I think today I came the closest I've ever come to being struck by lightning. I was the most scared, certainly. The morning dawned bright and humid, with some clouds, and I began to work on the boat. I was going to try to see if I could get put into the water, but today is the mexican independence day, so it wasn't going to happen. So I started working on the roller furling. There was a break up near the top, so I wanted to fix that, but its hard to work when little things are biting you all over. Such is life in San Blas, where the bugs reign. So I got bit a lot, and managed to get the pieces all ready, and I thought I had it all covered... And now its hot and sunny. When the sun comes out, it gets hot fast. So I took a small break and then started working on putting it on the forestay. This involves putting the sail on at the same time (yes its a bad design) and that means the sail will flap around all over the place if its windy. And yes, everytime that I've put it on, the wind picks up. Today was no exception, and I got it part way up, with lots of trouble and some help from one of the marina guys... A black cloud appeared on the horizon. Soon it was close, and raining, so I tied the sail up as best I could, and although I wasn't quite done, I thought it might hold against a breeze. The rain dumped down like only tropical weather can, and soon the breeze was more than just that! Lightning flashed all around and was deafening. It sounded like gods were hitting the ground with hammers, or playing baseball with dynamite. When a bolt hits close (like 1-3 seconds, or about 1/5-1/2 a mile) it shakes you, it moves your lungs. And its Damn scary! I'm up working on a thing with a long metal pole and metal strings that run straight to me! So I got down and waited for it to pass.
That storm passed, slowly, and I got up and tried to finish the job. This time, I managed to get the wire connected, so now the sail is at least supporting itself, but I didn't want to untie it and then try to roll it up, since I knew another bunch of wind was coming.
The world lit up white, and half a second later, the world shook and boomed with thunder. I scampered down into the boat, and waited for it to blow over. But this time, the storm didn't want to move. It stayed put over me and the wind blew HARD. The sail, of course, came undone, and I could feel the boat bucking a little. (Remember I am still on the hard, so if the stands come out, I fall over and that is REALLY BAD). So I braved the instant crispy death and went out to play in the ball game of the gods.
There were at least 10 that hit within a mile of me, and quite a few that were closer, some might have been 400 yards or less. I guess its hard to tell. I got the sail rolled up while the wind gusted away into the 30s or so, which isn't really all that much, but it is if you are on land....
Then I tied it down and sprinted back down, and went to join the marina guy under a metal roofed building. I could feel the adrenaline pumping, and it took me a while to stop shaking. I don't know what i would do if i got hit by lightning, but I imagine I'd be sore afterwards, supposing that I survived.
Then I waited for it all to end, and I didn't get much done today. I hope it isn't raining tomorrow, so I can get put back in the water. And I promise that I will post pictures sometime soon.