August 27, 2011.
Friday evening after we work we took care of our last minute hurricane preparations. We ran a couple of long lines out to distant pilings to help spread the load our boat would be putting on the pilings surrounding our slip. Then there was the obligatory happy hour which became a pre-hurricane gathering.
Since our slip is so tight we decided to drop the dinghy in the water. We're backed into the slip and by getting the dinghy off the davits we freed up about 4 feet of space behind the boat.
That should give us a little more “wiggle room” when we're forced to start adjusting lines. We tied the dink to a line between our dock and the shoreline. It can't reach the dock at either end of its tether so chaffing shouldn't be an issue.
Since we're the only live-aboards here in the marina I always try to help the marina owner out by adjusting this and that while the water rises and ebbs. So I made a quick trip down the docks and was flabbergasted at what some people consider appropriate when it comes to tying up their boats. These were two of my favorites. The one guy slipped the loop ends of his docklines over the little wooden hooks designed to hold coiled lines. Why would you ever want to go to the trouble of tying your boat to that big staunch post when you can just drop the loopy part over that little spindly part.
I worked on Saturday morning getting the last of the stragglers out of the water. The wind and the rain started during the morning and by noon the wind was blowing about 30 knots. Heading home after work I was pleased to find that there was no wind at all in our tiny little haven just on the other side of town.
It was pouring here, the wind out at Thomas Point light was blowing close to 40 knots, but we were only seeing a third of that. So far so good.
Right after I finished writing the above post, the power went out and the internet disappeared so I was unable to post it. It's now the next day and Irene has left the building. The sun is out, the wind is dying away and if not for the amount of detritus from the trees you'd never know there had been a weather event.
During the night I went topside and walked the docks every 2 hours checking on things here in the marina. My biggest impression of the storm was the NOISE. Between the wind whistling through the masts and roaring through the trees the noise was very much like being in close proximity to a freight train. It was very impressive.
Every once in a while the Veranda would get hit by an especially violent gust of wind and heel ever so slightly in her slip. But for the most part the wind down at deck level was 15 knots or less. The instruments at the masthead recorded a high of 42 knots so it must have been blowing stink out in lesser protected anchorages.
Our biggest concern was the expected surge. There was a chance of the tide rising 4 to 6 feet as the storm approached our latitude. Then as it passed, the wind would be blowing the water out of the bay with some forecasters calling for as much as a 10 foot drop. We ended up with a rise of only about a foot and when the wind turned and started blowing the water away it was raining so hard that the water only dropped about 2 feet.
The dodger and bimini did their thing and the cockpit stayed dry. Tucker rode out the storm in his cockpit bunk and seemed no worse for wear. The extra lines have been retrieved and stowed, the leaves have been cleared from the deck and the sunshades are back on the dodger. There’s no power in town so our Honda generator has been lent to a neighbor and life goes on.