Tuesday, June 30, 2015

On the days we must be mad...

... (because what would a blog look like all full of pristine beaches, turquoise seas and rum punches?!)
 2 am as we lay panting in our tiny mosquito occupied chow-zone of a cabin in the stifling heat, not a breath of wind, sweat trickling down our necks and pooling on the dampened pillows beneath us, the random slapping of limbs breaks the relative silence of the dull hum of a useless fan. I thought ‘this couldn’t get worse’. (Note to self – never say those words, even in your head).
After weeks of prepping for our friend’s visitors in perfect Bahamian weather, they have arrived. And since then the whole climate’s gone for a ‘sh*t’.
They brought booze!

The visitors on arrival day

2:30 am the distant rumbles of thunder have caught up with us two lonely little catamarans in Cherokee Point, the vulnerable bay, exposed to all the oncoming fun and games. The sky lights up to the brightness of day in shocking zaps and we are up.
It’s like a colossal game of electrified ten pin bowling right over our heads and everywhere around us. The lesser gods are on a bender and they are at the lanes, drunken and disorderly. The ball rumbles along above us, barreling through the great black clouds and then the crescendo – a teeth clenching, boat-shattering smash as the thunderous ball hits the pins. Over and over again, as I wince and squeal. JW has turned off the main power to the boat, knowing we are at the mercy of these lesser gods as to whether we’ll take a direct hit and potentially lose all the electronics on board. 

They are obviously in the mood to have some fun with us. They’ve stirred up the ocean as well, so the boat spins and bobs madly in this rain drenched mayhem.
I retreat inside, brushing aside the mosquitos who are just as frightened I’m sure. They’ve taken such a back seat as the bad guys, they might as well retreat completely and come back with their blood sucking intentions another day.
And here I sit – making sure not to hold on to anything metallic just in case – and I focus on JW’s silhouette in the door, lit up like a photo negative in the lightning show. I know he is worried, and that the soul crushing feeling of being helpless in a situation furrows his brow.  I squeeze my eyes closed after each bolt snaps down from the clouds and see the jagged designs behind my eyelids over and over.
The truth is that we are in the vicinity of some serious danger. Boats are lightning attraction devices with their tall masts, and we’ve come to a bay where there is nothing around us but surface rocks, beach sand and a tiny settlement of one story homes nearby. So we are IT if it comes down to the wire. Worst case scenario the lightning passes through the boat, leaving a gaping hole below the water line and we sink. Total loss.
I think of the storms we’ve slept through on land, the light and noise a mere inconvenience with the secure feeling of insulated and sturdy walls protecting us. Out here it’s all raw and real. We have no mosquito nets, we have no lightning protection. It’s yang to the ying of the paradise we live in. It’s the other side of the coin. It’s real and it’s 5am and we’ve been up for hours.
As I rub my red sore eyes I realise this lifestyle has no middle ground. There is no ‘mildly amusing’ or ‘slightly annoying’ in our vocabulary. It’s all ‘OMG!’ or ‘WTF!’ Extreme beauty, extreme fun, extreme danger. Big joy, big problems.
On the boat next to us, a family has flown thousands of miles to see what we see. Experience what we call normal life. This is their vacation. They swat at mosquitos, wince at the storms and hopefully will experience some of the big joys over the next few days.
As the storm passes, the game has moved on and left us with some big winds and big seas. That means ‘anchor watch’ (to keep an eye that we don’t drag into the rocks behind us), so no sleeping yet. Until the sun rises and the benign morning negates the heightened fears of the night and promises a new day of extreme beauty and yet another adventure. Zzzzzzzz



  1. Wow that was great literature..I really enjoyed reading that..xoxo

  2. Wow that was great literature..I really enjoyed reading that..xoxo

  3. We're currently in southern Florida and it seems like there are thunderstorms every afternoon. I just cross my fingers each time and hope we don't get hit. So unnerving. By the way, I found your blog thru the sign you left on Allan's Cay in the Abacos :-) Cheers - Ellen

  4. It's better than reading a book, don't stop!