We Made It Through Karen

made it through Karen

Sunday Morning Weather Report

We awoke yesterday to the news that Tropical Storm Karen was heading for Grenada. Suddenly, our safe hurricane hole in Grenada was not so safe. The good news is we made it through Karen unscathed.

Before Sunday morning, the forecasts said Tropical Storm Karen was supposed to keep west and north of us. We woke up to this change and did not have time to prepare. We keep a good eye on the weather forecasts, but we have to expect the unexpected living on a boat.

Tropical Storm Karen
Tropical Storm Karen forecast as of Sunday AM

I’m not gonna lie: when the winds and rains started, I was scared. Sunday morning, the calm before the storm, we rushed around Sava closing hatches and lifting our dinghy while thunder roared in the background.

Dinghy Sava
Our dinghy secured off the boat

What To Do

What does a sailor do once a storm kicks in besides obsessively check on her anchor? We don’t know! What we did was sit below, stay dry and try not to obsess about what could go wrong. When that wasn’t enough we’d walk outside, fill buckets with rain water and look at the other boats and the waves rising around us. Several times we compared our location with the boats around us to ensure we hadn’t slid on our anchor.

As we looked at the state of the waves, and the debris floating around us, Brian created a game which he posted on the cruisers net page. While we didn’t see any life jackets or floaties, we saw a lot of coconuts, plastic bottles and pieces of wood.

Karen Bingo game Grenada
Brian’s Bingo Game

Cruisers Information and Aid

All day, our VHF radio blared out updates from other cruisers. We kept it tuned to cruiser channel 68 and the active channel 16. In Grenada, channel 68 is used by the cruisers, where anyone can reach out for info or help, call a friend, anything really. The VHF was a good resource all day, as we got updates from other bays and our own, especially when the unattended catamaran next to us drifted away!

We had been concerned about that boat, if it had slipped too close to us or not, but thought we were being paranoid. We should have trusted our eyes as the boat drifted several hundred feet away towards a reef in Benji Bay. Someone immediately called out on channel 68 and others hopped in dinghies to bring it back under control. All turned out OK in the end with the catamaran only hitting the reef and no other sailboats, but it was a dicey few minutes. Cheers to the sailors who hopped in their dinghies and helped out. The owners owe you.

Catamaran Benji Bay
The catamaran that came loose was driven back and anchored away from the reef.

Tropical Storm Karen is Gone

The storm lasted for most of Sunday. The rain ended after dark, but neither of us slept well. It took me a long time to fall asleep in the V berth with all the rocking and rolling from the waves. Brian moved around the boat trying to get comfortable but we were on edge. The worst was over, thankfully and we woke up to sunshine and big waves today. We are fine. The catamaran in Benji Bay wasn’t the only boat that broke off a mooring or dragged anchor, but the cruising community and our friends are safe.

We were fortunate. Grenada has floods, as it often does when it rains heavily. The winds didn’t surpass the mid 30 knots, which really isn’t bad for a tropical storm. Waves are large, it rained a lot, but Sava is pretty watertight, with only a couple of drips inside.

I knew this was inevitable. Living on a boat we’ll experience more storms, but I don’t think we will ever not be nervous when they hit.

Karen was almost an ideal situation: we were in a protected harbor with lots of other boats we know, and a great support system of cruisers in Grenada. I am happy and thankful Karen has passed and hope it’s the worst we get this season.

Author: Mel

Living aboard a sailboat, blogging about the places we visit and the adventures we have. Love hiking, cycling, scuba, animals and adventure.

2 thoughts on “We Made It Through Karen”

  1. Great story! Glad you are safe and have a positive attitude about the storm and experience for the next one (may that be a long way off;)
    Wonderful to hear the cruising community is supportive and ready to help.
    Thanks for sharing.

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