Monday, January 13, 2014


Riders on the Storm

NIKI WIKI in Gale Force winds at anchor Roatan, Honduras
I guess you could now officially call us "Riders on the Storm". Last week, we had a hairy couple of days riding the winds, heavy sideways rain and waves of gale force winds (clocked by a fellow gale-rider at more than 50mph) in the anchorage here in Roatan. Usually anchorages are in safe harbors, and usually French Cay Harbor, where we are, is pretty calm. But when the winds blow hard from the "wrong" direction we get blasted and bumped.

No, the forecast didn't call for winds anywhere near the speeds that we encountered. We had the pleasure of experiencing the bizarre twist that the winds from the north (thank you very much) took when they hit the land and mountains of northern Honduras. There they bent 90 degrees and came at us from the South-West. Most of the Caribbean area had winds from the North-East. Nope. We didn't miss those - we got those too at first. Then suddenly after 24 hours of that torture, the winds flipped and came howling the other way for another 24 hours. The good ship Niki Wiki tugged at her anchor (and 225 feet of heavy chain) like a wild stallion at a bridle. The horse won.
Baby Blanket

Jonesy and I had to take turns doing "anchor-watches" and alternating those with sleep (or lack thereof) in 4 to 6 hour chunks over those 2 days. If we had not done that we would have been in deep trouble. We dragged the anchor - twice! That means we suddenly started sliding backwards and sideways as the wind caught our side. We never drag anchor. But then we never had encountered such strong and steady winds or a storm that came from two distinctly different directions.

As we have small islands and reefs surrounding us, we had not even 2 minutes to spare when the anchor let go to get the engine started and us moving away. At times we even simply sat in the wind with the engine running just in case.
Baby socks

The end result is that Jonesy - soaking wet - got us saved both times. I managed the engine and steering and stayed dry in our cockpit thanks to the new canvas and plastic zip up enclosure! We entertained ourselves by knitting and reading - all night - with our trusty headlamps.

What knitting? Well, I've been working on several new baby-focused projects and of course socks. I'll post more on that later when I can get some better photos in this beautiful sunshine and tropical breeze weather we've got now.

So that explains a couple of days of our lives here on Roatan, Honduras. But wait, there's more! We've been very busy with socializing with fellow cruisers.
Jonesy and Gordon in Cruiser's Uniforms
Here's a (rather blurry due to overcast conditions and crappy camera) picture of Jonesy and Gordon (s/v N'Aimless) at the recent Christmas dinner at Brooksy Point Marina. Note that they both are wearing their Special Cruiser's Event uniforms. Nice tropical collared shirts without any rips, patches, or holes.

The folks on catamaran s/v Ultra have really been working hard lately on many special events. My favorite is the Bare Butt Sunday morning pancake and breakfast taco events at the new Cruiser's Tiki Palapa at the Fantasy Island Resort Marina (see photos below).

Both of these marinas are just a quick dinghy ride away from our boat. We've had beach gatherings, movie and popcorn evenings, group bus rides to the grocery store and back, and happy hours.

Of course, we'd be crazy if we didn't get out and snorkel when the weather allows it! We know that storms from the north are to be expected through next month and we are waiting patiently for March for the beautiful weather here. But we don't have to wait quietly! Here are some photos of this past couple of weeks....
BARE BUTT Sunday Breakfast at Fantasy Island (yes, it's fake)
Cruiser's TIKI PALAPA at Fantasy Island Marina, Roatan
Terry and Saundra (s/v Island Sol) go snorkeling on the reef
Jonesy talking, Terry knitting at New Year's Day beach party

Glad to see you survived the storms!! Was wondering where you were & what was up. Happy New Year!!
Ugh! Dragging anchor is the worst. Scary. I remember when we visited and the wind came up for those 24 hours. Brett and I standing watch long enough for Dad to get an hour of sleep here and there, watching the other boats rotating around and constantly worrying that we were going to be hit. Horrible.

Your Kayaking on the other hand looks like blast! Also, your baby blanket looks like the cresty wind-swept waves in the picture you posted.
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