We have started off the New Year with amazingly wonderful weather. While this may not mean much to those who have not spent winters on Guanaja, we usually have several "Northers" pass through throughout the winter season and a lot of rain. I think I have commented on the extraordinary amount of rainfall here, especially during the winter months. One December following Hurricane Mitch we had well over 36" of rain in one day! Normally, a 7" rainfall in one day is not unusual.
While our temperatures have been on the cool side, which is more than welcomed to me as an individual whose thermostat is broke, the seas have been very calm and many days, at least on our end of the island, they were running from the southwest whereas they usually come in from the northeast. Sleeping has been heavenly. I generally use only a sheet all year, I now have a quilt on the bed and pull it up over me in the evenings!
The best part of this weather is that travel is much more comfortable. Most of the time, travel during the holidays is rough going. We traverse choppy waters, sometimes 3-5 foot seas or higher, rain and wind arriving at our destination soaking wet. Normally we take a change of clothes along to change into. Forget hairdos and make up, after the "sea bath" you are just glad to hit dry land and get out of the wet clothes.
Of course, transporting food is another challenge. I have learned never to take a two-layered cake, make sure any soup or gravy is low in the pan and well covered so it does not "slosh" out of the container. Iced cakes have to have some type of protection so the icing is not smeared all over, cold foods have to be carried in a ice chest and everything has to be packed well so as not to suffer the effects of a boat slamming up and down in the waves.
We recently attend a party this year to celebrate the birthday of Michael, Renate's oldest son. The seas were calm, the food I carried went in a covered container and thus was no problem. We arrived high and dry and, as they say, "lookin' good." We even took Buckey Boa with us to give to Annette and for my husband to show off to the guests. Buckey was the hit of the party and all in all quite a calm snake. (See my previous blog about Buckey.) I would post photos of the party but I cannot download my camera onto the new computer with out the aid of the electric/USB cord and, unfortunately, I have misplaced it!
We religiously watch the weather reports on the Internet and use NOAA and Wunderground for weather reports. At least it gives us some idea as to what we may expect but is not always totally accurate for this area. However, it is a good base and we can usually plan our weeks activities with some knowledge of what we will be facing on the sea.
This year we replaced the tube lights we had on the dock with a new set. We had the old ones for about 2 1/2 years and in spite of the fact that the tubing had begun to deteriorate, the lights still functioned albeit dim. My husband mounted the new lights on a board above the dock to guide us home when we go out at night and to warn others that there is a dock in the area. They operate, of course, on solar power and out of all the various lights we have tried either on our path or on the dock, these seemed to work the best and have lasted the longest. Many times in the past we have come home without the aid of moon or starlight and believe me when I tell you, our end of the "world" is very, very dark at night. We have missed our dock several times and have had to circle back and carefully feel our way trying to find it. We generally have a flashlight but sometimes, without warning, the batteries die. Another system we can use are our dogs. They always come bounding down to the dock to see who is approaching and with 3 of them barking it is far easier to find the dock.
Of course, with the absence of city lights lighting is more intense and wondrous here.
And traveling in the moonlight, well that is just a whole 'nother experience. Out on the open sea, away from the few lights of the island the moon bathes the water in a beautiful glow and no other lighting system is necessary. The small phosphorescent creatures in the water glimmer and shine beautifully as our boat glides on home. I can truly say that the sea on a moonlight night is one of Mother Nature's true beauties.