Friday, November 13, 2009

Remnants of Hurricane Ida drench the Mid-Atlantic

Hurricane Ida lost steam when it came ashore Alabama Tuesday this week. Still, it soaked the Deep South pretty good. There have been some reports of rock slides, and flooding along rivers and creeks. Boaters doing the Great Loop passage are starting to reach Mobile, Alabama and the Florida Panhandle area. While these boaters wait for a good weather window to cross the Gulf of Mexico either from Pensacola or Carrabelle to Tarpon Springs, the rest of the loopers are stuck further north. Until marina slips are freed up, they have no place to go. Guess it's better to be stuck in a safe area than to be out in the open seas with 10 to 15 foot waves!

Meanwhile on the mid-Atlantic side, snowbirds on the IntraCoastalWaterway(ICW) are being hammered with the remnants of Hurricane Ida - rain, waves, and wind, which continue to gust in excess of 35 mph.

I feel for them. Around this time in 2004, we were one of those boaters on the ICW. Having spent that summer cruising the Chesapeake Bay, we were headed south in mid-September. You may recall that Florida was battered with four major hurricanes - Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne - that year. When Hurricane Ivan hit in October, we were in Annapolis, Maryland, hiding in a lovely anchorage called Weems Creek on the Severn River. By early November, we were exploring Ocracoke on the Outer Banks of N. Carolina.

Ocracoke Light
Below is our trip's log below.

Oct 19-23, 2004
We split with "
Colorado Cat" and headed east to Ocracoke on the Outer Banks. Entering unfamiliar territory can sometimes be a challenge, and this was no exception. You leave the red markers to port as you enter Big Foot Slough channel. To add to the confusion, there were a bunch of range markers sticking out there. We made it in ok and were the only boat at the Silver Lake anchorage. During our stay here, we would hear boaters over the radio asking questions on the approach, and to our surprise, boats and ferries come in and out, no matter what the weather.

Home to the 1823 Ocracoke Lighthouse, Ocracoke is a charming town that exudes Cape Cod ambience. It is dotted with restaurants, and hotels, inns and many private homes are all for rent. No doubt this is a busy place in the height of summer. And apparently, fishing IS the thing to do here. We saw 4-wheel drive vehicles on the beach carrying fishing rods up the ying yang.

High winds had us hunkered down inside the boat for two days. North winds blowing at 25-30 knots, and seas building to 9-12 feet made for boisterous conditions outside. We were stuck. It is no coincidence that the Outer Banks has been called the "graveyard of the Atlantic." Over the centuries, thousands of sailors and boats have met their fate here, as did the notorious pirate Blackbeard. When we had a good weather window, we got out of there as fast as we could!

Nov 11-15, 2004
As we entered Georgia, a nor'easter whipped up north wind of 25 knots with gust to 35. We sought protection at Cumberland Island. The wind was relentless for two days, causing "Mai Thai"to rock and roll much of the time. That was the toughest we've endured in our cruising life. By the time the ordeal was over, a couple of zippers in the bimini had been ripped. All things considered, we rather be here (temperature in the mid 60s) than be in Boston (temp 30s)…

The passage was rough at times for sure, but wow, what an experience! Boating is such an adventure. Every trip is an experience of a lifetime.

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Cruising the Chesapeake Bay Port of Call: Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts Rain, Rain, Go Away

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