Monday, June 25, 2012

Should I Stay or Should I Go Now


Unfortunately, we arrived in Roatan two days before the best weather window ever for heading to Panama. The winds were almost nonexistent and were even blowing on occasion from the south, and the seas were reminiscent of a Kansas prairie. Nothing was happening, which is the best way to travel a 200-mile bash to windward around a point that Columbus named Cabo Gracias A Dios (translation: thank goodness we made it around that one!) But we had just gotten here. Bettie needed some routine maintenance before we took her on a 600-mile jaunt, and we wanted a chance to see the island. 

And we've gotten a fair amount of stuff done while stationed off of French Harbor. We changed the oil,   did some battery maintenance, gave the outboard some love, shocked the water tanks, changed the fuel filters, fixed the reef point in the sail, and conquered the laundry mountain that was threatening to erupt and destroy us all. But we are once again in that weather pickle we know and love. Should we leave now and haul butt to Panama even though by the weekend the weather looks rougher? Should we stay and continue exploring the south coast of Roatan even though hurricane season is now a month in? Should we be so squeamish about sailing through six to eight foot seas with gusts up to 30-35 knots? Plus, we have to make it to Panama by the end of July because our dear friend Matt will be waiting in Bocas del Toro for awesome fun times snorkeling, jungle hiking, beach lounging and performing as our own personal human juke box for sing-a-longs in the cockpit. 

They don't tell you in cruisers' school just exactly how difficult it is to pick your weather windows (maybe I should have sprung for the extra tutoring!), nor is it as obvious that weather reports are often completely and utterly wrong. On occasion I have longed to just surrender all independent thought to a some weather guru, and Vlad, the hedgehog and I could just sail off into the sunset with fair winds and following seas, under the graceful curve of a double rainbow. Alas, in cruising as in life, we have to make our own choices, and today we'll make ours.

At least we don't look too unhappy about it.


The folks over at the Picaroon Blog had some helpful thoughts on the ever-present weather topic. 






16 comments:

  1. I have to know what the 10 types of people in this world are.

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    1. Those that understand binary and those that don't.

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    2. I was wondering if anyone would pick up on that. :)

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  2. This was the week off our shakedown. Then TS Debby decided to play coy and I had to call it by Sat when the forecasts still were uncertain. I decided as much as we wanted to go not to mess with the storm so we put a hold on the shakedown. Debby decided to head east and pummel Florida. *sigh* Of course. Never mind, better than deciding to sail out and to have Debby decide to head west.

    Hope whatever you decide works out for ya and more importantly, I hope you get confident in your decision making because that is the real lesson here- to not second guess once you make a decision. Fair winds Bettie!

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    1. Ah! That's tragic, Cidnie! But you made the right choice. There's no sense putting your boat in the path of a possible tropical storm.

      I think we are getting better at trusting our decision making or at least realizing that the weather is what it is. Just don't go out when you know it will be bad. Still, we are definitely not there yet!

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  3. Sounds like you are getting a lot done in a beautiful place.

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    1. It's been great. And hot. And great! Oh, and congratulations on your wedding! St. Lucia looks like an amazing spot.

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  4. I'd head over to the rio plantano if you can and look at the mangroves and the reef. Very cool place. I've been in a hurricane on land. In a big concrete hotel. No fun. Can't even ever imagine doing it on a small sailboat!!

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    1. Thanks for the tip! If we decide to stay, we'll try to check it out.

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  5. If that's the only hard decision you are trying to make, then you are doing good! Love the photo of you two! Looks like you are having a great time.

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  6. So did you go or not? I'm still in Marathon but leaving this weekend for Miami for a few weeks then the Bahamas (Marsh Harbor). I'll be stopping off in Key Largo to dive the reefs. I'm excited about that...my first dive on a reef without an instructor annoying me with all the "do this...do this" stuff :) But they trained me well so I am very confident of diving, just a little worried about the boat being alone while I'm under it in a mooring field offshore.

    Don't sweat the season, that area is known for storms this time of year but they are weak so no big deal if you are anchored, just be VERY careful on when leaving as the storms form down there in June.

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    1. Franklin! So good to hear from you, and glad to know you're still living it up in Florida. We did wind up leaving but we couldn't post because the internet in Honduras decided to quit on us. But we made it into Providencia on Sunday!

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  7. Can't you take short day hops east so it's not so bad...say to Trujillo, then the preserve and then Puerto Lempira?

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    1. You can, but we had a decent weather window with light winds coming out of the east and even the south instead of the usual 20-25 knots directly on the nose. Plus, we just wanted to get it over with, so we could get down to Panama.

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