How We Survived Our First Storm

It has been exactly one month since we are in 3D Boatyard in Key West, Florida working on our newly acquired catamaran Fata Morgana, getting her ready for liveaboard and cruising. Since one month, we are hearing people talking about “hurricane season”. Our neighbor  Dale in the wooden boat on our starboard side said that the hurricane season officially starts May 1. It started a day later.

On Thursday, May2, a storm hit us, totally unexpected, unpredicted, and unannounced. Our first ever Tropical Storm.

Around 10 in the morning the sky became dark and thick with mean hefty clouds like a herd of buffalos galloping from the northeast at 40 miles per hour, coming straight at us. We closed all hatches and doors. Suddenly massive sheet of rain and fierce winds swooped over the boatyard. The few trees next to the fence almost let go of the ground and flew away. Hell, our catamaran Fata Morgana gently perched on four wooden crates almost flew away, shaking and jerking like a freight train. At times I thought we were airborne, it felt like it. There were lightening followed by impressive explosions so loud and so near us it seemed we were caught under cross artillery fire. Small rivers formed quickly around the boats, puddles transformed into lakes. The earth became liquid. “Good thing we are in a boat”, I kept thinking, “We might as well float away.”

Then the winds calmed down, the rain almost stopped, and we thought the storm was over. Lasted just about a few minutes, we thought. But the clouds kept moving above us, darker and fuller, lower and faster, and it hit us again. And again. And again… Every time: heavier rains and stronger winds from a different direction. The monster kept roaring, attacking, retreating, and coming back again more ferocious and bloodthirsty. It swirled around and hit us five times in five interminable hours, giving us a few false hopes during the short calm intervals of a minute or two. “Please stop, that’s enough”, I pleaded whoever was in charge of the storm. “I am scared”. I get an electric flash of blinding blue light in the face and a mighty thunder for a response.

At one point the jib of the boat behind us, a big fifty feet sloop, unfurled with much noise and started thrashing about. Looked like some maniac in a bridal dress dancing before a sacrifice. Ivo and Jessie, the young guy from the boat next to the sloop, run aboard, as the owners were not there, to furl the jib. The whole boat shaking, and with the wind pushing the open sail, she would surely tip over and crash to the ground. But they saved her.

Ivo and Jessie furling the jib

Ivo and Jessie furling the jib

The storm lasted so long, that after a while I stopped being so afraid and accepted the future, whatever it was. I even started enjoying this uncontrollable display of energy and might. Nature at her best: raging, exploding, attacking, devouring.

Then the sky brightened, the wind calmed down and life was beautiful again. Even more beautiful than usual; it was perfect.

The Boatyard after the Storm

The Boatyard after the Storm

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Categories: Key West Florida, Our Journey | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

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11 thoughts on “How We Survived Our First Storm

  1. Great story! I’d advise you to research hurricane season much more. Being from Louisiana, I’ve lived through MANY a hurricane on land, and it was very frightening even then. I met a sailor once who was alone on this boat (in the water) during a bad storm, and he was very lucky to have lived through several water spouts agitating his boat at once.

    Very exciting, but I need you all to live and do well so I can continue to read your stories! 🙂

    Love this sentence: “The few trees next to the fence almost let go of the ground and flew away.”

    Thank you for sharing!

    • Thank you! For your interest AND your advice!!

      Hurricane Season is something that scares me a lot, and I ask everyone I meet where would be safest to be, and everyone, sailors with lots of experience, tell me different things… But I guess we will have to be prepared and check the weather forecast constantly….Although this storm was truly unannounced and surprised everybody…

      We will be careful though, I promise, and will try to research more the subject, as you are saying…

      Louisiana…you really must have seen storms a lot…

      I wonder how is it going to be on the water…we’ll see..

      Thanks again for your kind words!

  2. As you move from land to water you will find yourselves checking the weather like you check the time. It is true. There was warning in that storm you just had (albeit very little warning)…I saw it coming and I am in the Chesapeake. As you get more involved in looking at the weather you will see more. Just wait until you go through a storm like that on the water, with the sound of thunder moving through the and vibrating the hull! Now THAT isn’t something you won’t forget!

    And yes…….there are so many various opinions on what to do during a hurricane. Ultimately not being in the area is the best way to avoid them. 🙂

    • Yes, we will have to learn a lot more about the weather, become more intimate with it. And we will, which is a good thing to me, it means we are moving closer to Nature.

      How was the storm on the Chesapeake?

      • We have had Nor’easterly winds for about a week here.. It is has been pushing cold air out of the north,so that storm never made it that far north. On the upside it hasn’t jumped from winter to summer so fast…but I sure could use some of that warmth from the south about now! I noticed your storm, and you will see yourselves doing this as well, because I don’t just look at what is going on right over my head, but look throughout the region. Our winds here are predominantly out of the South (which makes our summers crazy hot) so I look at Florida weather a lot.

        You will get to a point, after getting ‘intimate’ with it, where you will ‘feel’ how the weather is going to be. You will look at a service like NOAA and then step out on deck and say ‘that can’t be right’…..and you will check NOAA a couple hours later and see that it has changed. You will start to ‘feel’ the rains too. Mother Nature is speaking all the time….you just have to understand what she is saying. 🙂

      • this is beautiful, we need to learn Nature’s language than,and listen. It is unfortunate that today people have lost the ability to understand weather and rely on the tv or radio for a forecast. I guess living in a house is relatively safe and one does not need to be on the lookout for rain or wind ; having an AC and a heater is another thing. But being on a boat out at sea is a whole different situation.

  3. You have to love that calm after the storm. Glad to read the boat survived

  4. Beautiful picture of the “Aftermath” 🙂

  5. Mira, you write so beautifully!
    Stay safe out there in the wildness.

  6. Great post, after spending 18 months on the hard in our catamaran when we first bought her, I know the fear of getting airbourne and taking off! Glad you made it through and look forward to watching your journey progress.
    Terry

  7. Nancy&pierrot

    Everything seems out of controle when one element is out of controle ….thank god for fear at times, it makes us realize…The wind was talking and, Needed to be heard. You listened….
    God bless

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