The "active" hurricane season that they have talked about since early summer is now showing up for the mid-Atlantic. One hurricane, Earl, and one tropical storm, Fiona are out there right now.
When I talk about "dodging" hurricanes I'm talking about time frames. I certainly won't start a trip if there is a storm that has a chance of coming up along the coast. What I am looking for is a nice seven to ten day window with no storms in the tropics that look like they'll head our way. Hopefully I'll find that window in the last half of September.
In the meantime I'm packing up for a trip to the outer banks. We'll decide tomorrow if I'm going or not - nothing like a front row seat for a storm. Earl should be off Hatteras Island in the early morning hours Friday, just in time for the 3 a.m. high tides. I expect Highway 12 both north and south of the Bonner Bridge over Oregon Inlet will be flooded, meaning the folks on Hatteras Island will be stranded for at least a few hours, maybe more. (I got stuck on Hatteras for four days - a great place to be stuck now that I think about it - after Hurricane Isabel left seven or eight feet of sand one top of the highway.) Waders, power bars, bottled water. What else should I bring?
Below is a nice photo from the Dawn Patrol crew showing Spartina on Bonner Bay on day two of the tag team. I'm still sorting through those photographs and finding lots of images I like. I'm also trying to incorporate a few things I've learned on the Tag Team 200 and the earlier Weekend Walkabout on this next trip.
Energy gels worked very well for me. Whether the extra energy I feel is in the gels or just in my head, it doesn't really matter. What I do know from single-handed sailing is that it can get tiring when at the tiller from 6:30 a.m. to 3 or 4 or 5 p.m. There is nobody else there to give you a break. On the single-handed Walkabout I made a point of having a power gel every afternoon about three, it seemed to help get me through the afternoon hours.
And another trick I learned from Bruce on the Tag Team was stocking up on those little condiment packs from fast food restaurants, they can add some nice flavoring to meals. So far I've got ketchup from McDonalds, hot sauce (fire!) from Taco Bell and parmesan cheese from Domino's Pizza. Need to get some soy sauce from the local Chinese take-out and I'll be set.
ps....things I need to get for the cruise -- another box of AA batteries, three one-gallon water bottles, another propane bottle....