Hurricane Hermine

September 3, 2016

Chronologically this post is out of sequence but we wanted to post it as quickly as possible to let everyone know we were safe and what happens when you go through a storm on the water.

We arrived at Thunderbolt Marina on Monday August 29th around noon after a 3 hour trip down the ICW. The trip included 3-4 tight spots that require you to travel at high tides.  When we got here the current was ripping through the marina.  Since we were riding the current we did a 180 degree turn into the current to slow our speed and crept up to the dock.   Docking actually went quite well for us.  We always go out to lunch the day we travel and had a delicious lunch at Tubby’s 5 blocks away.

We had been watching the storm for a few day and thought it would hit Jacksonville and go out to sea.  Tuesday was a rest and planning day.  We were tied up to the outside of the face dock which meant we rock anytime someone went by us on the ICW.

Wednesday morning a large boat headed up north leaving space on the inside of the face dock for us to move to.  The difference between inside and outside of the face dock is like riding in a car vs. sitting at home.  Much smoother inside the face dock.

The question we always ask is “are we doing enough?”  You spend most of the day working and thinking of everything else you might need to do.

We added as many dock lines as we could and made sure they were tied correctly.  I used all but one of our fenders to protect the boat from the dock.  The biggest thing we worried about was our Bimini, should we leave it up or take it down?  Eventually we decided to take it down which was smart as 3 boats in this marina tore their biminis.    We bought ice and made sure everything was charged up.   Wednesday night we went over the boat tightening the stantions and pulpit nuts and bolts that might leak into the cabin. We also filled the water tank.

Thursday evening was very comfortable with mild winds and temperature.   The storm was supposed to arrive around Friday 2pm with gusts up to 60 mph.   We went thought a storm in July with sustained winds of 30 mph and gusts to 45 mph.  That was as much as we want to see on the boat.   We decided we would go ashore and spend the day in the laundry room at the marina.   The laundry room faces the marina and has windows on 3 sides so it was the place to be.

I woke up at 4:30am as the boat was rocking and we were getting some wind and rain.  At 6:30am we were almost finished packing for our trip to the buildings when the Marina lost power.  The wind and rain stopped for a few minutes and we took that as a sign to get off of the boat.

Our day in the laundry room was interesting because several people stopped by to talk and check out the storm.  Greg and Georgette from 2G’s brought up a pot of coffee.  Since we didn’t have coffee cups we ran back to the boat in the storm to get our coffee cups.  This says something about priorities!

We could tell how bad the wind was by watching the waves in the marina.   At the storm’s worst we had 2′ waves inside of the marina.  The rain bands would come through so heavy you could not see the other side of the ICW 200 yards away. We could see all of the boats rocking in the storm.  You always worry about the the guy who does not prepare his boat correctly.  Your worst fear is his boat comes loose and hits your boat.

Around 12 noon the eye was passing to the west of us.  We still got very heavy winds  for the next 1-2 hours.  Tybee Island, 20 miles away was getting 60 mph gusts at this time.  From 2-4pm the wind slowed a little and the sun started to come out a little.

We went back on to the boat at 4pm and had virtually no damage.  The only new leak was from a hatch over the galley.  Jan has made a set of lee cloths that hang from the pulpits and life lines.  They are designed to keep the dog on the boat when we are at the dock.   We had 3 of these cloths still on the back pulpit and decided not to take them down.  Two of the them ripped and in the process our decorative solar powered lights (Christmas lights) we keep on the stern were tore up.  That, so, far is the worst of our damage.

MV MySky is a 51 meter yacht that is staying in the boatyard getting some work done.  They have a professional crew on board and we could see them throughout the storm adjusting dock lines and making sure the boat was ok.   Last night they had every light on the boat turned on, a very pretty site, if you like looking at boats.  Looked like they were hosting a after hurricane party for all the crew members staying on all huge mega yachts that are here.

Power came back on at 3:45am Saturday morning.  Today’s job is to put the boat back together and dry everything out.  Sunday we’ll change the oil in the engine and do other maintainence.    Monday or Tuesday we’ll head south again.

Every morning at Thunderbolt Marina they drop off Krispy Kreme donuts to your boat.   The storm has disrupted the last 2 days deliveries.  Very happy to say we just got our donuts😀.

More to come,

Jan & Matt

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