LEARN TO PAY ATTENTION TO THE WEATHER
I don’t know where you are, but it is a great day here on the island. It is partly cloudy, the wind chill is 84° F, and beautiful people fill my view from the tiki bar. Paradise is not constant even in paradise though. On the horizon a bank of huge thunder heads is building and it appears to be meandering this way. As they get closer a few people start to take notice.
The harbor is packed with boats and I’m betting that most of them left some or all of their hatches open. I fall into that category. I’m notorious for leaving my hatches open if I’m not absolutely convinced that it will rain while I’m gone. The dinghy dock is full and the overflow boats are simply landing on the beach. If the rain comes this way the mass exodus will be fun to watch.
Whenever I step outside the very first thing my brain registers is the wind. The wind tells me everything I need to know about the weather for the rest of the day. No need to read a forecast or watch the weather channel. I don’t understand how weather patterns have become perceived as beyond the grasp of everyday folks when all it takes is an awareness of the wind and cloud movements.
Then it happens, a lightning bolt flashes followed a few seconds later by a loud clap of thunder. Then the wind stiffens some more and it begins.
I’d been chatting with a fellow cruiser at the tiki and he jumps to his feet saying he’d better get out to his boat; he left his hatches open. I replied with a betting offer: “Why don’t you keep your seat? If it rains, I’ll pick up your tab; if not we are Dutch.”
You don’t think it’s going to rain?
That’s right; it’s not going to rain. The wind has been veering (turning clockwise) for the past few hours which means we are on the dry side of that mess. You might as well relax and enjoy the dinghy races.
After a few seconds of consideration, he sat down and ordered a double Lamb’s Navy rum. Previous to my offer he was enjoying much cheaper brands so he must have considered the odds as being much in his favor.
The show was great as it offered a few more lightning bolts and spectacular claps of thunder. The beach exodus with the wind blowing towels, sand, a few chairs and an umbrella were fun to watch. The dinghies playing bumper boats as they all tried to leave together was good for a laugh or two.
Twenty minutes later it was all over without a drop of rain and back to paradise as usual. The rules are simple: if the wind has been veering (changing direction clockwise) it indicates fair weather. If it is backing (going counter clockwise) put your foulies on. If it is steady from the same direction, you will get more of the current conditions.