Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Beardrop Harbour Mayhem

July 30: The sun has set not long ago, but we have not gone below. We are watching for squalls in Beardrop Harbour. There's a nasty looking line that has swept through the Soo and is headed our way. Coast Guard warns to expect torrential rains, winds to 45 knots, hail, lightning, fire and brimstone. I'm hoping at least some of that doesn't materialize. Modern connectivity allows me to watch live radar feed for the area on my phone. I'm not sure if that's better than the old fashioned version where we just watched the sky.

Today we had blueberry pancakes for breakfast and shared a little with Rod and Allison while looking over the charts. We both set out westward around 1030. We took an inside route direct to Little Detroit, then along the north shores of Aird and John Islands. We sailed all the way in winds that oscillated quite a bit in speed and direction between 0 and 15 from the south to the west. It was a beautiful sail in beautiful country. We saw lots of other places we could easily have picked, then settled on Beardrop Harbour at about 1500. Once in, it was clear we weren't the only ones with that idea and we shared the large harbour with 20 or 25 other boats.

Dinner was T-Bone Steaks as big as our heads. We planned for leftovers, but somehow there were none ;-)

I didn't want to post this until I knew how it ended. The squall rolled in about 2240 after being visibly violent on the horizon for quite a while. Laura says it peaked at 2257 and we were back to moderate winds and still raining heavily by 2330. At peak I saw gusts of 44 knots, with sustained winds in the high 30s. There was some carnage in the harbour. Many boats dragged and radio traffic indicates at least one collision. I think I saw it happening, a sailboat dragging sideways downwind at about 3 knots. Most of the power cruisers were in motion by the end of it, but they seem to have upped anchor and powered to more or less hold station. One of the sailboats that dragged has his running lights reversed, with red on the starboard side, making it difficult to figure out his motions. In our running commentary we referred to him as "the moron".

We held rock solid. So did the boats right around us, so it wasn't as exciting as it might have been. Also, there was next to no fetch so the waves were minor. I had the engine running just in case, but found no use for it. The light show was really intense! I enjoyed it a lot more once the lightning was behind us, lighting up the whole harbour and making it clear where everybody wound up.

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