Hurricane season in this part of the world is defined by most organizations (read: insurance companies) as running from 1 June to 1 November. The first boat we looked at in August was sunk by Hurricane Irma, and the boat we bought was not in Irma’s path, although close.
With 3 days to go in the hurricane season, we started to relax, perhaps a bit more than we should have. After all, there’s nothing that says a major storm can’t happen in the off-season.
This is what the historic model looks like for the South-east US and Caribbean.
I was so busy avoiding all my work on the boat that I stopped checking the weather daily, half-expecting one of the 5 other boaters around me to keep me up to speed when required.
A few days ago we had all been talking about what was then known as Invest 93, a disorganized system off Honduras. A few of the apps we use were calling for gusts up to 50kts, but gradually they all started to show much weaker winds in the 20-30kts range. Great, don’t have to worry about that since it’s dissipating, so back to avoiding work.
For whatever reason, my Spidey-senses made me look at the weather yesterday afternoon. That’s when I was introduced to Tropical Storm Philippe. Where the hell did that come from?! It had just left Cuba and was heading this way. Awesome.
All of those apps that had shown 20-30kts were now showing gusts of 50kts (again). Not that I don’t trust a free app, I then checked the aviation METAF and TAFs (on a free app of course). All notable airports in the area weren’t showing anything more than gusts into the mid-30s. I also checked spaghettimodels.com and tropicaltidbits.com, two of the best sites out there but didn’t get much more information. Hmmm…
I adjusted all the dock lines, and added one more just ’cause I had it, since there were two massive 300hp outboards about 10 feet off my bow with all their pointy bits just waiting to do some damage. Winds were supposed to come from the south, which was good since I would be sheltered from the big 2-storey house I was docked at.
I watched a couple episodes of Stranger Things, and by the time I tried to go to sleep at midnight, the most I saw from the windex was 32kts from the SE. I woke from something about 0200 and went out to check the lines. I almost fell in the water since I was still half asleep. Still all good.
Not much actually happened during the night. It did, however, take me until 0500 to discover the source of the bumping right next to my head on the outside of the hull. A simple adjustment to the big round bumper and I was good for another 3 hours of sleep. Imagine if I had been motivated to try to find what woke me at 0230, 0315, 0352, 0408, etc etc.
And thankfully, that was the extent of our experience with Tropical Storm Philippe. A little more movement on the boat and a PITA bumper that I was too lazy to go find until 5 this morning.
Mother can now rest easy…