Monday, September 10, 2012


Stripped for Irene
Long Island Sound can be really interesting in September. Last year I was fortunate enough to be in Northport, NY, for hurricane Irene. I say fortunate because it is one of the few really sheltered harbors in the area. I checked Sweet Pea into Britannia Marina, which is surrounded by high ground, and consulted my charts to find a 100 foot hill should the storm surge be ferocious.

A couple of days before I had met Rick and Sylvia who were strolling the town dock. They offered a spare bedroom and fed me a delightful dinner and breakfast, all well above any conceivable high-tide line.

Dinner and breakfast with new friends
I escaped unscathed and very well fed, with new friends. Sweet Pea did OK too.

Yesterday, as if to to mark Irene's first anniversary, NOAA weather was stridently warning that I should, "seek immediate shelter on the lowest level of my building". Port Washington was in the path of a tornado. What is with this weather? I think of tornado alley as being well inland of the Bronx, Queens, and Manhattan. Even so, Doppler radar showed angry red rotation, the same movie we often watch in Atlanta. The one where you think, run, run as the slasher approaches.

There goes the tornado
Sweet Pea's lowest level is the bilge, but rather than trying to squeeze in under the water tanks, I decided to make do with the main saloon. Taking off in the dinghy seemed madness, given the advice that one should never attempt to outrun a tornado, even with seven-foot oars.

Plus, now that the myth of sheltering under a highway bridge has been debunked, I wasn't sure where I might go anyway. The prospect of lashing myself to the dinghy dock as cows whirled by made staying aboard seem attractive.

As it turned out the worst of the blow passed by to the north and we didn't drag our extra-heavy-duty mooring. But there for a while, it was a spectacular show.

Last year's flood in Havre de Grace
I'm wondering whether I'm a Jonah and all this is my doing. As soon as things settle down, I'm out of here for the Chesapeake. I'll take last September's flood at Havre de Grace, MD, over a tornado, anytime.

I do hope I'm not greeted by a mob, swimming by torch light in pouring rain and determined to throw me overboard. No whales in the Chesapeake so it would be sink or swim.

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