Monday, December 4, 2006

All Dressed Up?

Well, you probably know the feeling. You got all the right camping gear together. You made sure the car was serviced and filled with gas. You carefully loaded all the gear in the car leaving just enough room to squeeze in the kids. You have two weeks of food stashed about, including some special steaks on ice. The ice will last exactly two days. You have neighbours lined up to look after the house and the dog has been put in the kennel. You recorded an absence message on your work phone and e-mail - no one expects you to show up on Monday. And it is raining. Not just raining, but coming down in streams - the proverbial cats and dogs. And on the Weather Channel, smiling faces are telling you just how heavy the rains are and how they are going to continue for the next week. They are quite cheerful about it. The cloud coverage is wide and a new trough is forming, promising more miserable weather the following week. They are excited about the trough. They have not seen one this early in the year before. Maybe there will even be some flooding they explain, somewhat gleefully, anticipating some "on the spot coverage". You begin to develop an intense dislike for the Weather Channel!

Well, in yachty terms, mate, you have just missed your weather window. We are still sitting in Trinidad. The hurricane season has just ended. The dry season is supposed to begin in a few weeks. We are on the cusp and the times - they are a-changing! Our boat is ready to leave. We have provisioned, fueled and watered. Vagus is as low in the water as she ever gets. We are ready to leave. Our air conditioner left today so we are REALLY ready to leave. But ... and this is a big BUT ... the weather does not appreciate all our hard efforts over the past week and insists on changing her mind on a daily basis. Wednesday looks good to leave ... nope, now it doesn't ... well maybe, yes it does ... nope there it goes again. Our first sail of the year involves an 80 mile overnight trip on the roughest water that we hope to encounter this season. We want to get it right. We do like our comfort. This sail, however, does not usually move into the comfort category - at best i
t is "tolerably endurable". First, we had set our sights on a run up to Carriacou - a two island passage. It does not look like this will be possible so we may head for a one island passage instead - to Prickly Bay in Grenada. The weather window that is coming up does not look like it will last long enough for us to do the two island hop. Not a big problem - Prickly Bay is a great spot to hang out. We just need to get away from a dock and be able to swing free at anchor, and to get this 80 mile passage behind us. Why do we not wait longer? - well it may not get better than this. Around the end of December, the Christmas Winds fill in - 20 to 25 knot trade winds that have a North component and make going North beyond our "tolerable endurance" level. So we want to move as soon as we can. Next Wednesday, based on the weather gurus, looks like THE day. We will see what they say tomorrow.

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