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Bracing for Hurricane Sandy

Sunday evening through Monday morning was spent sleepless.twirling at anchor.  When it gets dark and the winds howl muting conversation, the rains resemble waterfalls, and boat groan sounds like the anchor has failed – it’s easy to doubt your sanity.  

But so far so good here at anchor.  I don’t want to jinx anything by being too optimistic.   This translates to taking photos and video.  I know some people take photos and video during a crisis — but it seems like bad ju ju to me.   Like taunting the mother nature gods to give you a good video clip – and messing with your ability to survive at the same time.  

We’ve felt the impact of Hurricane Sandy since Saturday afternoon, as Sandy makes its way up the coast.  The intensity grows every hour.  I have to say that this hurricane hole in Wilton Creek has done fabulous so far.   We watch huge trees above the river banks sway in every which way – and yet a different weather system seems to be occurring at water level.  It is a very odd sensation, that what you “see” is not what you “feel”.  And, all of the time, you wonder when that will change.   We can get internet (via our phones) at anchor – so we monitor the news coverage.  Which by now is 100% Hurricane Sandy.  

Today is the day.  The day that Hurricane Sandy will make it’s turn toward land.  Once she turns to the west (toward land), we would brace for the worse.   Our 5-11 National Weather tracking is bringing us news less to our liking.   It is now expected, that Sandy will make landfall closer to the Delaware Bay….i.e. closer to us.  Every mile matters.  The forecasts also show, that for some bizarre reason (perhaps the collision with the NorEaster) – that the brunt of the winds will extend down to the south bay.   What?   Our forecasts have changed – with the worst winds extending all the way to our location.   I’m not liking this news, and have decided to shut down on reading more about Hurricane Sandy.

What will be…will be at this point.  It’s time to look at the bright side.  Our hurricane hole has been good so far.  Buffers a lot of the winds that less sheltered areas are getting.   

The bands of winds from a hurricane can be deceptive.   You might experience the extensive sustained winds and  gusts for say an hour….and suddenly there is a calm.   During one of those “calms”, we watched some particularly bizarre actions on a nearby anchored sailboat.  The owners who were not riding out the storm at anchor – had returned to their vessel to re-positioned it for the coming southwest winds.   Once re positioned  the woman hopped into some floating dingy type device, and was being propelled by her husband who was swimming beside her pushing her to shore.  Brrrr..  

From 5PM to 7PM, we experienced that calm.  Maybe this was over?   We were getting settled into our new position at anchor.  Winds were blowing from the southwest , and we had the engines on – just in case the anchor didn’t hold as the winds changed from the north to the southwest.  It is nighttime again, and hard to see if we are dragging anchor.  

Our “anchor software” set off an alarm…that we were draggin. aiii.   Any notion of being tired was now replaced with a shot of adrenaline.  We stared at any position on land (lights from nearby houses) to see if the boat was moving.   It wasn’t.  We reset the anchor software…and hoped the alarm wouldn’t go off again.  It didn’t.
The past 2 nights – when we were getting Sandy from her north and northwest, the winds were howling.  However, as Sandy turned to make landfall, the sounds and intensity amped up.   Forget the howling winds…more like the sounds of a freight train traveling though the valley of eerie.   By 8PM, our hurricane hole which was doing it’s best at wind protection  but could not keep out all of Sandy.  The bands of winds were so intense at times, it felt like the boat was levitating.  The chain from the anchor was making grinding sounds and all of this happening in the dark.   And then there were the deafening sounds of the rain.  All I could think is when in the world will this be over???
My brother Chuck called us around 10:30 to say that they are OK (just outside of Baltimore), and the worst seems to be over for them.   They had lost power, but the winds had subsided.  WHAT????  I was shocked that the eye of Hurricane Sandy – which was much closer in proximity to Baltimore – would bring less weather to that area?  I thought that the hurricane EYEball could not just go off and leave the rest of the hurricane behind?  If it was calm already in Baltimore…why in the world were we stuck in Sandy hell here in Wilton Creek Virginia?  It did not seem quite fair and after 3 days twirling around this itty bitty anchor I’m in need for ‘fairness’.   But no…Hurricane Sandy’s eyeball apparently went rogue…and we will continue to feel the worst of her at least through the night.   There is no choice but to settle into the fact that there was nothing we could do.

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