Thursday, August 25, 2011
Just two weeks ago we were anxious to depart Florida and get out of the “hurricane zone”! Tropical Storm Emily had fizzled out and we were pleased to make it to Virginia before any more tropical activity began. Generally, anything north of North Carolina is considered “safe” territory by our insurance company during hurricane season. So we breathed a big sigh of relief when we arrived safe and sound in Colonial Beach, VA. Imagine our surprise when we were hit with the largest earthquake in the known history of this area! Though not big by some standards, it measured 5.9 and was enough to cause near panic in the Washington, DC area! Shear Madness was at Colonial Beach Yacht Center where there was little impact and we were at our house in Oakton, VA where there was no major damage except for a few pictures being knocked off the walls.
But the big concern now is Hurricane Irene! She has decided to skip Florida and head on up the east coast and will certainly cause an impact in NC, VA, MD, and further north. So here we are, making plans to weather a potential major hurricane! Not what we had expected, but another of the “adventures” of the cruising life. First is an assessment of the marina. We are in a good location, well up the Potomac River. We are on a sturdy “floating dock” at the marina – it is a relatively new dock with strong pilings and the dock moves up and down with the tide. This means you don’t have to adjust docking lines for major tide increases or storm surges. All good news. The pilings are also very substantial – with more than ten feet above the dock level, allowing for a huge increase in water depth without a major problem. We also looked at other options – places we could go and secure the boat at anchor and ride out the storm if necessary. While there are a couple possible spots, we ultimately decided that the marina offers good protection for all but the worst case scenario.
So our focus now is on readying the boat to withstand heavy winds and lots of rain. That means removal and stowage of anything that can blow away, tying down and securing anything that moves, and adding extra dock lines and fenders. We also looked around to see what other potential hazards exist – for example, other boats that may not be well secured or that have items that could be blown our way in high winds. There are a lot of people here making preparations to keep their boats safe. All that remains is to wait and see what Irene does. She’s scheduled to arrive in this area on Saturday night.We’ll report again once she’s gone!