Over the winter Jack and I marveled when it had been x number of weeks since we had rain, or two months since we had rain, and so on. From the time we left the eastern Caribbean, to Puerto Rico, Panama, the Galapagos and back, we wished so much for rain enough to wash the salt off the boat but rarely got it. We often had to use fresh water from our tank to clean the boat because even though we live in salt water, salt is the enemy of so many things on board and we need to keep it at bay.
Now that we’re in the Costa Rican rainforest we’re learning the true meaning of “rainy season.” It rains. A lot. Every day. The day usually starts out sunny and humid and hot but sometime in the afternoon the clouds slowly gather and start their inevitable ooze along the mountain ridge toward where we lie on our mooring. First comes a bit of breeze relieving the suffocating heat, then the rain starts, light at first, then steady and windless. If the rain comes early, say just after noon, then we have a chance of a bit more sunshine later in the day. But mostly the rain takes us into the evening.
Today the rain never stopped. It started just as the engine mechanic arrived to sort out the issues that developed during our 1200 miles of motoring after the dismasting. And continued, a soft but steady rain, what I think my mom called a farmer’s rain. The kind that soaks the fields.
We have our gutter-and-filter rain collection system deployed, but there’s so much rain that we rigged our secondary system which involves our side awnings and a couple of buckets. Once before dinner and then again before we went to bed we filtered the buckets into the tank and hooked them up again.
I awoke at 4am for no known reason and heard an odd trickling out on deck. Ah yes, the buckets were overflowing. Sleep? Or empty the buckets? I got up, poured the water into the tank, set the buckets up again and went back to bed. I wasn’t even back to sleep before I heard the trickling sound again, so it was up again, empty the buckets, hook them up to the awnings.
By this time the sky was lightening and I tucked myself into the dry corner of the cockpit where I am now, listening to the patter of the rain, by turns emptying buckets and watching the growing light reveal the mist nestled in all the hollows of the surrounding hills.
My dad loved the rain, and whenever we had a thunderstorm or a heavy rain he would stand in our screened front porch and watch and listen. I can remember as a child standing quietly beside him out on that porch, and even though he’s been gone for 34 years, I feel him with me now, sitting here on our back porch, watching and listening to the rain.