May 06, 2009

Squall in the Dark

We headed out from Los Roques at 4pm on route to Bonaire. Winds were light and the seas were calm. It was a beautiful downwind sail. The only problem was that off in the distance on the Venezuelan coast the sky was dark. You could tell they were getting rain. As the night set in you could see the sky light up with the lightening. It really freaked me out. Amelia assured me that if I couldn't hear the thunder than we were ok. I managed to relax a bit and tried to enjoy the sail.

The kids went to bed and Graham and I took turns on watch. At about 4:15am Graham woke me up with a start. He told me that the winds had all of a sudden picked up and switched directions and that we needed to get the Genoa down asap and reef the main. I was in a deep sleep and really disorientated. As he said this the torrential rain set in. We were soaked to the bone in seconds and bringing in the genoa. I then had to turn Artemo directly into the wind and big seas while Graham reefed the main.

My heart was thumping. I got Artemo turned back in the general direction and it was still pouring like you have never seen and the wind was howling and it was pitch dark, except for when the sky illuminated with the lightening. We had to move the navigation computer down below because rain was coming from all directions. While I was down below I grabbed one of our books and quickly looked in the index for lightening and opened to the appropriate page. What I read gave me ZERO comfort. I threw the book down and headed back on deck.

Graham asked me to put the computer at the back in the kids room and yell directions at him from there so that we could minimize water getting below. I did just that. There I was in between two sleeping kids, yelling, "5 more to starboard".

Once Artemo was holding course I started to feel a little guilty and dry down below but not guilty enough I guess because I accidentally fell asleep! Imagine Graham's angry face after he has yelled for me and knocked for me and finally opens the companionway door to find me sleeping! Very funny!

Finally the rain subsided and the sun came up and we could see land! At this point you might think that Graham would rest or dry off? NOPE, he made me a cappuccino! Nothing says I love you more than a cappuccino!

The kids didn't wake up til we had tied up to our mooring ball. They came up on deck all smiles, waving at our neighbors. We had arrived in yet another beautiful destination!


  1. OMG, I don't know what my reaction would be if Jen woke me up in the middle of the night and said that she needed to get the Genoa down!

    I can't believe you fell asleep when GP was struggling out in the rain!

    I am glad that you have nice days to break up the night terrors :)

  2. Ha, you fell asleep....I guess you're getting more comfortable sailing through storms!

    Hope you have Internet soon!

  3. OMG I can not believe you fell asleep. I was terrified just reading this blogg.How did you possibly sleep through all of that?
    I am with Rob that is night terror for sure. The video was soooo good. I sat the computer on the table and showed all my parents the video as they came in. Loved the music it just made it. That fish was ugly and the eyes...gross
    One of my moms said Those people look so relaxed...what a life wish it were me. she is right you guys look great and so relaxed.