The old Morton Salt slogan "When it rains, it pours." applies to the Exumas.
Maybe a few drops (not granules) every so often, but usually when a squall darkens the sky, it comes fully loaded with sh-bangs and sh-booms as well as a few flashes and lightning bolts to reinforce who rules the skies in these here tropical parts.
In The Knickerbocker Tales, Washington Irving attributed the clap and clash to boisterous Dutch beer-drinkers bowling in the Catskill Mountains of New York. The resounding rolling balls colliding with "Dutch pins" explained the meteorological commotion of crashing clouds brash-cascading thunderous echoes down the valleys near colonial New Amsterdam.
Here in the Exumas neither the Dutch nor the old Brits and loyalists from the American Revoltions who once ruled these islands sound their drums or blow their horns to explain approaching squalls. The storms speak for themselves here quite emphatically.
Here the skies are so replete with moisture, they brandish, bump and bully their stuffed cumulus bellies into their own bellicosity. Downpours, nay deluges, don't knock at your boat's hatches or offer a polite "How do you do". They parade their might and bluster with huge girth and awe-inspiring heights then to show off display shuddering lights as they approach like a freight train that does not appear fast and furious until it is racing through your backyard. Maybe a Darth Vader strutting in your front or back door might be more accurate. The prominent dark side Death Star in the distance casting its darkness shadow and altering day into night is what comes to mind when these behemoths loom doom over an entire sky.
Mystique and I were motoring from Little Bay on Great Guana, north of Little Farmers Cay, then through the cut outside onto the eastern ocean side of the Exumas on a tranquil, almost windless day when Darth, Thor, Zeus, Odin or some mischievous Bahamian deity decided it was time to wake and shake up the sleepy neighborhood. Whatever his mood or motive, it was clear he was unhappy with the status quo. A dark and ominous gathering of clouds moved overhead and announced his presence with foreboding bolts of electric exclamation points!
I made some offhand comment, something like, "I see you, you big bully," Not long after that cocky comment, out the corner of my eye I caught a flash to starboard...and then 3 seconds later the freight train seemed like it derailed coming through Mystique's galley near where I was standing at the time. A spark, then a flame and in seconds the brush and undergrowth of this uninhabited island was aflame. Not some little campfire. This flash within minutes engulfed this unhoused /uninhabited island and consumed all of its foliage as northerly gusts fanned the flames. Within two hours a huge mushroom cloud appeared like a nuclear blast from 10 away.
As we motored past Children's Bay Cay and Rat Cay, a nasty-looking, death star-like, ominous cloud cover gradually crept in over my location and enveloped the southern sky from the east to the west horizons. Only a few miles away from it, I (we?) decided it was time to douse the mainsail, tighten all the sheets and close all the hatches. I then debated with myself as lightning and thunder loomed dead ahead whether to duck behind Square Cay to anchor or continue on course 5 more miles to the safety of Emerald Bay Marina. The threatening squall put on quite a show of pomp and pomposity.
I had a couple minutes to decide either to duck or drive forward. Been through much worse I reasoned and besides a moving target is more difficult for lightening than a stationary one. Besides 5 miles is nothing, I'll be there is less than an hour. Ha! Maybe hearing my overconfidence or remembering my previous dismissive statement, "Boomer" (it needed a name for its nature deity down here on Earth!) let it be known who rules this Bahamian sea and barrier reef. Forging ahead at 5 knots on a flat sea seemed easy until 15 minutes later when the skies opened their floodgates. Quickly the southerly headwind gusts reached 18 knots. There was so much rain, the sea stayed eerily flattened in the intense gusts. I immediately noticed the conditions reduced visibility to less than twenty yards. I lowered our speed but tried to keep a steady course while the coastline disappeared from view. My GPS gave me some perspective about our location, but I could only imagine without a compass or GPS, I might have been steering in circles I was now without my Auto - my autopilot had not been work for a few days.
Suddenly I could see an island off our starboard bow and then a similar size catamaran surprisingly appeared a half mile away inching northward past us. The rain and wind raged for most of an hour. When the storm finally abated, the late afternoon sun confirmed it had the day's last say and Mystique was back heading directly a couple miles away for its next destination.
When we arrived at the Emerald Bay marina, I discovered it closed, without fuel and staff on a sleepy Saturday night. Four days later I finally filled up our diesel tanks and were on our way to George Town 15 miles southward.