Saturday, July 29, 2017

From fun to fear and back again; reflections on lightning and friendship

In the grey environs, various ‘once vibrant’ bits of clothing hang from the boat rails around me, heavy, dripping, defeated; water logged in the aftermath.

In the docile day with it’s soft, benign cloud cover, I struggled to conjure up the electric light show of the night before.

In a seemingly endless battle of sky gods hell bent on revenge or destruction, hours passed with thunderous outbursts and a continuous show of light. We the meek and powerless lay below, eyes squeezed shut or sprung open like huge frightened circles, we stared up through the skylight hatch above our bed at the relentless rage of the sky.

And the rain came. Locking us inside, airless, sweating, still. And water like soldiers, pelting, running, stabbing at the boats and the surface of the sea. With more and more intensity it attacked the hatch above me, crying, drumming, beating in increasing intensity like a dark ritual while the thunder shook the hull and the crescendo an earth shattering ‘bang!’ as the sky lit up. 

I bolted out of bed and up the stairs. JW was already there, standing guard for us.
Our history with lightning storms has not gone well. We are on high alert despite knowing there is nothing at all we could do to thwart a strike should we be ‘on the radar’. And last year in this town we were the sole victims of one strike that targeted our anchorage.
This time we are spared. The strike has hit the famous monument on the hill beside us. I begin to think this might be one of the reasons cruisers flock to this anchorage! Our masts are NOT the tallest things around. I sigh with relief and descend again to the stuffy cabin where the air is hot and stale and where our tiny cabin fans are proving their inefficiency, lightly shoving around the limited air.

Hours before, we lay sprawled across the front deck of Alleycat. Digesting a world-class lamb curry and a store bought key lime pie in honour of Al and Marita’s 44th anniversary. We contemplated the expanse of the universe by the light of the endless stars. We marveled with our new friends about all the friends we make while cruising. The friendships that endure through time and space. The ones where you meet in Grenada and run into each other in North Carolina or the Exumas and catch up with excitement and enthusiasm. Friendships where giving and sharing and appreciating laughter and star gazing are at the forefront. But where there is a deeper appreciation and understanding. The knowing we’ve all chosen something from life that brings extreme risk and extreme reward. We are outside the safety net of society so we provide that for each other.

And then Kim smelled the rain coming in the air and beyond the sea of stars we saw the duller, darkness of storm clouds rolling in. And we dispersed to our boats with the knowledge that we would be there, listening on the radio, ready to assist, should the storm bring big winds, or the unthinkable – a lightning strike.

But alas, the storms roared and the rains poured but it was all bark with no bite. We’ve all made it through the night, though a bit groggy from lack of sleep, to hike and swim and party another day. 

And our decks are now rinsed of the salt from our three boat flotilla sail down to Georgetown, and we’ve gathered some rain water for washing!


  1. That strike was FREAKIN' scary!!! I bolted up and we scanned the anchorage to make sure no one was injured!! I didn't realize it hit the monument as it sounded like it hit us!!!
    You and John, Marita and Curry have made this a wonderful trip full of memories!!
    Love your blog!!

    1. It kept us on our toes, that's for sure! What a night in so many ways :) xo

  2. Always holding my breath when reading your posts. Glad it all went well and you are on to new adventures and friends.

  3. Shiloh, we are the SV MONICA from Toronto, moored in Hole 3. Please help us get in touch with the owners of Alleycat, it is urgent, there is a problem with their boat. I understand from your blog that you are friends with them. My email is