This courtesy ensign has been flying during daylight hours since 1 March. The shredding occurred yesterday during 20-25 knot winds that gusted to near 40 all day long*. The boat was taking the 1 to 1.5 foot chop on the stern and acted like a bull in a chute, bouncing and buffeting so that handholds were necessary moving about above and below.We had to bungee the wheel (the diagonal black band in the pics below) because the waves were hitting the rudder so hard the shaft brake could not hold it.
Pictures never do these conditions justice, but the photos below show the conditions as well as a camera can. It was so rambunctious some folks were going ashore to avoid seasickness. Mangoes ran out of Bahamian beer from the unexpected afternoon crowd.
If yesterday was KISS and METALLICA, today has become Norah Jones — and we are happy for it. We expect an exodus tomorrow. We will be topping off provisions and expect to leave Thursday for points east on our way west.
*It is useful to remember that these islands in the stream and the rest of the smaller Caribbean isles are essentially not there when it comes to the wind. They barely modify or moderate the ocean winds at all. When they say it’s going to be a gale offshore in Florida, people 20 miles from the coast say, “Huh?” When they say that in the Abacos, Exumas, Jumentos and Raggeds, it means there’s going to be a gale — period.