Argh! And ARGH!!!! This is not good, so not good: first hurricane is going to hit my boat tonight. Outwardly calm, inside I feel full fight/flight.... and I can not even call my neighbor Peter until first light.
OK, here's the story: a few days back, the forecast showed a hurricane well to the north and a couple systems of interest drifting toward the islands. The next day, the winds forecast showed a sharp peak and a sharp change in direction, as if there were a pretty good certainty about the storm track....but a half day later the peak had softened and become more chaotic: As of 2pm Sunday the max wind forecast was 20mph. What a relief!
Apparently, I relaxed too soon.
Last night I went off with a friend to jump my parent's car, then continued on for an evening of adventure: hiked in the dunes, picked wild cranberries, and enjoyed a Provincetown walk and dinner.... and got home close to ten pm. Fighting against sleep, I carelessly turned on the weather page.... to see Tropical Storm Gonzalo coming in tonight....and winds of 50mph. And when I woke, 4:30 AM today, the winds are now predicted to be about 60mph when the storm reaches max.
So, I am going to ask Peter to drop another anchor if he can, ask him to pull the kayak off the deck and stick it in the mangroves, and I am going to cross fingers. By 2pm tomorrow the worst will have passed and we shall see if I still have a home in the islands.
As Donkey said "I need a hug!"
Notes: the web sites I use are
UPDATE: noon Monday: the forecast now calls for sustained winds of 75mph tomorrow morning. OMG. (note: too serious for an exclamation point.)
UPDATE: 5am Tuesday
Peter called me after sunset last night, telling me he had engine trouble and so would be spending the night on his mooring... with a couple extra anchors in for insurance. He also put in one of his anchors for me and I thanked him and wished him a safe night. He was not looking forward to it, especially with the hurricane due to hit in the middle of the night.
This hurricane acts oddly. Last night it went from a tight ball of nasty to a broken dissipated thing....and this morning shows a serious kink in the track. The wind forecast graph also shows actual wind for the last few hours.....and keeps showing nearly nothing. And all weather stations that I can find in the USVIs show winds under 20. I even looked up how to decode the METAR reports and checked those and they say the same thing: normal winds. Most peculiar. Could it be that the system broke up for the night, sparing St John, and will re-form and strengthen as it goes on? Wouldn't THAT be amusing! I do not trust the reports, however, and look forward to getting a report from Peter in the morning.
UPDATE: 1pm Tuesday
That was the most bizarre thing EVER: the storm essentially broke up, changed direction, and reformed.....skipping St John entirely. Apparently all the information I had about actual, unbelievably normal winds was accurate. Peter told me that there was a couple inches of rain in the dinghy and average winds. Everyone had been scurrying around yesterday, preparing. Hurricane Hole was full of boats....and the thing just skipped the island like a tornado skipping one house and hitting the ones on each side.
Thanks for all your good wishes.