This week has proven to us that we are definitely in the heart of hurricane season. No fewer than five hurricanes and tropical storms were being tracked by the National Hurricane Centre, and two of these ended up as Category 4 Hurricanes, however briefly. Our hearts and prayers go out to those affected in Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas. We remember these states well from our trip through the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) and hope that they are okay.
For Grenada, we have fared very well with no tropical storms or hurricanes coming close to the Eastern Caribbean since our early encounter with Tropical Storm Bret back in late June. Still, we watch the weather closely. We have a few weather apps that we check several times a day, plus a twice daily check on the National Hurricane Centre website. We also have a daily weather report as part of the Grenada VHF Net. What is the VHF Net? This is a preset VHF channel run by volunteers to get information out to cruisers anchored in the surrounding bays. The schedule varies from island to island, as does the days of operation and length of broadcast. In Georgetown, Bahamas, it ran every morning at 0800 and lasted a full hour. Here in Grenada, the Net runs from Monday to Saturday, starting at 0730 and usually ending by 0800. The content is similar though: Emergency News (sinking boat, lost dog etc), announcement of people arriving or leaving the area, the weather, buy and sell announcements, list of cruiser activities, and a segment for cruisers needing help or information. It is a great way to connect and inform the thousands of boats in and around the area. They also double down with a Facebook page, for those that prefer social media.
Rounding out our weather watching is Chris Parker. Chris is a well-known and well-reputed weather forecaster who runs the Marine Weather Center, providing forecasting and routing advice primarily to small private boaters like us. We have had a subscription with Chris since Florida and have used his routing advice quite a bit for our trip south to Grenada. On two occasions (Bahamas to Luperon, DR; Crossing the Mona Passage from DR to Puerto Rico) we actually used first hand phone conversations with him to make our travel decisions. Now that we are fairly stationary, we have kept our subscription for daily forecasting emails and are thankful for it. In addition to his daily travel advice, whenever there is a notable tropical wave developing, he issues a “Tropical Update” that is highly informative, explaining all active tropical waves or hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean, including their possible intensity and track. Even better, he explains the why behind the weather. So refreshing!
What do we do with all this great information? Our weather watching starts early in the morning, every morning. First up is Windy (a great weather app for our phones), scrolled out to see any active and developing hurricane activity straight off Africa and tracking towards Grenada. We compare this information to similar data on the National Hurricane Centre website using both the two day and seven-day outlook. After digesting all of this, Chris Parker’s Tropical Update has usually come in by email and the whole picture becomes very clear. Using this process, we have a pretty good idea of the systems in the Atlantic generally versus the ones we need to watch carefully, well before the word “hurricane” is muttered by the National Hurricane Centre. If a tropical wave looks like it could head our way, and with some intensity, we are aware up to a week ahead of time. With that lead time we can make sure that we, boat and crew, are safe. With a tropical storm, we will likely remain anchored but if anything bigger were to head our way, we would need to get Wild Horses hauled out, strapped down, de-geared and for me, Mike and Ocean to find safe accommodations on land. Getting safely through this season is our main focus!
In the meantime, we are enjoying our days in Grenada. We have developed a bit of a routine and are getting some much needed boat work and errands crossed off our list.
And to add some fun to our days there have been dinghy drifts, dinners out, swimming and general hanging out with friends. I might even say that Grenada is starting to feel a bit homey to us. 😉
Click the buttons below to check out where we are today and where we plan to be next winter!
Victoria is a hiker, dog-lover, blog writer and planner extraordinaire. Oh, yeah and she is kind of fond of living on a boat.