2015 NOV – HURRICANE SANDRA

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Wed November 25th Hurricane Sandra

Wednesday at 2:00pm
I have been monitoring Tropical Storm Sandra coming up the Mexican coast for the last 2 or 3 days. Sandra is expected to harden into the Cat 3 hurricane today.

I have been hoping that the hurricane would track west and head out to sea, and although it has tracked a little west, it still seems to be on course to curve around and whack PV. Meanwhile in anticipation of the advancing hurricane, they are predicting tropical thunderstorms in the next few days with the resulting high winds and waves.

I am out in the La Cruz anchorage so I let out more chain on my anchor. Remembering that my anchoring system failed last season, I also tied two lines onto the chain with rolling hitches to take up any strain should the bridle snap during the storm. I don’t expect it to, but then I didn’t expect it to the last time either. I also rigged a stern anchor so that should all else fail, I will deploy the stern anchor. Hopefully these are just precautions I am taking that will never need to materialize.

Are we having fun yet???
Wednesday at midnight

When I went to sleep the anchorage was a gentle place to be. No wind. Flat seas. The bay was utterly calm.

When I am at anchor I sleep very lightly; mostly because my life depends on it. I woke to this strange sound. I thought, why is my anchor making that weird noise? And I got up to investigate.

It was in fact a low grumbling thunder. The sky flickered with lightning, flickered and flickered. The light show was so bright and repetitive that I imagined it was a strobe going off. I checked. But it was no strobe; it was lightning flashes.

Then up came the wind. Howling.
And down came the rain. Gushing.
And pretty soon the flat sea was boiling and rolling. Who knew that the wind could create such big rollers in so short a time?

I couldn’t sleep through that storm so I sat in the cockpit and watched nature throw my boat around.

And as suddenly as it started, it ended.
The wind died.
The seas calmed.
And silence!

 

Thursday at midday

With the storms expected to increase in intensity today as Sandra got closer to PV, I decided it would be safest to move into the marina.

Firstly I had run out of water and without an engine I couldn’t run my water maker. So I was desperate to refill my water tanks.

Secondly my batteries are running low because I have been using them (lightly) for 8 days with no way to charge them. And I don’t want to destroy them by running them flat.

Thirdly, it really wasn’t smart being out in a busy anchorage with a boat with no engine and a hurricane approaching. If my boat dragged anchor I would be helpless to stop myself and I would endanger other boats.

Fourth, I really didn’t enjoy being at anchor during a storm. For some reason being at sea during a storm is not too scary because the boat is doing what is designed to do – sail. She just bobs above the waves like a cork. But at anchor in a storm the boat rears and bucks and is most unhappy being tied down. I opted for being tied to a dock instead.

So here I am in the marina.
And no storm in sight.
Just a light dusting of rain.

Hey! I’m not complaining…!

RARITIES AND RECORDS
1. Sandra became the latest Category 4 hurricane on record early Thursday morning for either the Eastern Pacific or the Atlantic basins.
2. In other words, Sandra is the strongest hurricane so late in the season.
3. There is no record of an intact depression or named storm making landfall on either Baja California or Mexico’s Pacific coast so late in the season. The previous late hurricane was Nov 1961, and Sandra will smash this record.
4. Sandra is the thirtieth Cat 3+ tropical cyclone of the year in the entire Northern Hemisphere, far exceeding the previous record of 23 such storms in 1997 and 2004.

This has been an active year for named, and unnamed, storms along the Mexican Pacific coast.

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