Last night we were hit with quite the rain and lightning storm. It started off as the regular tropical rains that we experience every so often, when it rains for half an hour and then tappers off. But this one only intensified. We shut all of our hatches and got out one pot and one towel for the two leaks that we knew our boat has. Placed the pot under the drip and moved on to the leaky hatch, but this time it wasn’t just leaking it was a constant stream of water coming through the closed hatch, across the shelf and was leaking into our pantry storage and electronics shelf. As the rains got stronger it didn’t take long for a small flood to form and we were in cleanup mode.
We took all the food out of the pantry, the iPads and wires off the shelf, and were sopping up tons of water that just was not letting up. There was no way we wanted our electronics getting wet, and were just as concerned with the food since it was the tetra packs of milk that were right where the pool was forming. We have already experienced one milk tetra pack explosion from a tear in the pack and soured milk ended up all over the pantry and our tools that were stored in the settee below. That was one smelly disgusting mess that we would like to avoid at all costs. The first experience was enough.
Eben took a closer look at our hatch to see how this much water was coming in, and it ends up that the glass itself has warped in the middle, funny enough pretty much right where Lewmar is written. If we pressed back on this exact spot the pressure was enough to stop the stream of water from entering our boat. Eben found some wedges and shoved them into the leaky spot for a temporary fix. It seems we now have one more project to add to our list. We just have to figure out where down island we can find more of these hatches. We were told that you can get the replacement Lewmar glass for $35 in Ft. Lauderdale, so there may be some shipping of products to Puerto Rico involved once we arrive there.
Once that was sorted with a temp fix, the lightning started. I was going pee when the loudest lightning crack I have ever heard snapped. A bright white light flashed through the sky and instantly after the thunder boomed, meaning that it was real close, almost too close for comfort. We even wondered if anyone in the bay may have been struck by that. We made sure most electronics were unplugged, that the GPS went into the oven, and Kurtis even wondered if he should wear his crocs to bed in the hopes of extending his lifespan. It made for an interesting night where I slept with a pillow over my face, simply because the lightning was so bright it kept waking me up.
At some point in the night the storm passed, leaving us this morning with an extra project and a dinghy with a half foot of water to pump out. With all the water that had accumulated in the dinghy we managed to fill two 5 gallon pails, top off a 5 gallon water jug, and dump the rest back into the bay. Our boat got a good rinse and it made for some fun stories to talk about with fellow boaters this morning.
UPDATE: The next day while doing normal boat maintenance we realized that our solar panel Xantrex charge controller was no longer working and our batteries were not receiving a charge. After multiple emails and phone calls to the company it was deduced that the lightning storm sent out enough electrical energy to surge our controller. It was dead. We looked over our options and it came down to, find a new one or but extra gas and run the generator until we arrive in Puerto Rico and get a new one there. Eben was pretty down for a full day. And it wasn’t until the next day, when driving Kurtis to the airport, that Eben managed to find our exact same charge controller here in Santiago for only $50 more than what we had paid for the original one. Thankfully. Now we can say we have been affected by lightning, luckily it was only the controller that got zapped.
|Small wooden wedges to straighten the warp in our hatch glass|
|The guys double teaming pumping out all that water|