After an already tiring day of getting our boat ungrounded, we knew the worst wasn’t over with the next menacing threat on the horizon: severe thunderstorm. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration had issued a severe thunderstorm warning for the counties surrounding the Wye River, so we knew what we were in for. But we had never ridden out a thunderstorm at anchor before, so this experience would be our first.
With predicted wind speeds of 35 miles per hour and gusts up to 60 miles per hour, we knew our priority was to secure the anchor as firmly as possible to avoid dragging. Damian let out extra anchor rode, and from there we tested how well the anchor had set by running the engine full power in reverse. The anchor held. We had to trust it would hold us firmly through the storm. After that, we secured other lines and the halyard so that they would not fly around in the wind. We battened down the hatches and watched as the storm clouds approached.
At first it was just the disappearance of the sun, but gradually the shifting clouds gave way to darker ones that crept our way from the West. The lead gray sky brought with it the ominous wind that swept across the water forming swells that skirted across the surface, slanting our boat to a strong port heel. We heard the wind howl as it raced from one side of the shore to the other. And then came the sound of the rain pelting against the panes of our portholes and the deck. The question we both had was: how long would it last?
We kept our minds occupied with writing thank you notes and reading aloud. Schnitzel was nowhere to be found. He had sensed the storm coming and had gone to hide in the aft cabin. We knew he would be ok.
The duration of the storm lasted no more than 45 minutes, and to our relief the glint of the sun peeked its rays out from behind the trailing clouds to reveal the late afternoon/early evening glow. Damian surveyed the situation and observed that Gem&I had not dragged at all despite the heavy winds. Our anchor had held securely.
Little did we know after the first storm departed that a second one would ensue only about an hour and a half later.
Riding out the storm at anchor, gives new meaning to the idea of Christ being our anchor and holding us secure and firm through the troubles and trials of life. The lyrics of Edward Mote’s hymn resounds in my soul:
When darkness veils His lovely face, I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale, My anchor holds within the veil.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; All other ground is sinking sand.