Hurricane Matthew

We are in the crosshairs again. Last year we waited out hurricane Joaquin at Tidewater Marina; this year it’s Matthew. Last year we were lucky as Joaquin moved eastward into the Atlantic; this year the outcome may be much different. Although much uncertainty remains regarding Matthew’s track it is increasingly likely Norfolk will get winds to 100 mph with gusts to 120 and much rain.

We are starting our preparations. Double and triple dock lines, stowing all outside gear, closing all throughhulls and fuel tank valves, taping shut door and window seams, tank vents, and anything else that 100 mph winds could drive water through, antichafe gear on all wear points, etc. The boat will be powered down except for bilge pumps; the fridge and freezer emptied. Our Hurricane Preparedness Plan is three pages long and will take us a long and dry day to complete.

We also made reservations at a nearby hotel and will evacuate Tivoli before the docks flood making an exit from the marina difficult. We will offload important documents, small electronics, and any portable gear we can carry, and take sufficient clothing for several days away.

This is a part of the cruising lifestyle that is NOT FUN. We may have to travel to a part of the world that is hurricane-free.

The good news is Tidewater is a relatively safe place in storms. We are on floating docks with sturdy hardware and the pilings are tall enough to withstand a significant rise in water. We are inland far enough that storm surge is apparently minimal. At least a dozen boats, including a huge 150-foot megayacht, have already taken refuge here and more vessels are expected.

Wish us luck!

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