In The Eye Of The Storm?
Hurricane Nicole 2022
Avemar arrived in Stuart, Florida on Friday.
At the time, the tropics looked fairly stable and ‘the end’ of the 2022 hurricane season was within sight.
By Sunday, just two days later, a subtropical low far out in the Atlantic Ocean had developed enough to be named ‘Nicole’ and most of the weather forecast models showed it tracking all the way to Central Florida.
In addition, all of the weather models between Sunday and today had the center of the low passing directly over Stuart!
On Sunday evening, several friends with boats out in Manatee Pocket decided to weigh anchor and motor down the ICW to anchor the mangroves near Key Largo.
A few of the boats in the marina left the docks on Monday. A few decided to stay in their slips.
Since Avemar is still without a transmission that connects to her prop shaft, she stayed in her slip at the marina too.
On Monday my hurricane preparations kicked into high gear.
The headsail was folded and stored. (If you read the logbook entry from last week, the headsail was already down as a prerequisite to TowBoat US taking me into the marina since it was half-wrapped around the forestay with the top flapping in the breeze.)
The mainsail and its cover came down.
The solar panel was removed. The canvas bimini top was unzipped and folded.
Anything that could be removed was stowed below. Lines that had to stay were coiled and then tied to the mast, boom and deck rail stanchions.
Avemar was prepped with fenders out on both sides, double dock lines on the bow, double spring lines in both directions, single stern lines and a long line tied to a post across the fairway and tied to the stern.
Power was shut off to everything except for the DC freezer and refrigerator, the bilge pumps, the VHF radio and the exhaust fan in the composting toilet.
As I was leaving on Tuesday evening, the SuperWind generator was already consistently producing 8+ amps.
April picked me up Tuesday evening and I stayed at her house in West Palm Beach for the night. This morning when the forecast track for Nicole showed the possibility of the storm moving a little further south, I decided to drive to Avemar at low tide, around 4pm this afternoon, and try to get my generator and gas cans in case the electricity goes out tonight when the storm approaches the coast.
I arrived about 90 minutes before low tide and the parking lot at the Fish House Art Center Marina was flooded from the heavy rain bands and the earlier high tide that couldn’t drain quickly enough from the front of the building.
I parked on higher ground next door. I made my way to the boat and in general, everything looked good. The community of people at this marina are amazing and they helped everyone get their boats prepped properly.
The only concern that I heard over the past few days was about the possibility of boats anchored out in the harbor that might break free tonight and head towards the marina.
Avemar’s anchor pulpit sits about five feet above the water. With no finger piers and a bow-in orientation in the slip, I had to find a ladder to use to climb on board.
A neighbor riding the storm out on his boat came over and helped me lower the generator, electrical cord and gas cans off of the boat and into a dock cart.
In the hour that I was at the dock, even with low tide almost two hours away, the water had risen about a foot and was flowing over the dock. A few boards on the deck had already come loose in the waves and floated away.
After getting aboard and checking everything below, I can report that the bilges were dry and the SuperWind generator was pumping in 13 amps!
I won’t be there to see it tonight, but the specs on the machine say that with winds of 29 mph or more, the SuperWind should produce close to 30 amps!
Driving back to West Palm Beach, I saw this sign above I-95 and I chuckled to myself because after renting hundreds of cars and trucks over the years, I was driving a convertible for the first time but the top was up because it was pouring rain.
The forecast of all of the major weather models (except for the GFS) tonight shows Nicole’s projected path has moved further north than was expected this morning. That would be great news for Avemar and her friends at the marina.
We should know which model was correct for projecting where the eye will cross the coast in about 5 hours.
Nicole was upgraded to a Category 1 hurricane about 15 minutes ago.
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Good luck 🍀👍