I thank—I think—Larry for the above photo of damage caused in Acapulco by Otis. It could happen here, though as Larry correctly observes our condo and the marina are on the land not the ocean side of the island and thus somewhat protected. Yet I am told Skull Creek Marina has been damaged twice in the past forty years by hurricanes, most recently by Matthew which took out the north end of the marina the year before we bought this condo. That damage has not been repaired.
I have never seen what I would call a real wave on Skull Creek. However there is an almost two mile fetch up the creek from the south and several miles all the way across Port Royal Sound to the north. The entrance from Skull Creek into Port Royal Sound is bordered by sand spits that are barely above water in normal high tides and would disappear completely in any significant storm surge.
Because of her age insurance companies will only insure GANNET for a fraction of her replacement cost.
Before I was born hurricanes came ashore mostly without warning. There was no radar and few airplanes. Reports came only from ships at sea. I am sure that some experienced seamen and others whose lives were lived with the elements would have been able to read the sky and the sea and the barometer, just as I do at sea now, and have known that something was coming, but not when or where. Otis has taken us back to those days.
Now we have radar and satellites and ships and airplanes and can track storms, but that becomes of little use when a tropical storm intensifies into a Category 5 in the last twelve hours before landfall. Few would evacuate for a tropical storm. Few would not evacuate for a Category 5. And twelve hours is not enough time for masses of people to evacuate. There is one bridge off Hilton Head Island. There is one road out of the Florida Keys.
So abruptly we are faced with making decisions beyond science. The safest action would be to evacuate every time a tropical storm was within twenty-four hours of your location, but this would result in such disruption, expense and wasted time that soon no one would do it.
I have no conclusion.
That a hurricane is going to come ashore at Hilton Head Island is certain. Probably in my lifetime. Almost certainly in Carol’s.
I hope it is not a Category 5. And I don’t like making decisions on hope.
Weather in the marsh continues perfect and so yesterday afternoon I walked down to spend the night on GANNET, something I have not done for too long a time.
I intended to touch up the paint on the transom where I had sanded to expose the Hull Identification Number, but to my surprise found that I don’t have any hull paint.
I also found as is to be expected that batteries had died on flashlights and a thermometer in the cabin, and that the solar powered wind instrument was dead. Fortunately two of the three solar cabin lights were still working.
The can of OFF had no pressure and the can of flying insect spray only a little. This was important because while I was scrubbing bird droppings from the deck, no-seeums ate me alive. I carried two martinis in an insulated bottle and a Zip-Lock bag of ice from the condo with me and expected to have my evening drinks while listening to music on deck. Without OFF it would have been torture, so I sipped and listened at Central in the Great Cabin with screens in place.
I listened to Shostakovich’s Seventh Symphony because I am currently reading an excellent book, LENINGRAD: SIEGE AND SYMPHONY by Brian Moynahan about the almost three year long siege of the city by the Germans during World War 2 and the symphony Shostakovich wrote which is called ‘The Leningrad Symphony’. This was the first time I had heard it. It is eighty minutes long and my mind wandered as perhaps music is intended to cause it to. I will listen many more times. It is a very great creation.
The book confirms my long held opinion that Stalin was more evil than Hitler, if that is possible.
I ate freeze dry Three Cheese Pasta for dinner. Quite good. And slept with the hatches open. Screens of course in place. I was comfortable in a light sleeping bag. The night was completely still.
I woke at first light, got dressed, and was walking back to the condo as the sun rose at 7:38.
I will go sailing soon. Perhaps when Carol is here in a couple of weeks or in early December or January when she isn’t, but it was good to spend more than a few minutes on the little boat again.