Friday, October 1, 2010


Manteo, NC -- If Hurricane Earl brought September in like a lion, then tropical storm Nicole took it out like a screaming banshee.

We'd been keeping a wary eye on the storm and the low pressure over the eastern seaboard, yet, it still caught us a bit unawares.

About 8 a.m. yesterday the wind went from zero to 20+ gusts from the south -- right on our stern. Within 30 minutes, the bow had blown too far forward and the anchors that rest on the bowsprit were pounding on the dock. It took both of us to inch the lines in enough get clear of the dock. One of us would pull the line up to make some slack while the other would pull it in on the cleat. Pull, pull, pull, "Ready? GO!" It was inelegant, but it worked -- for the moment and at relatively low winds.

The prevailing wind for the storm would be from the south, the only vulnerable direction in this marina -- and the total opposite of the heavy winds during Earl. The morning preview at 20 knots was a good warning for us that we didn't want the same thing at 40 knots.

The wind kindly backed off, giving us a calm window to get the heck out of dodge, or at least to the outskirts. We bolted to a slip on the other end of the marina that the dockmaster calls the "Sea of Tranquility."

Every 30 minutes or so for the next 24 hours, sometimes more often, I said, "Thank god we moved!"

As evening approached, the wind was gusting in the 30s, and waves were breaking over the dock. Yes, over the dock.

And then it kept blowing, not in gusts, but like a big-ass fan. We thought Earl went on for a long time, but this one, thanks to the series of lows along the East Coast, lasted at least twice as long.

Fortunately the "Sea of Tranquility" turned out to be an accurate title. Cara Mia remained calm and unscathed, yet again, even as other boats were flailing around, some sustaining a good bit of damage.

We are thankful that we safely weathered a big storm in familiar water, yet again.

1 comment:

Laura Wharton said...

Glad to hear you're all safe again! When are you casting off -- after the "h" season passes?