I awoke to the false dawn, the eastern sky beginning to
brighten with the sun just below the horizon. After packing my sleeping
bag, I added more alcohol to the Origo stove and fired it up, got the
coffee heating up. Strange, I thought I heard a very distant rumble of
thunder -- but it seemed too early for a storm.
As the coffee percolated I continued securing the cabin,
ready for a departure as soon as I finished a casual couple cups of
coffee -- but those distant rumbles continued. I checked with NOAA/NWS
radio forecasts; "chance of showers and thunderstorms" later in the day;
so what was I hearing?
To the southwest the sky was definitely darkening and
moving this way, darkening and darker. Uh oh, something was coming, and
I didn't need a forecast to inform me. I was going nowhere for a while.
Very soon the approaching storm was apparent, with stark
lightning bolts flashing down from the black clouds, thunder arriving
soon behind the flashes. Soon it approached overhead. I disconnected the
mast top VHF antenna connection to the radio, switched over to the
handheld. I turned the battery switch from "Both" to "Off," pulled the
cockpit seat cushion into the cabin, set the cribboards just in time,
then sat out the storm -- storms actually -- except to reach out for the
coffee pot to refill my cup. They came in three sort of waves over the
next 2-3 hours with short breaks between.
As usual, I sat below wondering when Chip Ahoy's mast
would again be struck, what would happen when and if it was, and what
I'd do if it happened; reasonably comfortable that I'd done everything I
could, and that the boat had survived a previous strike even without the
By about 10:30 it'd passed. Soon thereafter I was on my
way home, hopefully to reach my destination before another wave of
lightning and rain. On the trip back to my mooring I couldn't help but
wonder why even a simple, unplanned overnighter had turned into another
adventure. (Sep. 8, 2010)