7 Feb 2016

7/2/2016 : Wind's up in Key West

The weather this year is very unsettled, as everyone keeps telling us, and every few days a cold front comes ripping through from the north.  After a settled day and incredibly calm evening on Thursday ... we're talking almost no wind on Thursday night, at just gone midnight it was as though someone turned on a giant wind machine and a wall of wind hit us with wind speeds going from almost zero to over 50 knots in a matter of seconds .... it was quite bizarre.  Fortunately for us we're in a mooring field with another 100+ yachts and we all rode the storm out safely, maybe with the possible exception of the old yacht on the ball next to us which was there on Thursday evening as darkness fell but not there on Friday morning!  Strangely it had reappeared by Saturday morning looking undamaged, but quite where it had been for 24 hours, and why it was moved under the cover of darkness both times, escapes us.

We went into Key West yesterday morning to meet up with sailing friends Dan and Jackie once again.  On the dinghy ride in we passed one sunken yacht with just it's mast showing that hadn't been there on Thursday so obviously was a victim of its anchor dragging in the storm.

Paul was hoping we'd find a bar showing the England Scotland rugby game but he was out of look and so, with the rain lashing down outside, we spent several happy hours with Dan and Jackie enjoying a drink or two and games of pool, well for the guys anyway.  The rain was set in for the day and so about 4.30pm Paul & I decided to head back to the boat ... a one and a half mile dinghy mile away.  There must have been a couple of inches of rain water in the bottom of the dinghy when we got back to it and the self-inflating life jackets had inflated themselves because of it!  New gas inflation cylinders needed!! Needless to say we were absolutely saturated by the rain and sea spray almost before we left the shelter of the harbour ... hilarious!

The next cold front is passing through as I type .... it started about 7am this morning and once against was almost instantaneous stormforce wind conditions.  Paul switched on the instruments and it was measuring 56 knots, so over 70mph so it will be another day on board.  I don't know whether it is the El Nino affect or what, but the weather patterns are pretty wild.  Looking at the wider and longer-term forecast, there are a series of lows trying to push south towards us but a high sitting over the Caribbean is deflecting them, meaning we only are being hit by the edge of the weather .... 70mph is the edge, heaven knows what it's like in the middle of it.  Anyway, another one will push through on Monday night and then it seems to be reasonably settled for a few days and so we're hoping to head off to the Bahamas at some point on Tuesday.  Surely settled weather has to be just around the corner?!!!