Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Holy Cow!

I wanted to wait a bit before returning to our happy posts, partially just feeling sad for places I love and the people in them, partially feeling some survivors guilt (that could so easily have been us) and partially feeling bad about posting happy experiences when others are struggling so much. I was ready to share some more of our wonderful experiences when Hurricane Maria appeared.

Once again the hurricane is well north of us and we are safe, although as you can see from the satellite photo we are definitely feeling the effects. Yesterday the wind was light but starting to change directions, so while on anchor we began pointing in all directions of the compass. This is very unusual in the Caribbean as the norm is having the trade winds blow from east to west. This makes it easy to know which way to anchor and which way we will pull on our chain. Problems arise when the wind shifts, and with a hurricane in the area the wind swirls around and can, and does, blow from any direction.

Boats have been arriving from the north. Several of them have announced on the radio that they are here to join the safe crowd. We are happy to be in the safe crowd. Our anchorage is a bit rolly right now as squalls are passing through. Several boats are having issues with their anchors and at least one dinghy decided to take a walk (it was soon rescued).  It is not so comfortable here, but I think of our friends and neighbors to the north and I feel very glad that we are not experiencing anything on the scale that they are.
Irma's path

Hurricane Maria's track in the Leeward Islands is slightly south of Irma's path, meaning that the islands that escaped the wrath of Irma now have to face Maria. We can hope that Maria will not be as destructive, and that the damage is minimal. Again, we have friends on their boats in the path of Maria, and friends who have their boats stored in boat yards there. 

And then there is the BVI. Maria is not tracking DIRECTLY over the BVI (at least last I saw), but certainly close enough to add to their woes. Two days ago they had 6" of rain, and that caused widespread flooding. Maria is predicted to bring more, and to last for three days over the BVI. They have no trees, no ground cover, nothing to absorb the water. In addition, any winds will send the existing debris flying potentially causing more problems.  Not a pretty picture. The BVI is in no shape to endure another hurricane. 

And so we wait. 

We wait to see the path that Maria takes.

We wait to see the intensity that Maria develops.

We wait to hear from friends in St. Lucia on their boat, friends who have their boat in Antigua, friends who made it through in St. Martin, friends who still do not know the fate of their boat in the BVI, and friends returning to the safety of the mangroves on the south coast of Puerto Rico. 

Compared to all of that, we can take a little rolling.


Things are changing quickly. It is only a few hours since I first wrote this Maria has become a Cat 5 hurricane.  Send positive thoughts to all in her path.

We love to hear your comments.

Mark and Cindy - sv Cream Puff said...

We have a close friend who lost his boat in St Martin. It is so sad to watch this happen. During our trip down the Caribbean, we met some folks who planned to summer in PR. They were convinced it was safe. Over a few drinks, we expressed our concerns and bewilderment that they didn't plan to sail out of the h'belt. It is only a 4 day sail from PR to Grenada or 6 days to Trinidad from PR. One couple told us they wanted to go to the BVI next and did not want to have to sail "all the way back". It's only 4 days we told them. They took a direct hit from the eye of Maria this morning. We are expecting to hear they have lost their boat.

Sarah said...

We keep thinking how easily it could have been us. Rhapsody lived on the hard for four summers in the BVI, one before we owned her and three since. At the time we really did not have the time or experience to move her elsewhere.

We are also waiting to hear from friends in PR, boats on the hard and boats in the mangroves, Feeling sad all over again.