I woke, naturally, about 6:00 am, an hour of my sleep period still remaining, but
I wasn't sleepy. I got up, made some coffee and downloaded the day's weather forecasts
on the SSB. The forecasts were about the same as the day before.
The lightning had continued thru the night, but when the
sun came up, it quickly dissipated (or became impossible to see), and so, although it
was cloudy, we didn't feel nearly as exposed during the day as we had at night.
Just before I got up, thinking of it as an energysaving favor, the mate had turned off the radar,
but, without realizing it, had reset the software on the chartplotter, so I spent an hour
or so reconfiguring the chartplotters to my satisfaction first thing in the morning.
Around 9:00 a.m., feeling the wind come up a bit, I put up the sails, but to no avail, as
after about an hour of sailing, the wind died, and the day continued hot and muggy as we motored on.
About this time, after doing a bunch of calculations, I realized that averaging
4 knots was for the birds, and cranked the motor up til the boat was
coursing thru the water at close to 7 knots. The less time on the water, the
less we would be exposed to any thunderstorms we might run into, and so the new
keyword for the leg became "speed". The day passed by, we fried some
hamburgers for me for dinner and I took over my watch at 8:30 pm.
There was still lightning in the sky, but now it appeared to be off our port,
over land. Apparently there were some pretty high mountains about 30 miles to
the east (we were heading almost due south at this point), and the rise in elevation
must have been causing the convection leading to the lightning. In general, there
was no feeling of immediate danger at that point.
Then somewhat later, perhaps around midnight, right in front of us, about 6 miles
away, a radar return indicated the formation of a thundercloud. As it grew in
size on the radar screen, I became more and more wary of it and changed our course
about 15 degrees to port, once again towards land, to avoid the cloud. As time
ticked away, we slowly made our way past the cloud which I could make out as it
blotted out all the stars. As we passed it, I could see lightning up in it, and
was glad that I had altered course. After about an hour (and a scant seven miles
of progress), I was able to correct back to our original course. Throughout the
rest of my watch I could see lightening in that cloud which was now behind us.
I handed the watch over at 2:00 a.m. as we finally passed Madero,
about 250 miles under our keel, and officially made our way into Guatemalan waters.