Dodging Storms And Strange Weather

There have been a lot of storms and a lot of rain down here lately. Well, maybe not a lot, but a lot for this early in the season, and a lot for Islamorada. At least since I’ve been living down here Islamorada seems to dodge these storms most of the time.

Earlier this week we had a really strong storm hit in the middle of the night that was on par with the blow we had last month. Yes a few boats in the anchorage moved again…and yes, I was one of them…AGAIN!

That storm was bad enough that Sparky was actually scared, which doesn’t happen too often. Luckily, there was no damage, though, and no close calls since we just move further out into the bay.

Vaavud Wind Speed App
Vaavud Wind Speed App reading as that storm passed by

Strong Winds And New Toys

This entire week we’ve had pretty constant strong winds too, which is really strange for this time of year. There have also been a few pretty big storms out further in the bay the last few nights, like the one in this video. Luckily we haven’t been hit with any more since the one in the beginning of the week.

As the storm passed by last night I decided to finally give the new wind meter and app for my phone a try. The wind instrument on the boat died a few years ago, or we at least accidentally broke the transducer when trying to replace it. I’ve gotten used to sailing without wind readings, but decided to get a handheld just in case.

The Vaavud Wind Speed Meter plugs right into the headphone jack on your phone, and includes an app for both Android and iOS.

14 Responses to Dodging Storms And Strange Weather

  1. An engaging site on a great topic. I am the worlds worst sailor. If it is not flat calm I spend the journey in the head or hanging over the railing. I get seasick just thinking about rough weather, but there is nothing healthier than a day on ( or in ) the water with light and the breeze and a fresh fish straight from the sea into the frying pan. This site celebrates all that, even the company of an enthusiastic dog. Brilliant. I like your affiliate statement. That builds trust. Great name for your catamaran, Grouchy Turtle.

    • Thanks for compliments Dave. Unfortunately I can’t take credit for the name. On of my friends actually came up with it.

      I know exactly what you mean about rough weather. I used to be a pretty big fish feeder myself. I actually got sick on the Turtle’s delivery trip after going below to check on something. Although I’ve gotten better over the years from being aboard full time, I’ll still take your light breezes.

      Big seas make for pretty rough diving, snorkeling, kayaking, paddleboarding, etc.

  2. Unfortunately, storms will always be a part of our lives, so we have to embrace them as best we can. You said you tried out the new app the other night. What did you think of it? Is it worthwhile getting? Does it cost anything? There’s nothing worse than heading out onto the water in rough seas.

    • That’s is true, and they’re even harder to avoid when you’re live on the water full time. I usually just check the wind online before heading out, and if it’s that bad I’m staying put. I’ve also been out here long enough to be a pretty good judge of wind speed up to scary, I’m not leaving the dock level.

      This is a pretty cool little gadget to have, though, but I’d say more so for day sailors, paddlers, and other watersports participants who aren’t on a big boat with built in instruments. The app is free to download, but you need the anemometer that plugs into your phone. It works with a few different models I think. The one made by Vaavud is about $40-$50.

  3. Hello Chris,
    Are you sure it was just Sparky that was the only one scared?
    I am not sure where Islamorada is, can you describe it?
    Is there any way you can keep the boat from losing its mooring more effectively.
    I am anxious to know how well the app worked on your phone because it can be used for so many other applications like in the mountains for hiking and base jumping or rock climbing.
    Looking forward to hearing more about it.

    The Fat Guy

    • Well, Fat Guy…maybe the guest we had on board was too. Islamorada is in the Florida Keys, just south of Key Largo. We could possibly use a larger anchor, but the holding around here is known for being pretty bad.

      The app worked great. I agree with you it could be used for so many other outdoor activities. Pretty much anything where you’d want to know the wind speed. And I’m pretty sure you could still plug the anemometer in, even with your phone in a case.


  4. Hey just want to let you know that I couldn’t play your video, but I think this is such a cool post. There is nothing more sporadic than the weather and I think you took a very interesting take here on how to dodge storms. I can’t believe they have a wind speed app! It seems like there’s an app for everything nowadays, but this must prove to be so useful for you and the weather conditions that must be endured.

    • That’s strange Pete. You’re the second person to mention a problem with one of my videos. They’re all just embedded facebook video.

      Especially so in south Florida. The saying here is, “Don’t like the weather? Wait 15 minutes.” They’ve actually had wind speed apps for a long time now. This is one of the first to incorporate hardware, though, which makes it more accurate.

      They really do have an app for everything. I can also navigate using my phone., check marine weather, etc.


  5. Hi Chris,

    First I must confess that I have never heard of the place that you talk about here – Islamorada. So, I did a quick search to find out that it is a small resort town in the Florida Keys.

    It’s interesting to hear that the storms down there can be strong enough to actually make an anchored boat move. And of course this bad weather even effected your cute little dog Sparky.

    We are all subjected in our lives to the aspects of the weather and nature, something that none of us can control. That looks like a pretty cool app, especially for those of us who have a love of sailing or other watersports.


    • Thanks Jeff,

      The holding in this anchorage is probably the worst I’ve seen in my life. Every time there’s a bad storm a few boats drag. I’m just glad Erika, the recent tropical storm, broke up before it got to us. We had a very windy and rainy night, but the boat didn’t budge.


  6. Storms are hell of natural disasters that nobody likes. It is of course a great beneit to be able to be warned before it so that you can protect yourself from the consequences.
    I didn’t know that there was an app for wind indication. Does it show from meteorology reports or it shows the momental ambient wind?

    • It shows the true wind speed in real time. The app doesn’t work unless you use it with Vaavud’s anemometer. You just hold your phone in the wind for a few seconds to get a reading.

  7. Hey Chris,
    The Florida weather always seems so unpredictable. I’ve been down to the Clearwater/Tampa area as well as South Beach and it seems like no matter where you are in the Sunshine state, you will get hit with a storm, sometimes on a daily basis. That is crazy that the storm could be that strong and actually move your boat that is anchored. Slick website!

    • Yes, especially during the end of hurricane season, late summer/early fall, it’ like that. Down here they say if you don’t like the weather, wait 15 minutes.

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