“What about storms?”
I wrote a whole post with that title back in April during the “A to Z Blogging Challege”. Unfortunately one of the limitations of off-line blog composition is that I can’t link you back to that blog, but it’s not hard to find if you’re curious.
In short, though, storms are one of the most common concerns of non-boating/cruising people when they hear of your plans to “shuck it all and go cruising.”
Which on the surface makes sense. I mean, boats are out there on the water all the time – that’s what boats do – so they would seem to be uniquely vulnerable to adverse weather conditions. But are they?
Think about it for a minute. If you have a house, you expect it to stay in one place, don’t you? So if there’s a storm coming, you plan – as best you can – to ride out the storm right where you are. You can’t move your house out of the path of a hurricane.
But a boat you can.
Boats are different. In most cases, you have a pretty good idea that something is coming. And the bigger the “something”, the more warning you probably have.
So then the planning takes over. Where do we want to be when this bit of weather arrives? How do we want to prepare the boat? Do we even want to be aboard? Maybe it would be better (read: safer) if we found the best place available for the boat, got it ready, and then took ourselves off somewhere even safer for us?
These are all possible. And that’s what our last three days has been about.
When we heard about hurricane “Hermine”, we were still in southern Maine. At that time she was a weak tropical depression between Florida and Cuba, but there was a good possibility the system would track north-east, and that meant it could, in theory, effect us in a week or so. And so we watched.
Once it became clear that Hermine was strengthening and becoming more organized, we followed more closely, and decided that we needed to find a place to hide out if she followed a path in our direction. I say “IF”, because forecasting is still an inexact science.
Still, it’s the best we have to go on, so even as the various forecasting models were disagreeing about the future of this storm, Nicki and I were agreeing that we would head for shelter – and the best and closest shelter from a hurricane within 200 miles of us is without question the Harbor in New Bedford, MA. This is because the fishing fleet of New Bedford is so important to the area that back in the early 1960’s the city built a hurricane barrier across the end of the harbor. Not just a breakwater, but a wall with gates that shut – like the gates of Mordor – to lock out the sea.
And it gets used. According to friends that were here before we arrived, there’s been a steady stream of boats – mostly finishing boats – coming through the gates all day, and we were just one of many pleasure craft adding to the mix.
So we’ve found our hurricane hole. It’s neat, tidy, and well protected, for what will most likely be a non-event as hurricanes go.
But that’s ok.
At least we didn’t have to move a house.