line or the hook broke. They were still tied together and we watched them get to the shore!

Now all is calm. The wind passed. The rain stopped. The barometer is 1010.1 now. It has settled and our favorite roll is back. We will leave this morning for the calm and quiet anchorage where our friends have had some good nights rest! All is well on the good ship Astarte – she did good as did our anchor set. It gives us confidence in the gear.

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