How balanced are your safety systems?
Yesterday, for the second day in a row, Grenada’s weather was dominated by strong squalls. In the blink of an eye, rain and gusty SE winds, sometimes accompanied by thunder and lightning, turned our anchorage at Prickly Bay so ugly that we bailed from it at 3:00 PM Thursday to motor around the point to the St. George’s anchorage. As we made our way along the southern coast, the boat rolled side to side in the following seas. So much so that we joked that the worst storm we had yet to experience on the Amel was during our “big passage” from Prickly Bay to St. Georges. 🙂
Once anchored in St. George’s, most of the roll abated, but we still had to contend with the on-again / off-again rain and squalls. That weather kept us boat bound for much of the day, but that’s OK because we used the time to tidy up, do laundry, and read.
This squall began when we were in the Customs and Immigration office clearing back in to the country. Not waiting for it to stop, we got a tad wet on our way back to the boat!
I spent much of the afternoon yesterday reading up on Heavy Weather tactics at Attainable Adventure Cruising. I know that I have much to learn on this subject, and even more to test and experience. Likely inspired by our recent purchase of a new life raft, I have been mulling over in my mind the idea that there are really two distinct categories of “safety” equipment on a boat: one that facilitates rescue by another party, and a second that aids self rescue.
Our new 4-person life raft is infinitely more manageable than the old one which did not pass the recertification process.
In the first category there are life rafts, EPIRBs, PLBs, flares and other signaling devices. Undoubtedly, all important things, but they’re basically passive as they count on someone coming to your rescue. The second category includes all of the items on your boat (and skills/knowledge/judgement) that keep you out of trouble in the first place, or allow you to deal with problems when they occur. Obviously both categories have their place but I think to focus on the former without a heavy emphasis on the latter is irresponsible, to say the least.
At this point in time, we are doing everything that we can to make our boat as seaworthy as possible. Yes, we started with a strong, ocean-going boat, but that’s not enough. We need to make sure that her systems, and OUR systems, are bulletproof. More to come.
Frost anchored at Grenada’s underwater sculpture park. We’re looking forward to taking our daughter and granddaughter here when they come to visit us next week.