A continuation from my earlier post, http://wp.me/pKtoE-c9.
With the boat secure, and the gear on we were finally hitting the water. Everyone took their turn dropping in off the side of the boat and Lane and I were always the last to go. I took the boat keys with us on every dive to make sure we had a boat to come back to, but left the batteries on in case someone had to come up and radio for help. Once underwater the stress of finding the reef went away, as did every other stress in my life. The reef was beautiful and full of life. Everyone seemed to be doing well, and all the gear was working as planned. Since the dive was only 30 feet deep our bottom time would be somewhere around an hour. The beautiful fish swam by, and the onshore current moved the massive fans back and forth as if they were in a slow waltz with one another.
Everything seemed perfect, and right when you think you’re ready to call it a dive a wonderful 5-foot Blacktip Reef Shark comes cruising by. Now sharks aren’t a big deal for most of the group, but Catherine was a new diver and I wasn’t sure how she’d react to our new neighbor. I kept an eye on her, as did Lane and we moved on about our business. We managed to find this wonderful little system of holes in one of the coral heads so we all scooted through these large caverns and enjoyed the amazing visibility and clear water. Once we emerged from the caverns I saw the curious Blacktip still hanging out overhead. Blacktips are common in the Caribbean and they usually don’t present a problem to divers. I honestly enjoy diving with them because they are beautiful to watch, and pose little threat unless you’re bugging or spearfishing. This particular shark was a bit more excited than I’d like, and he seemed to be gaining interest with each passing minute.
No sooner was I watching this shark did I noticed another grey-ish creature swimming off in the distance. This one looked smaller, but the clear presence of a dorsal fin was a big sign that we may have a few more sharks in the area. I kept my eyes open, and sure enough I saw what looked to be a school of sharks. As these objects came closer it was clear that they were indeed numerous, grey, large and fit the profile of a shark. I thought to myself, this checkout dive just got serious. Little did I know that this dive was about to go down in my book as one of the best dives of my life. The numerous grey creatures turned out to be a very-popular pod of dolphins that are known for inhabiting the Sea Of Abaco. I almost spit my regulator out! I’ve never seen dolphins on a dive, and here I was looking at seven to eight adults and a juvenile. They came right up to the group, who at this point were flipping out. All of us just sat on the sandy bottom watching them swim around us. It was a truly magical experience watching these guys just swim by, look you in the eye and cruise around. Go figure that none of us had our cameras on the dive since this was only going to be a “checkout dive”. The dolphins eventually moved on and we’d exhausted our tanks, so everyone made it back up to the boat.
Once we were all back on deck the celebration began. No one could believe that we’d just seen a pod of dolphins, and a Blacktip on what was supposed to be our gear check dive. Celebratory beers were opened, stories were shared and the team celebrated our first dive in the Bahamas.
A continuation from my earlier post, http://wp.me/pKtoE-bF.
Source: Google Earth
After unpacking the boat everyone decided to go for a check-out dive and get our first underwater adventure in the books. I had mixed feelings about heading out in Tripppin because I was going to be the guy navigating these shallow, clear Bahamian waters with no clear idea of where I was going. I’d done it thousands of times before in many countries, but never with this many people, and never without some form of local help. I went down to the dock to play with the chart plotters while Lane looked up some dive sites online. He came out a half hour later to let me know that we had a nice reef just around the corner from us where it looked like we could use a mooring ball to tie up.
The plan was to go just outside of Man-O-War Cay and see what we could find. We loaded up, and took off. The boat did amazingly well considering we had 9 divers and a belly full of fuel headed out to sea. I saw the markers for the Man-O-War Cay channel and proceeded out. After getting into “deep water” which seemed to be anything over 20 feet we started looking for the reef. We idled along the outer edge of the island for a good 20 minutes with little to no luck of seeing a mooring. The only thing that was apparent was the boat’s keel being about 6 feet off the reef with solid 2-foot fluctuation in depth from the onshore rollers. We abandoned the search and quickly turned away from Man-O-War heading back out into the ocean. It was right about now I wished that I could channel my inner Captain James. Local knowledge is invaluable, especially when you’re navigating shallow reef.
Common sense tells you that if you have to second-guess the depth and your boats ability to clear a reef that you need to turn around. Well, I’d managed to waste a good hour of everyone’s time screwing around looking for this mystical reef. Feeling defeated we hit the plotters and noticed that a marine sanctuary wasn’t far away and we’d be able to do some diving in about 30 feet of water. We motored out into deeper water and came to the front of Fowl Cay. We attempted to come into the reef from the outside of the island. Once again the plotters showed we would have depth, but we learned quickly that we would not be able to make it from the outside of the island.
After idling around for over an hour with little to show for my efforts I was feeling pretty defeated as the captain of the boat. The Abacos has a way of humbling you fairly quickly when it comes to navigation. The waters aren’t marked like they are in the U.S. or more populated countries, and the depth is very deceiving. After coming back into the Sea Of Abaco we pushed out around the back of Fowl Cay and finally saw the reef. We were even greeted by a few mooring balls that let us know we’d in fact made it.
A continuation from my earlier post, http://wp.me/pKtoE-bF.
Credit: Google Earth
So we’d all made our respective journey to the island in some way or another, and it felt good to be back with the rag-tag crew. I knew at this point nothing would get in our way for a successful trip. That first morning with everyone in the house was amazing. You could see the eagerness on everyone’s faces when they woke up saw the amazing 280-degree views out our living room windows. The first order of business the morning after everyone’s arrival became apparent when the last of the amazing pastries we’d bought the day before were gobbled up. We needed food, and the girls were quick to say they’d like to see Marsh Harbor.
The team loaded up into the boat for a trip into town. It was interesting watching their faces as we scooted along the shoreline. I had taken it for granted that we’ve been looking at this scenery for a few days now and they were just now seeing these beautiful islands. Once we hit the docks in town we all split up with our respective missions. I was on the “get food” team, so we asked a local taxi driver where the grocery store was and hit the road on foot. After about 40 minutes of aimless wandering, loads of sweat and some minor sunburn we threw in the towel. I could have sworn that the locals were screwing with us when they kept saying, “just a little further”. We headed back to the cabstand, caught a cab with AC and realized that we were literally fifty feet from the store when we’d finally decided to turnaround. Go figure.
The first thing you’ll notice in the grocery store is obviously the cool and interesting brands on the shelves. The second is the price. Holly price shock Batman. Like many other island counties the Bahamas have very few local farms, so they import a majority of their food. Hence the insane prices. Nonetheless; we had an entire car full of food, and headed back to the Harbor. I’m not really sure how we would have ever carried that stuff back to the boat. Thank God for the cabs.
Upon our arrival back at the Harbor we noticed that the “get tanks” team had indeed done just that. We had a leaf-cutter ant style line of tanks shuffling to the boat. A very nice gentleman was quick to help out with the tank duties, which was no surprise. The harbor is full of folks looking to help in hopes of a tip. I say that not in the way you think about people pandering you for money, but in a classy way. With a deep Bahamian accent the man introduced himself as Captain James. Wanting to know more about our new dock friend I asked him where his boat was, assuming that the Captain would surely point to one of the beautiful catamarans or trawlers that littered the bay. He smiled confidently, looked me in the eye and said, “All of em, young man”. He went on to explain that he captains a lot of the boats in the harbor and he’d be happy to help us on our adventure should we want a Captain to take us fishing, hunting conch or diving. I told him thank you and let him know we’d get in touch with him should we decide to go that route. He handed my dad a business card that contained the words “Capt. James” and his local phone number. We wished him a good day, said out goodbyes and shoved off. The boat was packed with 18 tanks, 9 people and a truckload of groceries. We idled out of the harbor, hit the throttles and pushed Tripppin back towards the homestead.
We’d made it back with supplies, newly-rented tanks and accomplished our early-morning adventure. Now what?
You can read the rest of the journey here, http://wp.me/pKtoE-c9.
A continuation from my earlier post, http://wp.me/pKtoE-by.
With the customs and immigration process behind us we were all ready for some adventure and food. Not specifically in that order. The folks at Dive Abaco were quick to suggest a local coffee shop down the road a bit where we could grab some sustenance. It didn’t take long, and the five of us found ourselves walking down a narrow road leading out of Marsh Harbor in search of our first Bahamian meal. I was in heaven. I’ve always loved walking around the islands wearing my goofy straw hat, some flops, and a backpack. It’s about as far as i can get from the bustling, tech-crazed world I live in back home.
A half mile later we stumbled into this wonderful little coffee shop where locals congregated in the corner, and the smell of fresh pastries filled the air. We quite literally bought the mother and daughter team out of everything they had in the deli case. We were starving, and didn’t care who knew. You could almost see disbelief strewn across the faces of the old women in the corner as we loaded up our backpacks with food, and slammed back coffee last meal style. With some life juice (coffee) flowing through us, and the fresh doughnuts being doled out we were ready to take on the world. Well, we were at least ready to walk back to the boat and figure out what to do next.
The rest of the clan didn’t arrive until later that afternoon, so we had some down time to explore and figure out where to grab some supplies. One of the challenges and benefits of not having a car on the island was that the boat had to be our lifeline to town. If we needed food, fuel, scuba tanks filled or supplies we had to rely on the boat to take us to where we needed to go. It’s fun, but it can also be a pain in the ass… not to mention expensive. I calculated that a simple run to Marsh Harbor costs us about $15 each way in the boat. Not that it was an issue, but I’m one of those people who likes to keep everything in perspective.
We loaded back into the boat after stopping by Dive Abaco one last time to negotiate tank rentals for the week. Everyone on the trip was going to be diving, and SCUBA tanks are almost always easier to rent than to own and travel with. You won’t believe how small a boat gets when tanks are added to the equation. We left the tanks for another day and ran back to the house; passing all of the skiffs, blow boats, trawlers and commercial vessels still tied up in the harbor.
The girls were arriving later that afternoon with a brief connection in Nassau, and we wanted to have the house in order for their arrival. Now, our home was rather amazing, but it did have one HUGE issue. It hadn’t been used in months, and the inside was musty and damp. So much so, that we had opened the entire place up for 24 hours and it was still an issue. Nothing like staying in a million-dollar home that smelled like the bilge of a boat. To add insult to injury one of the AC units was jacked, and made a sound similar to someone throwing a million pennies into the blades of a helicopter every time it was turned on. One call to the property manager and the house was teaming with a cleaning crew, and a repairman brandishing a new AC unit.
Just a few short hours later the team started trickling in the door with rolly-bags in tow. It was a whole bunch of hugs, “whoa look at this place” coupled with a few “I see that you all made it” comments. We quickly followed hellos with cocktails and an amazing sunset. Finally, the gang was all here.
You can read the rest of the journey here, http://wp.me/pKtoE-bN.
A continuation from my earlier post, http://wp.me/pKtoE-b6.
After 7 hours on the boat, 280 gallons of fuel, 4 iPod playlists and some serious victory dances we finally made it to Marsh Harbor. The beginning of the trip proved to be a challenge, but we’d managed to make it to our destination in just enough time to try to figure out where our house was. Oh yeah, you thought we actually knew where we were staying? Ha. That would require too much planning, and if you haven’t figured out by now the house was the least of our worries.
We’d rented the place off of VRBO or some similar site, and the couple that owned the home neglected to give us actual GPS coordinates, thus rendering the “It’s on Eastern Shores” directions worthless. We knew we were in the right area, but the houses were all fairly similar looking in nature. Our saving grace was the unique dock our home had, and I’d managed to remember that it made a T-shape when I looked at it from Google Earth. Thanks for that Google. We were able to pick the house out fairly easily and we threw dock lines just as the sun was setting. Not half bad for some rookies from the states.
We’d made it, the house was amazing, the boat had performed beyond anything I could have asked, and the sweet taste of victory was something we’d all tasted that first morning. Unfortunately victory was all we tasted, because we had no real food. Everyone got up, threw on some clothes and we loaded the boat to head into Marsh Harbor. We needed to get fuel (if they had any), clear customs, check in with the Harbormaster, and get some local island breakfast.
Pulling into Marsh was something I wish I could describe in this blog, but it’s simply not possible. The harbor reminded me of all those wonderful places in the Saints I’d visited years prior. You had a slew of sailboats, trawlers, skiffs and local fishing boats all moored up in no particular order. Locals and passersby were eating toast and drinking coffee on their decks, happy to throw you the casual wave as we scooted by. It took us a minute to find the fuel docks we were looking for, but a nice guy named Andy was happy to greet us and give us help with the customs and immigration folks. We actually weren’t able to get fuel for the boat until we cleared customs, and I wasn’t going to try any sneaky business with the Bahamian officials. We had our super fashionable bright yellow “Quarantine” flag flying, as soon as we hit Bahamian waters, so Andy knew were fresh off the Florida Coast. We called the Harbormaster and added ourselves to the list of folks who needed to be cleared that morning. A few hours later, $1600 in fuel, a lot of paper work and some nice locals added up to us being cleared for the trip. For those of you wondering what you can/can’t bring, and how to declare it I’m happy to chat offline. We did take a fair amount of munitions with us, and a great deal of cash. None of which was an issue, and we did it all by the book.
You can read the rest of the journey here, http://wp.me/pKtoE-bF.
A continuation from my earlier post,http://wp.me/pKtoE-b1.
We were about 100 yards into what we thought was the cut, but the depth was lingering around 4 feet. The good news was we’d be standing in waist-deep water if we sank, but no one wanted to deal with that. Once I felt like we made it into the channel and had some descent water under the props it was time to roll. We’d spent over an hour trying to determine where we needed to enter the channel, and we had time to make up from our storm experience earlier that morning. We had 11 feet under the boat, and it was game time. The boat popped up on plane as if to scream “These idiots actually did it!” and we were off. We managed to run the remaining 5 hours at an average speed of 30 knots with nothing but beautiful flat seas, and the occasional starfish or ray sitting under the boat as we sped overhead.
We’d made it, and we were now enjoying that amazing crystal clear water, beautiful skies and clear running. You can see from the photo above that the bank is fairly open and the depths are consistent. We were using our compass headings and “MOB” coordinates to help us determine distances between points. This would tell us precisely when to turn to our next heading and keep us out of trouble. As promised in the Abacos Guide, we did encounter fish muds, and they scared the hell out of every person on the boat including myself. We slowed for the first encounter, but once we felt confident in what they looked like it wasn’t an issue. A fish mud is nothing more than a cloud of sand/mud stirred up by schools of bottom feeding fish, but this mud tends to look like very shallow water to approaching boaters.
Fish muds, as noted by Steve Dodges Cruising Guide to The Abacos
The initial run on the bank is fairly easy once you have your coordinates planned. You’ll scoot just north of Mangrove Cay, turn to starboard and shoot just south of Great Sale Cay before skimming the top of Little Abaco and heading onto Spanish Cay. The water is amazing and the visibility on our trip was simply incredible. One of the major benefits of this course is that you’re in a semi-protected area the entire time, and Cays are great buffers between open ocean and shallow waters you run in. We never experienced more than moderate chop; despite winds kicking up in the afternoon to 15 knots.
The only thing I was semi-concerned with were the fuel gauges… specifically the two that were empty, and the third that was reading about half a tank. I knew we’d have plenty of fuel to make the trip with about 25% reserve, but we’d run heavier than ever before, and we used up an insane amount of fuel on the trip over due to the storm. I made the call to pull into Green Turtle Cay and fuel up just to be safe. We’d originally planned on clearing customs here, but it was past 5pm at this point and the offices were now closed. No worries though, as we had 24 hours to clear once we were in Bahamian waters. We came cruising into Green Turtle a little before 6, and everyone was excited. This was going to be our first Bahamian experience on the trip, and we were finally going to be standing on Bahamian soil. I see the fuel docks off in the distance and pull back on the throttles just before the break-wall. As we approach the old, sun-beaten dock hand walks out and yells, “Need Fuel?”, to which I replied, “Yep!” The next words he mutters aren’t exactly confidence inspiring. “We’re out, and the fuel boat didn’t come today… matter fact, everyone around here’s out.” Well shit. We managed to get all the way to Green Turtle Cay only to find out all of the neighboring islands were also out of fuel. We said our goodbyes, turned to port and proceeded back to the harbor entrance. The whole time my Dad is just smiling, and he finally said, “Well boys… welcome to the Bahamas. Sometime we’ve got fuel, and sometime we don’t”. He was having way too much fun with this.
You can find the next part of the journey here, http://wp.me/pKtoE-by.
A continuation from my earlier post, http://wp.me/pKtoE-aG.
West End was a welcome sight, but I knew that we had our work cut out for us by navigating the shallow waters. Lane and I were not new to coastal navigation, but we’d never been to the Bahamas before. I’d read every book, blog, story and napkin with any type of navigation advice on it, and I knew this would be tough. We overshot the entrance to the Bahama Bank by a mile or so due to the storm and the Gulf Stream pushing us north. I looked at the GPS and to my chagrin it wasn’t much help as the software was a few years out of date. Nothing like having $12k dollars of GPS equipment rendered useless because my dumbass didn’t spend $100 on software. I wanted to punch myself in the face… don’t worry, I didn’t. We did what any smart person would have done. We went slow and pulled out the binoculars.
Yes, here we are with three GPS screens, a heap of technology and we’re using $44 binoculars from Bass Pro Shop. The markers weren’t present where they should have been, and nothing seemed to line up. Couple that with the amazingly clear water of the Bahamas and you’re in a constant state of an early-onset heart attack thinking you’re in 2 feet of water. It was then that I resorted to the books. That’s right; in all of my worrying and planning I managed to buy the one single critical piece of technology this entire trip now rested on. Yes, I pulled out a book, but not just any book. It was more like a Bible for those looking to get to the Abacos by boat. The Cruising Guide to Abaco has long been hailed as a “must have” for people like us trying to make the run to the islands. I managed to pick up a copy on Amazon before we’d left, and it proved to be more valuable than any piece of equipment we purchased.
After reading a few of the pages we came to realize that we aren’t seeing markers because they are no longer there. The hurricanes of years past had long sense taken out any markers that we could have used to navigate the shallow shoals. Freaking perfect! We made it, and now we’re going to run the damn boat up on some rocks because we’re incompetent.
Keep in mind that this trip was made in a boat that has more technology than most people’s homes, and Lane and I were fully versed in the methods of navigating by GPS, a compass and even stars. But this was something all together different. We’d never been in unfamiliar waters with a book and a compass to help us navigate the remaining 5 hours of the trip. But guess who had? My Dad. He doodled around a bit, came back, took a look at the book and said, “we’ll use dead reckoning to get us there”. Lane and I looked at him like we’d just seen a ghost. The thought that he honestly expected us to use an eight-trillion year old method of navigation to get us to the Abacos was crazy. The only problem is that we didn’t have a better idea, and we had to get to the house before dark or we were going to be in serious trouble. We backed away from West End a few miles to get our bearings and headed for what we thought was the entrance to the channel. Keep in mind that 20 feet to either side were rocks that sat in less than two feet of water. Due to the water clarity and the time of day you couldn’t really tell where deep water started or stopped. We were heading in with blind faith, and a compass heading.
You can find the next part of the journey here, http://wp.me/pKtoE-b6.
I guess it would make sense to take a minute and tell you about our boat Tripppin. Tripppin is a 2004 Hydra Sports Vector 33 with triple Mercury 275 Verados. The engines are 06′ models and were hung on the boat after the original owner tossed the 300 HPDIs that came on her from the factory in Tennessee.
We (my business partner/best friend and I) bought the boat by total chance off eBay on New Years night in 2010. Owning a boat with triple 275 Verados seemed like a good idea after a few cocktails, and we’d been looking for a new ride for months. We placed a bid that night, and hit the road to pick her up a few weeks later. This was our first major ($ wise) boating investment, and we were all pretty nervous. The nerves calmed when we pulled into Biloxi the night before we arranged to pick up the boat. A few hours at the Craps table, and we were all ahead enough to feel good about the day. The next morning, we met up with the seller, took the boat out into a nasty windy, choppy bay and stretched her legs.
The Hydra is extremely dry and comfortable, and the appeal for this large a a boat was being driven by our vacations including more and more friends over the years. You spend enough time on a boat with dive and fishing gear all over the deck, and you’ll realize that a boat is almost never too large. We’d also wanted to try our hand at some real island hopping and the Hydra was well equipped to handle the job. One the way home we (Lane) decided to name her Tripppin (3 Ps) for many reasons, but the most obvious was our intentions to take the boat on a lot of trips and the other small fact that we were probably tripping when we thought of buying a boat like this.
We spent a lot of time upgrading her navigation systems, truing up the electrical system and getting the Verados up to snuff but it was all worth it. I’ve owned/co-owned numerous popular brands like Fountain, Donzi, Proline and so on, but the layout and usability of the Hydra is unbeatable.
LOA: 33 ft 0 in
Beam: 10 ft 6 in
Maximum Draft: 2 ft 10 in
Bridge Clearance: 7 ft 9 in
Engine Brand: Mercury
Engine Model: 4-Stroke Supercharged Outboards
Total Power: 825
Fresh Water: 29
Read about our latest adventure in Tripppin here, http://wp.me/pKtoE-9N.
A continuation from my earlier post, http://wp.me/pKtoE-af.
Ok, so that part where the lighting was nonexistent lasted about two more minutes. The seas were now solid 4-5 footers, the rain kicked up along with the wind, and the lightning was popping off in the distance. Any boater will tell you that this is one of the worst feelings you can have when you’re 50 miles offshore with other people’s lives in your hands. I looked at my Dad, who until this point had remained calm and collected. He was now dawning a spiffy green poncho, his Costas and a miserable smirk across his face. I looked at him and said, “What do I do?” because I honestly had no idea other than to turn around. His answer was a myriad of questions like, “How large is the storm?”, “How far do we have left?”, and “What do you think?”. I looked at him and said, “I have no freaking idea…I’m trying to keep us floating, and we’re still 20 miles from West End!” He slid in next to me, pulled up the weather chart and the sonar on our Garmin systems, laid it over the GPS maps to show us exactly how large the storm was, and what we were looking at. Just another reminder that my Dad knows a lot about a lot, and just as soon as I think I’ve got him beat with modern technology, I don’t. Fantastic, we could finally see what we were dealing with. The bad news was that we’d spent about an hour trying to get around a storm the size of New York. I backed down off the throttles, as it was apparent we weren’t out running anything. I looked at the weary, cold, wet crew and said, “What do you guys want to do?” We took a group vote, and after a spirited four-minute debate we decided to punch through it. We made sure the ditch bag, jackets and safety equipment were ready should we need them, and we all hunkered down for a knee-jarring, ass-kicking ride through the dark clouds in front of us.
The waves were pretty gnarly and the rain made it almost impossible for anyone to hide from that miserable sting. We pushed our way through the worst of it for 10 minutes, trying everything from plowing into the waves and running over them at 35knots. Nothing seemed to make it better. That was until we made it inside the storm. Once we broke the outer side of the thunderhead we were greeted with an eerie flat sea with almost no wind or rain. I wasn’t going to stick around and count my blessings, so we put Tripppin on the pins and made the final push at 50+ knots. Once on the other side of the storm we were greeted with sunlight, blue sky and flat seas. It wasn’t long until we saw the beautiful water tower on the tip of West End letting us know we’d made it to the Bahamas.
Sorry for the lack of photos in this post. We weren’t concerned with the cameras during this particular part of the trip. I promise to make it up to you with an awesome video on the next post.
You can find the next part of the journey here, http://wp.me/pKtoE-b1.
A continuation from my earlier post, http://wp.me/pKtoE-a4.
The Next morning most of us awoke to mild hangovers, and adding insult to injury we were faced a somewhat nasty weather forecast. The seas were ranging from 1-3 feet inshore, building to 2-4 feet with thunderstorms and high winds in the gulfstream. It would figure that the day we’re crossing would be nasty, but we’d come this far and we weren’t turning around. Four foot seas were doable in the boat, so we loaded knowing were going to get a little beating and soaking wet. It was ironic since the weather that morning was so nice in the marina. We took off out of Lake Worth Inlet and headed for the tip of West End.
The weather was great, the seas were solid two-footers, and the radio blared on Jimmy Buffett for the first hour. We only had four miles to go that day before we were officially in the Gulf Stream, and the weather seemed to be holding out for us early on. After we were about 25 miles offshore Lane and I started to notice this nasty thunderhead off to the southeast. We both said nothing, which was pretty typical. We’ve been doing these types of trips long enough that a lot of things go unspoken between us, but not unnoticed. A few minutes later I finally tuned to him and said, “We can’t get in front of this thing.” To which he said, “Let’s shoot north, speed up, and see what happens.” I honestly didn’t have a better plan and this storm wasn’t looking like it was going to break or slow its progress. I sped up. We were now cruising at an average speed of 36mph and the seas were picking up. Not only were we getting some nasty bumps on the keel, but the temps fell off drastically. So much so that everyone on the boat was now cold. The three things you never want to experience 30 miles offshore are nasty thunderheads with lightning, and cold air. Fortunately, this storm didn’t look like it had any lightning up its sleeve… but I’ve been wrong before.
You can find the next part of the journey here, http://wp.me/pKtoE-aG.