It seems we might soon be entertaining an uninvited and unwelcome Guest… Named Florence. She seems to be very pushy, trying to crash our party. So, we are close to facing our first hurricane.
We are in a pretty safe spot. We are several miles inland, on the Intracoastal Waterway in Chesapeake Virginia. We are tied to a dock facing the canal, a few hundred yards south of a drawbridge and maybe almost a mile to a lock system. There are tall trees on both sides of the canal, which may be a natural windbreak, or may fall and be potential boat busters. We are taking all the precautions we and any others here can think of, except moving. There is no safer place within traveling distance; in fact, many boats are coming here for safety. We are making fender boards to more strongly protect our boat from hitting the dock. We will remove all the canvas from our bimini (the “convertible top over the flybridge), the dingy, and the sailboat. We will remove all the covers and cushions from all the seating on the bow and on the flybridge. We will double and triple our dock lines. We will disconnect our power cord from the dock if it looks like flooding will take out the dock power. We have a gassed up rental car, which will be placed on higher ground within walking (wading?) distance in case we need to leave the boat.
We hope to stay on the boat however. We have over 400 gallons of fresh water, which is far more that the people we saw with shopping carts full of water bottles today in the supermarket. We have enough diesel fuel to run the generator for weeks. We have plenty of propane and empty holding tanks. Locals here say they think we might get a ton of rain, a lot of flooding, and high winds. One said he was here for Matthew and the water rose about 4 feet, but he did fine.
Most of today, and I’m guessing most of tomorrow and Wednesday will be spent firming up preparations for our unwelcome guest. I would not be disappointed if she no-showed!
One other interesting occurrence… two nights ago the drawbridge just north of us was hit by lightning! We heard that it knocked out the automation, so they can only open it manually, and will only do that at 6am and 6pm until it’s fixed. When they opened at 6pm tonight, there was a literal parade of boats coming south, most of which are going to weather the storm here.
So we are planning on staying here unless Florence turns out to be a category 3 or 4 or more once she hits land. Then maybe a short road trip. I’ll try to keep you all posted. We would appreciate your prayers in the meantime, not only for us, but all who are meeting this unwelcome guest!
(All three pictures were taken today. Above was a couple of hours ago. Perfect weather!)