Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Headed to Washington, DC

Before we could leave Tuesday morning, we had to put September Song back together, and get the anchors off the bottom Monday. We got the first anchor up with a little bit of a problem, but when it came time to get our storm anchor up, it wasn't budging. We finally unhooked it from the rear of our main anchor, tied a line to it, and did a dance, maneuvering  September Song with the engines, back to the hydraulic davit we use to lift the family car up with. When we finally got it to break free from the bottom, it had about 200 pounds of mud and a 130 pound Chinaman hanging on to it. It took us about three hours to get them up, but when we finally got the storm anchor aboard, we hugged it, (after we cleaned the mud off) told it thank you for holding us during the storm, asked it how its trip to China was, and put it to bed.
Tuesday morning the two boats left our anchorage on St. Leonard's Creek with many memories of the last five days.
It's Wednesday and we are anchored about 30 Miles South of Washington, DC, and will cruise into our Nations Capital tomorrow around 13:00. I hope the band is better than the last time.
The weather has been gorgeous the last three days. Calm, cool, dry, and blue skies. We had to put on our sweatshirts in the morning it was so cool.
Today we passed a weapons testing area. As we approached, we had a call on the radio telling us we need to alter our course. LIVE FIRE! Yes sir, where would you like us to go?! He gave us directions, and we followed the route (out of the channel!) he gave us. As we passed, we heard big gun fire. "Don't shoot, we are hurrying!"
We also passed under the Nice Bridge, no, not a nice bridge, the Nice Bridge. This is one of the bridges that had been damaged during Hurricane Irene.
The Potomac is beautiful, with tons of history, and with this gorgeous weather, it's been  great. Except for the occasional tree that floats by from the storm.

September Song (tell the band to start playing at 13:00) out

Raising the storm anchor with the hydraulic lift.

Stephanie, washing the mud and the little Chinaman off the storm anchor.

The only thing more beautiful than the day, is my admiral enjoying a gorgeous day on the fly bridge.

The Range Control Boat that told us to alter course, LIVE FIRE!
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The Nice Bridge that was damaged during Irene.

Can you see the worker on the bridge?

Two birds hitching a ride down river on one of the many logs we saw today from the storm.
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Monday, August 29, 2011

The bitch (hurricane Irene) is out of the building!

We Had been watching the progress of Hurricane Irene, with hopes of it turning to the East. We were in St. Michael's MD on Tuesday, watching the progress of Irene, catching crabs, visiting the Maritime Museum, and exploring the town of St. Michael's when we decided to have a late lunch. While Stephanie, Stephen, Pam, and I were enjoying lunch and a cold one, our world started to shake. I thought at first that someone had hit the dock. A few seconds later, things really started to shake. I have never felt an earthquake before this, and I never want to have that feeling of terror again.
We decided to cut our stay short, and leave the next day, because it looked like the hurricane was headed for the Chesapeake. We needed fuel and water, so we headed to Solomon's, took on 800 gallons of fuel (gold) and docked at Washburn's, where we had work done a couple of weeks ago, for the night. The next morning we cruised about five miles up the Patuxent River to St. Leonard's Creek to a protected area where we would ride out Hurricane Irene. After arriving, we picked out our spot, we set our storm anchors, and spent a quiet night at anchor.
Friday morning was prep time on September Song. We removed the fly bridge enclosure, took everything in that could blow away, taped up all the vents, instruments, and controls on the bridge, and taped down all the hatches.
By the time we finished all the prep work, it was mid afternoon, and Vera's White Sands, one of our favorite watering holes, was in sight of our anchorage. The four of us decided that we had been working so hard, that it was time to go to Vera's for a pre-hurricane party. Hey, all work and no play! After our trip to Vera's, it was time to return to the boats, put the family cars up, and wait for Irene's arrival Saturday morning.
Saturday Morning, the wind and rain started around 08:00, and by lunch, it was blowing 30 to 40 with heavy rain. Hurricane Irene was a huge storm, about 500 miles across, so we knew it was going to be a long time before we would see the end of this one. As the day progressed, the winds got stronger, the heavy rain kept coming down, or should I say sideways, and we knew the worst of the storm wasn't going to be here until around 23:00.
Nightfall came, the winds and rain got stronger, I could no longer go out on the front deck to check the snubber lines, and the only thing we had to watch were the radar, anchor watch GPS, plotter, and TV. Our highest gusts came around midnight at 73 MPH. September Song was being blown back and forth, and rolling 8 to 10 degrees, Cassie and Godiva stayed at our side, and we could only hope the Storm anchors would hold all 47 tons of September Song. The worst lasted until around 02:00, and by 05:00, the winds calmed to 30 to 40 MPH, so I knew we had weathered the storm, and it was time for a nap. By 10:00, we started to see spots of blue sky, and by 15:00, we were back at Vera's to celebrate.
Irene lasted for twenty four hours, and we are glad the bitch is gone!
Things like a hurricane, bad weather, rough seas, etc. are no fun, but we love our cruising life together on September Song, and wouldn't change a thing. Our storm anchors held, our hurricane plan worked well again,  the sun is out, and we are getting ready to cruise up the Potomac to Washington DC.

Many thanks to our friends and families for their prayers and good wishes during the storm.

September Song (the bitch is out of the building) out

September Song and Tides In at anchor in the harbor at St. Michael's.

I can't believe Stephanie took this picture of me with my head in a hatch.

Just beyond that corner ahead is where September Song will ride out Hurricane Irene.

September Song in her hurricane hole.
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The shore lines that will give us some protection from the winds and waves.

Looking at Vera's White Sands from our anchorage.

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Our Fortress storm anchor which is hooked to the rear of our main anchor.

Snubber lines act as shock absorbers. We use three sets. If one fails, the next takes over.

Chafe protectors, AKA fire hose, help keep the snubber lines from wearing through.
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Pre-hurricane party at Vera's

Sunset the night before the storm. I thought red sky at night sailors delight. NOT!

September Song's Hurricane command center. AKA pilot house.

On the left is the plotter. On the right is the radar overlay. The little black boat is September Songs position at anchor on St. Leonard's Creek.
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Soaked to the bone after doing my last anchor check at dusk.

Tides In anchored not far from us.

What the storm looked like mid afternoon Saturday. Only seventeen hours to go.
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Our lev-ogage (clinometer) showing how we were rolling.
Video of the winds and heavy rain just before dark. Turn on your volume. 

The sounds of Hurricane Irene. Make sure your volume is on.

The calm after the storm. This is what it looked like in our anchorage at sunset. Hard to believe we were in a hurricane just twelve hours ago.
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