One of the reasons we decided to tie up to the old basin was because there was a maramu (storm) in the forecast and we wanted to avoid a disaster. The four boats in the basin took all of the necessary precautions – or so we thought. Let me paint a picture.
The old military basin is an upside down “U” shape with the entrance at the opening of the U. The wall on the right, facing the lagoon is taller and has a 42’ mono and Sea Jay 50’. The taller wall proved to be a life saver for these two boats. The opposite side of the U, where we are, faces the shore. The wall is at an angle where we are tied up and then it straightens out where a mono and our friends on Hoodoo are located.
Preparing for a Maramu
Holding us to the dock were (2) bow lines (one from port and one from starboard bow peaks), (2) spring lines and (2) stern lines (port and starboard). In addition, we had (4) large, round A4 fenders and (2) F4 fenders between us and the dock and al of the fenders were touching the water when we went to bed. Everything was secured and stowed on the deck and bow. But we did leave up our sun/rain shades to try to prevent a flood of water coming into the cockpit. We also left out our cushions which are “secured” to the boat.
We’ve been through several maramus and we were not expecting a disaster. Normal water level is shown below. The tide flooded the basin so much that the bottom of Sugar Shack’s Port hull threatened to land on top of the dock.
Fast forward to 11:30pm at night when Matt and I are woken up by a horrible bashing noise, winds blowing over 42kts, thunder, and lightning, and pounding rains. We jumped up and realized SS was banging (not rubbing) against the concrete wall. The lagoon was filled so high that it flooded the basin raising the water level at least 1.5 meters. That in and of itself would not have been bad if it was not accompanied by a meter swell which tossed SS almost on top of the dock several times.
It took Matt, Yanell, Missy and I everything we had to keep her safe. In the pouring rain, we added (4) more F4 fenders between the boat and tried to push SS off the dock. About an hour later the storm subsided and we saw the damage — a rather large 1/4” dent that was about 1 meter wide with lots of scratches. Nothing we can do in the middle of the night.
Maramu is Not Done with Us
Then at 0230 another, stronger storm hit. We had lowered all the fenders and placed fenders floating in the water to prevent SS from continuing to bash against the concrete. What a disaster! Running between SS and HooDoo to make sure all of our boats were safe. If you can imagine the rain falling so hard that it actually hurt our faces! We could not wear hats because the wind would blow them off. It was terrible. Unfortunately, SS took the brunt of the storm because we were closest to the entrance and on the slanted part of the dock. We blocked the majority of the waves and storm from Queen B and HooDoo. (Nice of us, right?)
Around 0400 the weather calmed enough for Matt to go out in the dingy to put an anchor out in the middle of the basin. He then attached it to our starboard mid-cleat to pull the boat further off the wall. Around 0430 we finally got an hour of sleep. By sunrise we were evaluating the damage and trying to figure out what else we can do to prepare for Thursday’s storm. We added a stern line from starboard to a mooring pulling the stern further away from the wall and adjusted all the lines and fenders again. Luckily Thursday night was only 30-35kts of wind, little rain, and no flooding. We scared it away with all of our preparedness.
We almost lost one of our 2-meter cockpit cushions and a sunshade. Both caught up by the lifelines and saved. We had one sunshade tear before we could get it off and we lost 2 fender covers. But the worst damage is the hull which could have been a much bigger disaster. We don’t think there is structural damage. We have a thin layer of fiberglass, then honeycomb, then fiberglass. But there is about a 1/4” dent with lots of scratches that stretch across 2 meters of the port hull. We will have to repair it when we are hauled out (Tahiti or NZ).
Sea Jay lost a small cockpit cushion but found it the next morning as a local was carrying it and walking away. Lucky them. HooDoo and Queen B have some small scratches on the hull that will buff out. Yesterday we spent the day adding anchors and lines to all the boats to keep them off the dock making the basin an obstacle course but will help us avoid further disaster.
The good news is that we are all safe and unhurt. The boat can be mended. We are lucky.
Weather Predictions Get it Wrong
Matt took a screen shot of Predict Wind’s screen which showed what was predicted and what came through. Unfortunately, it does not give minute by minute updates. In addition, it never accurately showed the wind strength, amount of rain or correct wind direction. But it gives you an idea of how “off” weather predictions can be. In and of itself that is a disaster.
This post was written in June 2020. Our blog posts are usually 8 to 10 weeks behind are true adventures.