Posted by: suliere | May 9, 2013

A Night of Fright

9th May 2013

Paul rattled Lesley’s feet at 7.45am and  by 8 we were on our way leaving Little Farmers Cay behind us but taking our happy memories with us.  We sailed well for the first couple of hours but then things got a bit frisky for an hour and wind the dropped so we motor sailed.  As the wind picked up we sailed on a reefed genoa and full main doing the trip in some 6.5 hours as against the planned 8 hours so not bad going.

We  had planned to spend the night at anchor just south of Great Exuma as an overnight stop before heading off to the deserted Ragged Islands. In going over the  Explorer charts Lesley spotted the Rocky Point anchorage and Paul agreed that it was the best place to anchor.

Alone at Rocky Point

Alone at Rocky Point

Rocky Point was, as expected completely deserted,  we were now leaving the beaten path and heading off to a chain of  deserted Cays. Whilst at Oceans Cabin bar at Little Farmers Cay another cruiser was surprised to hear that we were heading off to the Ragged Islands saying “but there is nothing there”. Our response was that is exactly why we wanted to go there!  The cruising guides warned that sailing in the Ragged chain of Cays required experience and self reliance…… we had been warned and were well prepared finding the prospect exciting and challenging.

Arriving at Rocky point in the afternoon we set about relaxing and planned to have an early.  Lesley  absorbed herself  watching the mountainous clouds building all around us with an ominous glow and trying to get photos but nothing seemed to capture their magnitude .  By  4 pm as the skies darkened it was clear to see  ‘theres lightenin’ in them there clouds’  Thunder rumbling around us- GO AWAY! AWAY! ……. but there was nowhere else for us to go and no way of escaping what seemed to be as building thunderstorm on rather a large scale.

The clouds begin to darken

The clouds begin to darken

Truly an unforgettable night of thunder and lightening and we with our 74 ft of mast were the highest lightening conductor for many a mile. the interesting thing was that the clouds built to the left, to the right and seemed to meet up where they had passed us but overhead the sky remained clear- could we really be that lucky?

Small clouds begin to expand and tower above us on all sides

Small clouds begin to expand and tower above us on all sides

As dusk falls the clouds get darker and we can see lightening in them

As dusk falls the clouds get darker and we can see lightening in them with heavy rain Squalls

Well was like the charge of the Light Brigade, lightening in front of us, on each side of us and sometimes behind us.  Not just single bolts coming down to the water but spectacularly with multiple bolts at a time.  We sat and watched for hours with mixed feelings of awe, wonder and primal fear.  By 1am there was no sign of a reprieve so decided to head to bed to try and get some sleep (HA!).  We  put some of our precious electricals in to the microwave, dishwasher and washing machine ‘just in case’ – note to self- dont forget to remove aforementioned precious items before putting a load in!   We settled ourselves on the port stern bed making sure we kept clear of the sides and stayed  the foam mattress. The centre berths are right alongside the mast and hence possibly the best place to be if you wish to experience the lightening bolt as it fires its way down the mast,  through your  barbecued body and into the sea. Funny what pictures your imagination can conjure at such times!

There really is nothing much you can do in such circumstances except wait to see if you escape unscathed or not …. It’s a very helpless feeling. After many hours of Mother Nature showing off her awesome power we eventually drifted off to sleep.  It had been a scary night that had at times reminded us of our solitude and vulnerability.

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