[Post in italics are always by Sian]
Lets talk about weather. How it is applied to our boating adventures. When we leave home dock we are looking in terms of, is it nice enough to steer from up top? Is it a jeans day or a shorts day? Or even , can we run outside or is it an Intracoastal day? All decisions made quickly and generally without too much angst.
Then we start reading the forecasts from multiple sources. As we are a week away from our Bahamas crossing the reading is a type of overview. As in “weather looks unsettled mid week but let’s just see when we get there. “The closer we get to our departure point the more we pour over every word, reminding ourselves “it’s a forecast, not a guarantee”
When we arrive, this time at Riviera Beach, the weather is not looking appealing for a couple of days. That’s okay, time for Covid tests and fresh food provisioning, no big deal.
Now the weather as a topic of conversation is front and center with friends and strangers alike. Who’s forecast do you like? what are you thinking about a crossing? Why are the forecasts dissimilar and WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN? We call boating friends, others call us and we discuss weather. Neighbors text and email?” it’s not looking good, what are your plans?” We examine charts for wave heights, wave frequency, wind speeds, when is the next front coming in? remembering its all a prediction. And then we do it all again. And again, looking for the elusive word that will lead us to a safe decision.
Now we are being delayed by nearly a week and even though there is no schedule to keep to its still a bit anxiety provoking. Is the north route (Lake Worth to Grand Bahama) more settled than the south (Miami to Bimini) should we move our staging point? What time is it? is the 6am forecast out, how long until the next update and why isn’t this guy similar in his forecast to the rest, does that make him more right or vice versa?
Add to this transient dockage is not as flexible as we have seen it in previous years. During Covid everyone and his brother bought a boat so they all have to sit somewhere. The upcoming West Palm beach boat show and inclement weather for travel adds more boats to this area making marinas very busy places. Can we find space at the inn? If not here ,where. And when we eventually can depart how far are we from our best departure point. As a slow boat this time of year every minute of daylight counts!