Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Back to the H's of St. Maarten

We packed up our 10 bag limit (thanks Air France) and moved across the Atlantic. One thing I've learned is that life with the Wild Wrights is really wild!!!. We're happy to be back and we're busting to get a look at Odessa... she's been alone in a dusty yard, with her long slender keel un-ceremonially stuffed in a hole in the ground... memories of "The pit of despair"come flooding back!

Our first day back and Earl the first major hurricane of the season is on it's way. That is the first hurdle, no time to lose, we have to get the boat tied down and secure for the storm. It is nice to be back in paradise.

The second hurdle is the heat that makes you sweat like a personal monsoon. We're learning to live with out air conditioning. Many times we jump in the water to cool off. You'll not believe it, but you do get use to not having A/C, and when you walk into a supermarket it's like a dream... something special besides the food.

So you live with the hurricanes and heat in the tropics during the summer... but the nice thing is that it's quiet and only the locals are milling around, and you feel like one of the family. The other great thing about this time of year for cruisers, is that you can get work done, negotiate prices and are left in peace to skulk around looking for deals on winches, water-makers and pretty much anything while the tourists are gone and local worries about the next tourist season float around the bars.

The clouds move in and Odessa is strapped down as best she can be... only time and windspeed will make a difference now.

Looks ready for big winds with her mast down, but it's the other boats and loose equipment that makes us worry the most.

Simon is prepared. He is keeping and eye on the storm and with a VHF radio at his side... this will be the only form of communication when the power goes out, cable and internet go down and the cell service disappears. A bit tip for cruisers, always keep a handheld VHF to hand, in a plastic bag with spare batteries... it could be a life saver one day.

At this point the eye is just coming over us.

Odessa is in there some where. It doesn't look like much but the 100mph wind is bending the trees the wrong way. We've been through 7 hurricanes now and I must admit, even though Florida handles them extremely well, the islands handle it better.

Earl was only a cat 2 storm and even though the island lost a few smaller boats, it was easy to deal with... easier than the cat 2's we've experienced in Florida... luckily for us, these storms have all been fast movers with discomfort for a few hours... I can't imagine having to endure it for days, that would be a whole other story.

The big takeaway is that anywhere in the world, "people are people" and the tougher the circumstances, the tougher peoples resolve becomes. Getting wet and muddy helping those in need pays back ten fold one way or another.

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