Monday, September 30, 2019
Saturday, September 28, 2019
This one should be working. It doesn't include today's sail but has a mark from tonight and will be updating tomorrow.
Friday, September 27, 2019
Thursday, September 26, 2019
I have packed all the food, checked all the batteries, cleared the memory cards in the cameras.
A marina near the ramp in Cambridge will let me park my jeep and trailer on their property, giving me a pro-rated storage fee. (Someone tried to steal my trailer last year when I left it in the lot at the ramp.)
I have changed the interval shooting on the GoPro back to a frame every two seconds. I had experimented with shoot at 2 frames per second and that was just too much with no noticeable improvement in results.
I have packed my mango drysuit in a dry bag. The weather should be warm and comfortable, the water not too cold yet. I did, however, spend hours sailing to Rock Hall about this time last year in a cold rain and remember wishing I had better protection. I will have the drysuit with me and hope not to need it.
The forecast for the first few days of the trip is excellent.
I was back on Ocracoke a few days ago, the lengthy recovery of the island just beginning. Out in a parking was a pile of 11,000 cubic yards of what was technically called "construction debris." A woman at the site referred to it more accurately as a lot of memories. This pile was just a tiny portion of the debris left by Hurricane Dorian. The streets in the village are lined with appliances, furniture, rugs, tree limbs still waiting to be picked up. In spite of the destruction around them, the islanders still smiled, the volunteers still volunteered. And life goes on.
Sunday, September 22, 2019
Out for a short sail today with both the Pilgrim and the oldest daughter (also co-builder and member of SPARTINA original crew) on board. I should have been home packing, checking gear but with a perfect forecast we had to get out. Sailing without humidity, now there's an idea.
Shorter sail than usual, back to the house to wash the boat down, heading to Hatteras (staying in Buxton without a hurricane nearby, there's another great idea). Catching an early ferry to Ocracoke tomorrow to see how the good folks down there are doing.
Some boats heading south on the ICW already, including ADVENTURESS of Falmouth, England. A beautiful boat, I believe it to be the 1955 German built Philip Rhodes R27 mentioned here. Very, very elegant.
Saturday, September 21, 2019
top to bottom, sleeping bag, bevy, sleeping pad
hypothermia kit, left, and bag of freeze-dried dinners
vacuum-packed spare am/fm, gps and vhf radio
Thursday, September 19, 2019
Barry points out that historian David Cecelski published a great journal written by a young woman visiting Ocracoke Island during what turned out to be the 1899 San Ciriaco Hurricane. Well worth the read.
Here's the direct link - https://davidcecelski.com/2019/09/18/ocracoke-1899-the-floods-last-time/
I have been asked by a few friends where I will be sailing this fall. The short answer: from Cambridge on the Choptank River to the top of the Bay and back. This will be similar to the Last 294 and the Top O' the Bay cruises that I have made over the last few years. It will be similar but not the same. For every creek where I have anchored there are a dozen or more to be explored. I hope to go up the Elk River past the entrance to the C and D Canal. I might even cross over to the western side of the Bay to sail the Magothy River. The Bohemia, Sassafras and Chester River are all on the list. I hope to visit St. Michaels but probably not during the small craft festival. I do hope to see a few friends along the way.
I have a sixteen day window for sailing. I can use it all, or start later/finish earlier if there is a threatening storm. Worst case, and it is not a bad case at all, I can launch out of Cambridge and spend some time exploring the many creeks of the Choptank River, staying less than a day's sail from Cambridge. Day sailing the Choptank, spending the evenings in a creek sounds pretty good. We'll see.
Tuesday, September 17, 2019
Last night I found a few video clips, most shot with the GoPro, of Hurricane Dorian passing over Buxton on Cape Hatteras. Most clips were shot at or near The Cape Pines Motel, my favorite (and in my opinion the safest) hurricane hotel on the island. I believe Dorian was at the time a very low Category 1 storm. Nothing fancy here, just some clips strung together ( you can even hear my talking to my camera).
Sunday, September 15, 2019
Most of the packing for the fall trip will happen next weekend, but with several pieces of new gear I decided to get a head start on it today. (I had hoped for a sail today but the Windy.com map tells me is is a light blue to purple kind of day - light and variable winds.)
With the idea of reducing single use plastic (I know, it's a fad, but I sail by so much plastic in the rivers and sounds I thought I would try and do my part) I am trying out stand-up reusable ziplock storage bags. Each bag contains most of the food for two days worth of meals. Each day's meal includes an Rx bar, buffalo meat bar, three cups of fruit, can of Italian tuna and some ginger chews (freeze dried meals go in a 20 liter dry bag). That red Rx bar is chocolate cherry, that doesn't sound like it would suit my taste but I have yet to try an Rx bar that I did not like.
I have two new anchor lights, Everbrite camping lanterns. Two for ten bucks, seems like a good deal and they seem to be well made. If I'm using the boom tent I use just one anchor light, hanging it up in the lazy jacks. If I am not using the boom tent and instead sleeping under the stars I use two anchor lights, one under the bow sprit and one off the stern. I want those predawn dead rises to see me as they come down the creek. In the past I have tried to have all my equipment use AA batteries. These use AAA, as does my new marine vhf radio so I'll carry supplies of both types of batteries.
I've also got new foul weather gear, jacket and bibs made by Gill. I bought both through amazon, not realizing that the bib pants were from a wetsuit store in England. Four-day free international shipping, I don't see how they can do that but obviously they can.
I'll have two books on board, both look good to me and received good reviews. Dusk comes early this time of year so I don't know how much reading I'll get done.
A few other things I need to do...
- I've got a new gps so need to create new or copy old waypoints
- My new SPOT Gen 3 has an option for a second message that I don't understand so need to look at the owner's manual.
- Fall means fishing on Chesapeake Bay, need to renew my fishing license.
Friday, September 13, 2019
The title of this post is from the opening page of Peter Matthiessen's SHADOW COUNTRY where he describes a waterfront town in Ten Thousand Island coast of Florida after a hurricane had struck. I often read the first two paragraphs of that book when I know that a hurricane is coming up the coast and when I know I might well be in the middle of the storm on the narrow strip of sand known as the Outer Banks. The question I have when going to a storm is not so much about what the hurricane will be like - after 20-some years of covering the storms down there I know what it will be like - but what I wonder about it what will the villages be like after the storm has passed. That is always the question.
I was on Hatteras where there was not too much damage. Hearing dire reports from Ocracoke Island I told a friend that those stories were most likely exaggerated. I know now that I was greatly mistaken. In the lower portion of the photograph above you see the high water marks from what had been considered the severe hurricanes that crossed over the island. You can see that those marks pale in comparison to Dorian's mark.
As it was explained to me, there are something over 900 year-round residents on the island. Most of those people live in the older homes meaning those built between a century ago and maybe the 1970s. Those homes were built much lower to the ground than the more recently homes built on stilts.
When Dorian's storm surge came - I heard it described as both a tsunami and as a river rushing through the narrow lanes of the village - the water flooded most of those older homes, damaging the floors, walls and most importantly the wiring. Most of those homes will need to be completely rewired before folks can keep cold food in a fridge, cook on an electric stove or keep cool and comfortable in air conditioning. Cars and trucks parked on "high" ground, were flooded and destroyed. The road to the ferry docks at the north end of the island was ruptured. Those people now have no place to live, few undamaged possessions and no way to make a living.
As one resident said, they are in survival mode. Health and safety are not assured at this point. The island has a long hard path to recovery, one that will take months if not years.
The islanders, being islanders, are coping with a smile. Waiting to catch the evening ferry off the island I met a woman whose house was flooded, jeep totaled, she lost pretty much all of her belongings. She was also a double amputee. I have since heard that after dealing with the storm's damage for a few days she decided to go the the beach for a swim, something she described as glorious. Somehow during the swim she lost one of her "legs" in the ocean. It did not faze her, she could weld a new, temporary leg. Then friends showed up with her lost leg, having found it washed up on the beach. She saw it as a metaphor for life on the island. "The sea taketh, and the sea giveth back!"
The coast for now lies broken. I wish the islanders well as they work to mend it.
Tuesday, September 10, 2019
Monday, September 9, 2019
Saturday, September 7, 2019
Friday, September 6, 2019
The eye of Dorian began to pass us by to the south and east, then slid west, back east and then west again. The wind calmed, a patch of blue skies. Very cool. Sound blow out to the west, but not as bad as Irene. Backside of storm arrived about five minutes ago, howling winds and rain.