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Old 20-03-2008, 21:11   #31
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Heres a photo I took this morning of what the waves have been up to on the south coast (ie away from the swell) of St Maarten in the main tourist strip of Phillipsberg.

Sorry for the crook shot but the camera is playin up!
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Old 21-03-2008, 09:19   #32
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Old 21-03-2008, 09:45   #33
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Surf in Nevis

The swells peaked here on Nevis mid-day yesterday, coincident with high tide, and subsided a bit overnight. They were still running pretty strong this morning, but not as bad as yesterday. Tamarind Bay, where I keep my boat, is open to the west. Northerly swells have to deal with St. Kitts, some offshore reefs, and some shallow water in The Narrows between the two islands, essentially making an "ess" turn before reaching Tamarind Bay.

There were two casualties in our anchorage. An 18' open fishing boat was torn loose from a private mooring and smashed up pretty good on the rocky part of the shore. A larger, inboard fisherman chafed free of her mooring, and was deposited upright on the rocks at high tide (middle of the night). Photo below. The owners quickly hired a large crane to lift her over the bank to chocks on shore.

Three sailboats (including mine) on moorings have weathered the surf with no damage, so far (knock on wood!). Two of the moorings are government-installed helix moorings, the same as in the BVI, and one private--a chunk of concrete with chain.

A photo of my boat surfing, is posted below. The winds have been fairly light, so the boats have been presenting bows, beams and sterns to the waves.

We should be back to normal by tomorrow night or Sunday morning, according to forecasts.
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Old 21-03-2008, 10:03   #34
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Hud, I don't like your photo!!!

Makes my stomach wrench. I hope your baby takes these steep quasi-breakers ok...

Man... photos like that make me nervous...

At least it's almost over.

I guess davits are working out... ha ha
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Old 21-03-2008, 10:30   #35
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Hud, didn't that put a lump in your throat?

Good time to stay out of the north bay in Culebra it would seem.
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Old 21-03-2008, 12:07   #36
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Joli and Sean,

Well, my wife was with me, and she said, "I don't want to look."

Actually, it looks bad, but the boat was handling herself very well. I was looking at the lines leading to the mooring pennant with my binoculars to see if they were getting too much shock loading. It didn't seem that they were. She was riding up and over pretty smoothly.
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Old 21-03-2008, 12:42   #37
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A couple of photos of the surf on Wednesday at Isabela, Puerto Rico (western end of the north coast). The breaking wave was estimated to be 20', and the spray 40' in the air. Almost unheard of in the Caribbean.

Photo credit: Juancho, on WunderPhoto Galleries.
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Old 21-03-2008, 15:02   #38
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Surfing in CGB

For sailors who have sat in Quito's with a cold beer watching the placid waters of Cane Garden bay on Tortola, BVI, here's a link to an incredible video (3-1/2 min.) of surfing in CGB. It looks like Hawaii!

OnlineBVI.net - Video Hosting for the British Virgin Islands** Surfing Cane Garden Bay
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Old 21-03-2008, 21:08   #39
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Mate! that is a worry. It's not good watching just the boat, sure glad your not on it. That would churn even the most cast iron of stomachs.
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Old 22-03-2008, 06:37   #40
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I'll never anchor in Cane Garden Bay with the same equinamity again! I wonder what the north shores of JVD looked like on that day, or Loblolly Beach?
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Old 22-03-2008, 14:11   #41
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HUD,

I have no experience ocean cruising, but I was wondering why would you not go out to sea for a day or two until the swells passed?
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Old 22-03-2008, 14:42   #42
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"I have no experience ocean cruising, but I was wondering why would you not go out to sea for a day or two until the swells passed?"

Good question.

When I moved to Nevis a year and a half ago, I talked to a number of locals about keeping the boat in Tamarind Bay. The word I got from all of them was that it was a very good anchorage, except when large swells come from the western sector. The swells this week were from the north, clocking to NNE.

Two other experienced sailboat owners who've lived here for many years decided to keep their boats on moorings next to mine rather than move the boats. Two local fisherman decided to do the same. Being the newbie here, I figured I'd follow their lead. The other option was to go over to Majors Bay (as Little Boat suggested in an earlier post), or around to White House Bay on St. Kitts, and anchor for three or four days, living on the boat. I had some obligations here on Nevis that I didn't want to cancel out on, so I took a calculated risk, and left her on the mooring. The magnitude of the swells reaching the lee side of Nevis was a great surprise to everyone.

By the way, the photo that I posted above of The Belle riding up over the breaking wave was not typical. That was the worst one I saw. Mostly she was bobbing over lower, non-breaking swells. Nonetheless, if this ever happens again, I'm out of there!
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Old 22-03-2008, 16:27   #43
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I'm so relieved your boat made it through, Hud. I have sailed more than 20 years down there, so I've encountered these swells a few times in the past as well as NW groundswells, and seen some incredible stuff. One groundswell in the late 80's, I hid in Chatham Bay, (completely open to the west), if you can believe that; I found a small notch in the rocky north side of the bay and the waves swept past my boat's stern not 6 foot away at 16 feet, smashing on the beach like thunder while I was in completely flat water.
Another year, a friend of mine was washed the length of the town pier of Hillsborough, Carriacou and deposited on Main Street, lucky to be alive.
I spent some years of my childhood ashore in Nevis, so I know it well. I have always wondered about the harbour behind the reef on the east coast where a few fishermen keep their boats and if it would be possible to hide in a nook there; as I once saw it was flat when a big storm swept through.
Every sailor has his own 'comfort level' of concern over his boat. Since I do not carry insurance, prefering to put that money into ground tackle and an emergency fund; and because my boat is very close to my heart; I am always very concious of the weather and one of the first to seek good shelter or put to sea.
I'm really glad this worked out alright for you.
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Old 22-03-2008, 17:44   #44
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little boat,

Thanks! I know that nook in Chatham Bay well, and have snorkeled there. Some coral on the bottom and some patches of good sand to hold the anchor. The bay at Hillsborough on Carriacou is the PITS in rough weather. I'm sorry your friend dragged ashore.

I haven't gone around to New Castle to look at the fishermen's anchorage yet, but will tomorrow. We're having lunch at Nisbet Plantation's beach bar. I have eyed that spot as a potentially safe haven, behind the reefs, but the locals say that Lovers' Beach is better. I'm not sure about that.

Knowing what I know now, I'll not consider Tamarind Bay the safest of anchorages in the future, and will be ready to move out.

All's well that ends well!
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Old 22-03-2008, 18:27   #45
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Hey Hud,

Nice photos

Glad your boat is fine and a nice solid mooring

The internet has been very spasmodic here for the last few days. I dont know if the waves have dug up some cables...


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