Dorian and the aftermath
13 September 2019 | Shining Waters Marine, Tantallon, Nova Scotia
We rode out Hurricane Dorian at anchor in Schooner Cove together with four other foreign boats that came in for the same purpose. All the boats rode safely to their best bower anchors, I suspect on long chain scopes of 10:1 or more. We certainly did. It seems that the latest consensus among the cruising community that things should be kept simple is building. The thinking is that the best bower should be storm-sized as a matter of course, chain should be of high quality without being over-size (the weight is better in the anchor) and modern anchors such as the Spade, Manson, Vulcan and Rocna are the best way to go. The days of plough anchors are passing. Among those skippers with whom I have talked the favourite for a second bower is a good Danforth type such as the American Fortress, and a number are not over-enthused about those modern anchors with roll bars. This is down to increasing numbers of reports of the roll bar types rolling out with significant wind shifts and/or tidal stream reversals.
The eye of Dorian passed just east of us as it moved up the coast and a little inland. We therefore experienced winds beginning in the east in the late morning of Saturday, backing through north to west as the day progressed. Schooner Cove was ideal for this scenario and we recorded wind speeds no more than in the upper forties. Even so the water surface was certainly whipped up at times and spray flew to join the torrents of horizontal rain. And I think Kiviuq tested her nylon snubber almost to destruction. A new one is on the shopping list and the bow shackle between anchor and chain won't be asked to serve again in such conditions. For what it's worth, our strong preference is for a properly sized and rated bow shackle seized with monel wire rather than a fancy swivel (KISS).
By 2200hrs local the worst was clearly over, the tension eased and I felt able to turn in. Marilou lasted another couple of hours. We both slept well.
It was notable that most, if not all, of the local boats trusted to their moorings. We know of one that broke one and then lifted a second before moving to anchor in Schooner Cove while the storm was still building. They had a torrid time in the lashing rain and high winds, and the crew scooted ashore as soon as they could, leaving the boat to its fate. It survived, but it was the crew here at Shining Waters that brought it into the marina on Monday. They had a tough time recovering the anchor as the windlass had thrown in the towel.
Much of Nova Scotia did not fare as well as we did. Halifax, just 20 miles from us here, suffered especially badly. Half the province lost power that took days to reinstate and schools province-wide were closed for two days for repairs. The storm surge also caused quite a lot of problems. The latter would have been worse but for the fact we were close to neaps. And we know of two boats from here that were cruising on the Eastern Shore the other side of Halifax that dragged anchors and went aground, one onto the rocks suffering a holing. I believe they are still trying to recover it.
Dorian is history now, and as always we regard such experiences as character-building and useful. That might be needed sooner rather than later as we see there is another bit of tropical storm naughtiness building in the Bahamas area. We will be watching it carefully and giving thanks for the excellent forecasting of the US National Hurricane Center.
For now though we are comfortable on a dock at Shining Waters and getting into laying-up for the winter. Local folk are the friendliest we have met anywhere, and daily a number stop as they pass along the dock to ask about us and our boat, especially the boat. We have hired a car to get about and Marilou has found a couple of good gyms not far away. Indeed she is attending classes just now while I justify my non-attendance with making our bread.
And I see the loaf is just about ready for the oven, so I will close for now. As Confucius said "Life is too short laddie for anything but the very best home-baked bread".