Friday, January 22, 2016

El Niño and its Wrath

A walk on the beach before the latest gale set in at
Long Bay, Green Turtle Cay
     So far this winter it seems Simple Life has been dodging the bulk of bad weather complements of El Niño that has plagued a swath of the much of the Bahamas as well as south Florida. Although, this last weekend after gale warnings were posted most boaters in Green Turtle Cay and the Abacos were installing chafe gear while checking anchors and lines. Fast moving storm clouds reminiscent of those I'd seen before the onset of a hurricane rushed by around nine o'clock Saturday morning ushering in an ominous aura of impending doom. While sipping coffee in the cockpit and assessing the look of things I suggested that Joe might consider dismantling the rain catching system before the storm arrived. He did and also shut down the wind generator. It free wheels when winds pick up over 30 knots and we were expecting gusts to 50 knots. No need to have blades overhead spinning out of control. I always imagine one of them flying off and imbedding in my brain. That's my inner voice in overtime, not exactly the eternal optimist.
Joe at Settlement Cove in Green Turtle Cay

     It was also time to relocate my garden and store the plants in the galley sink before they toppled over in wind gusts that began rocking the boat at a steady rate around 10:00 AM. A short time later a nearby boater announced over the VHF radio that a dinghy had taken flight and was moving by unoccupied in the sound. These things happen during the height of storms and sometimes later when things calm down after lines have chafed through during the blow.

Joe dinghied ashore this morning for eggs & bread before
the onset of high winds & squalls 

      It's not always a picnic out here. There are days when we're boat bound with no chance of going ashore. I don't mind though when we have adequate food stores on board. I am vigilant when it comes to supplys. We can't always run out for bread and milk before the unexpected onset of a gale like we used to during Rhode Island winters before snow storms.That was a practice instilled upon our young lives after experiencing the Blizzard of 78' when Rhode Islanders suffered through a week of no power in mid February with below freezing temperatures, no transportation, waist deep snow and food shortages. Since then a visit to any grocery store in Rhode Island prior to any storm forecast albeit winter or summer will reveal empty shelves of bread and milk hours before the storm's arrival. It's strange to see this practice continue each year, but it's imbedded in Rhode Islanders' history. Kind of akin to our parents' accounts of The Great Depression, but in a weather format. Perhaps this explains my need for thorough provisioning aboard the Simple Life.
Stocking up at Sid's Grocery at the Green
Turtle Cay settlement

Sid's Grocery is an example of a large grocery store
in the Bahamas with three aisles of groceries!
     I have to admit that Joe and I eat well. This evening I prepared beef stroganoff with dried Shitake mushrooms I had stored onboard. There wasn't a fresh mushroom to be found on Green Turtle Cay. The mailboat that delivers fresh produce and other supplies wasn't able to negotiate the Whale Cay Cut due to rough seas for over two weeks! I was skeptical at the dinner's outcome. I wasn't certain the mushrooms would enhance the recipe, but the meal was surprisingly delicious. Whenever I use an item in our food stores, I replace it regardless of when it might be used again. That way I'm able to plan meals as easily as if I lived on land. I think of Simple Life as my large pantry where I squirrel things away. My only problem is that much like the squirrels sometimes it's hard to remember where I've buried my acorns.

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