Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Close Call

The 2011 hurricane season in the Atlantic officially began June 1 and ends November 30.  Baxter and I strategically chose New Bern, NC and Northwest Creek Marina because of it's hurricane protection.  There are four marinas within less than 10 miles, but none that are tucked in as well.  We also have been anxiously awaiting our opportunity to cruise south to the Bahamas and beyond, but we know that sailing in the Atlantic this time of year is a horrible idea, so we have been "summering" in Utah peeling back the calendar until November.

Then along came Irene.  She illustrated the importance of our decisions.  Before we left the boat in June, we prepped her and had her ready, as a precaution.  Unfortunately, when you're watching the trajectory of a hurricane which appears to be imminent you always wish there was more you could do (maybe build a huge imaginary bubble and keep her in it).  We watched the cone of death all day and night for four days and hoped it would go east.  There were times that we would just say out loud, "Really?"  How likely is it that with the entire 2,000 miles of the eastern seaboard a hurricane will make landfall exactly at our inlet?  Being 120 miles across, Irene uncovered our little hiding hole 20 miles upriver.

After all is said and done - New Bern and the surrounding area experienced flooding, downed trees, power outages, water shortage, and lots of clean up.  No boats were lost at our marina, and Stella Blue escaped without damage.  A tremendous amount of appreciation goes out to our Dock Master and staff at Northwest Creek Marina, as well as friends, whose vigilance in preparation of the dock and Stella Blue kept all safe and sound.

The NOAA Hurricane Center is now a bookmark on my browser and I check it continuously as the storms line up off the coast of Africa.  Tropical Storm Katia has decided to make an appearance.  She is not only predicted to become a hurricane by Friday but a major hurricane (category 3+) by Sunday.  Current models are indicating that she won't make landfall in the U.S. but at this point I am assuming she will be headed straight for Cape Lookout and playing around in our backyard.

New Bern waterfront - April 2011

New Bern waterfront - during Irene

Hurricane prepped - doubled dock lines, canvas removed, main hog-tied, and jib removed

Hello Irene!