The 20-Footer

Alec offers some ideas to Capt. Mike.
©2012 Cheryl Crockett Lezovich

S/V Eclipse and s/v Happy Times (HT) left Mono Island at 8:30 a.m. after eating Michelle Hufford’s scrumptious cranberry-orange bread and lemon poppy seed muffins for breakfast. That girl can cook.

We continued our route through the San Blas Islands to Nargana, the hotbed of commercial activity in these parts. We traded Mikayla for Alec Hufford to mix things up a bit, and he offered some suggestions on setting our jib right away. We gained some speed and that convinced Mike to install our new battens as soon as we get some downtime.

We continued to pick our way through the reefs using The Panama Cruising Guide by Eric Bauhaus. In some ways the sea seemed less chaotic than the day before and we had settled into a relaxing pattern of chitchat and reading when a 20’ wave hit us broadside.

Alec got chilly after the deluge.
©2012 Cheryl Crockett Lezovich

I was talking to Alec with my head turned when he spotted it coming. I turned to see what he was looking at—an enormous wave spinning at us as if in slow motion. Only it wasn’t slo-mo. The wave hit and threw me from the midway point of the cockpit to the corner. Alec had been sitting on the edge of the cockpit, and he was thrown backward where he clung to a stanchion. Mike was seated in the helm chair and missed most of the deluge.

The huge wave caused a huge mess. The cockpit well in front the door filled with five inches of sea water. The wave had swelled over the two hatches on top of HT and covered the salon floor with enough water to soak three beach towels. The V-berth fared all right and thankfully no water poured into Mikayla’s cabin where her computer and iPod usually lie on her bed.

The top shelf of books had tumbled onto the floor, a scene that was repeated in the port toilet by assorted shampoo bottles. A few dishes upended along with Mike’s ship’s bell and barometer. Poor Belle, who has been ill the last few days, cowered on a cushion.


About Cheryl Crockett Lezovich

Mom, first mate and writer aboard a 40' Manta catamaran, S/V Happy Times.
This entry was posted in Cruising, Sailing, Travel and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The 20-Footer

  1. Peggy says:

    wow, this sounds a bit scary….it just came out of nowhere?

    • The waves were mostly 2′-3′ in our location, so, yes, it did come out of nowhere. I’ve always pooh-poohed the notion of rogue waves (They have to come from somewhere or have some explanation, right?) but should rethink my viewpoint on that.

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