Waiting out the storm at Chub Cay
We had been watching this storm for a while. Most forecasts were calling for sustained winds in the 20-30s range and gusts as high as 50s-60s. Um… no thank you.
We honestly had no interest in paying for a marina, much less a very expensive resort marina, but we’ve only been living aboard uor boat for less than a week now and the idea of testing our anchor on a storm that size was an easy “No” for us. Even the one night in the bay got pretty rocky and meant another sleepless night watching our anchor alarm and checking around us every few hours to make sure we weren’t drifting or hadn’t pulled an anchor.
In the morning we woke early but the winds were pounding even earlier. They were steadily over 20knots and growing rapidly. We talked through our plan to pull both our anchors but then as we got ready to fire up the engines noticed the boat next to us was having some troubles with their anchor retrieval and we decided to wait them out rather than having two boats drifting about in close proximity. We would find out later that they had lost their propellor drive and ended up having to cut the anchor loose in order to get into the safety of the marina.
We pulled up our first anchor without issue, but by the time we tried lifting the second anchor (both were sunken in very deep by the winds pulling on them all night) the winds were gusting around us and we were struggling to hold the boat in a position to lift the second anchor by hand without sending me into the bay after it. We almost left it behind but kept trying far past the point of exhaustion and I was finally able to lift the anchor onboard before collapsing onto the sugar scoop beside it.
We hailed the marina to ask permission and then navigated our way inside the narrow passage and opening between docks and pulled into our reserved slip.. Anything but an easy task in these stout winds, but a huge confidence boost when the guy who helped grab our lines said “it looked like you’ve done it a million times, especially in these winds”. Little comfort in our exhausted state, but thrilled to know we were safe and sound inside the marina and could rest easy for a few days while the storm blew over.
The next couple days were equal parts calm and terrifying. The marina was everything we expected and we felt both calm and safe inside at all times. Almost deceivingly so. But just a few steps away on the other side…the weather was anything but calm. Our only clues were the trees bent over all around us, but climbing up onto the hardtop for a better look, or walking a few steps to the other side of the of the island showed billowing winds and weaves crashing onto shore with intense power at least 20-30’ into the air. As if we didn’t have enough respect for the ocean before, standing there and watching those waves crash into shore (along the same coastline we had just calmly sailed past the day before) with unspeakable power really drove that respect home.
We waited out a few more days, then eventually headed out with all the other boats in the marina to whatever destination we were all bound for. For us, it meant just a quick trip to some of the smaller cays around chub. A quick trip away, but back to freely moving about. We found a calm spot nestled up between two tiny island with vibrant blue water and took the afternoon to swim with the dog, kayak over to a beach (finally! a chance to put the kayaks in the water!) and exploring the island and its abandoned lighthouse before sunset on the boat. It was perefect!
The entire experience in and around Chub wasn’t what we might have drawn up… but it was also a great learning experience for us, gave us a great few days to relax, catch up on sleep and find the energy to move on to our next stop, which will hopefully mean picking up dear friends for the remainder of the holiday!