16 September 2014 | Santa Rosalia
Today is Monday September 15, 2014. Ed left for Portland yesterday while we were under a tropical storm watch which almost immediately was upgraded to a warning. I went to bed last night believing that I could sleep and get up and take care of loose ends in the morning. I awoke at 7:00 am to horrendous booming thunder with rain and some wind. I hurried and took out the air conditioner and shade tarps came down and then checked the weather. During the night we had been upgraded to a hurricane warning and the Mexican government was issuing warnings to Santa Rosalia which by the way is exactly where I am. Now I got busy and retied the boat, tucked and tied everything I could find that was loose. I got a neighbor, Scott, to help me take down the furling head sail, packed essentials such as money, passport and papers into my backpack. Next I gathered food and water into a duffel bag so I could grab it on my way off the boat. I talked to Ed early just to let him know the changes but there is not much he can do. It is now 10:00 in the morning and it is mostly quiet. The water is a little bouncy and the winds are just starting to blow. The storm is due to hit us at 11:00 pm. I don't know how much earlier the winds will pick up though because they radiate out from the storm. It is going to be scary to be on the boat alone. I am about to take down the last tarp and hunker down. My batteries are all topped off so when I have to disconnect from shore power I will be fine. The waiting is hard. I know I need to take a nap to be at my best during the night. I don't know when I will take down the rest of the bimini. I am hoping for one more update soon but the reliable router has been turned off and the last check shows us right in the path. The office will be open all night so that we can hang out there when the docks become unsafe. Time to rest now.
The weather has picked up. We are bouncing around more and the rain is heavy. I dug out my raincoat like others on the dock. It is stuffy and humid inside the boat but it is so wet outside that there is no way to keep the inside dry without everything shut tight. I got a facebook message to Amanda and Ed before that went down. Reassured them both that all was well. I gave Ed details about preparations and asked that he put money into my checking account in case we do get hit hard and I need shelter or bus or plane out. I doubt that will be necessary but I will feel better knowing that is an option.
Right now it is just a bit of a storm and I have been in many like this but knowing it is just the beginning on our countdown to 11:00 tonight makes it a bit more intense. I still don't seem to have the sense to be scared. It may be a wild night but I expect to come out okay in the morning. The boat will do what the boat will do. I just have to get off before it is too rough because the space between the dock and boat are just manageable now. I am still hooked up to power but that will change pretty soon. It would be so much more exciting if Ed was here with me and I didn't have to rely solely on my own judgment.
Tensions are up. Bob on Pantera is here at the fuel dock and Worth Waiting for has just arrived. There is a bit of radio calls everyone wanting the latest updates and offering assistance. Scott just came by and snugged up my lines. The buildup is very gradual. Roxie is starting to get antsy. I am thinking about running some stuff up to the office early. I want my bean bag so I can sit without hurting my back. At this point I don't intend on staying on the boat if it really gets to blowing even if it is only 60 or 70 mph. It is too hard to get on and off the boat with the space I have left for protection from the docks. I may be the only one hanging out in the office but oh well. Poor Roxie is getting very tense. I miss the air conditioner.
We are in the middle of a hurricane. The boat is jerking wildly and one line has already broken. The docks are bending and swaying and walking on them is difficult. Everyone is worried and I have been asked by people if I have money, passport and boat papers with me and the answer is yes. Right now I am in the office with Bob from Pantera. He has two very young kittens and helping him feed them is occupying some of my mind. This is wild and ugly and all we want to know is where we are in the cycle. Will it let up before we start losing boats? One unattended boat broke its lines and may not make it. Scott did what he could. I wasn't much help but stayed to make sure Scott was safe. The office is leaking and there is water all over the floor. I am doing my best to sweep out the water and empty trash cans that I have placed to collect dripping water. It is noisy outside and hard to walk in this wind. I so hope all the boats are safe. I don't like this. I lost another line it is the bow line. I found more line and with everyone's help I got tied back up. Without that, SeaMoore would have swung into the ramp and been damaged along with the ramp and dock. The way the boats jerk on the lines and then slam the other directions is frightening. It is hard just to keep your footing on the dock as it bounces and sways.
12:30 AM September 16, 2014
It is loud and even linked arm and arm with Norma it was still hard to walk when we need the restroom. The wind is still building. The dock is breaking apart and SeaMoore is thought to be sustaining damage. Nothing to be done. There are four of us now in the office and with all the noise we are wondering how safe this is but the ramp may be lost so there may not be another chance to get off the boats. All we can do is hope for the best and even if damaged I just hope SeaMoore is still afloat. When daylight arrives we shall see what is what.
The lights have been out so I had a flashlight reflecting against the ceiling part of the time. I actually slept for an hour or so. Everyone tried to get rest but the office doesn't have comfortable furniture or very much of it. We are now six people, two dogs, a cat and two very young kittens. We are hoping we are nearing the end and it is settling down.
It is over. The winds increased through the night and about three hours ago they finally died down. The surge is still great and the waves are washing over the jetty but the hurricane has passed. All the boats at the old marina are lost. The finger that I am tied to is broken where it joins the main dock. The boat behind me broke free and pounded the dock. I am so exhausted I just want to cry. My boat is still afloat thanks to Steve, Christain and Scott. The next storm is already named and headed our way. It will be a week before it arrives if it becomes a hurricane but how can this dock take another hit? Everyone broke lines and we ran out collectively and of course there is no line to be bought at this time.
I forgot. During the blinding rain I missed a step and my leg went between the top step and the deck outside the office. I scraped my shin a bit twisted the ankle some but could have broken the leg if luck had not been with me. I am stiff and sore but alive and healthy.
I feel bad that I am not out helping but I am too tired to stand anymore. People are trying to secure the two loose boats and put the finger back on the dock opposite SeaMoore. They are also looking for chain to secure my finger. There is just a line keeping it connected to the main dock, Steve tied it on last night before the worst of the storm and amazingly it held.
Ed must come back early. As soon as I can reach him he needs to change his flight. SeaMoore and I cannot go through another storm alone. He may need to check a bag filled with dock lines for SeaMoore and Ulalena and anyone else that may need some on our dock.
The water is brown for as far as we can see and just off the beach is a huge debris field. It is full of bark and chunks and whole logs. It is a site but I am not interested enough to try for a picture.
Everyone has napped and taken stock of surroundings. Five boats were lost in this bay. We are all thankful for our good fortune. I have retied a couple of lines and replaced a stern line. Most of the lines are in rough shape. We need new lines. We have power at the dock again but I don't think the whole town is back on line with power. The internet and phone services seem to be down everywhere in the area. The CFE is the PGE equivalent and they worked hard all during the storm. The police were out in force to help if injuries and the bombadors helped a long time cruiser and friend of Steve and Sue get off his boat. The dock he was on disintegrated and he had no exit while his boat was slammed into the retaining wall with other debris. They got a ladder out to his boat like a plank and he had to crawl along the heaving and pitching ladder in the worst of the winds. His boat is totaled. The mood surrounding me is mostly somber with moments of joking and laughing. We don't want to do this again.
I am done lamenting the storm. The internet is down the phones don't work and there is no way to get word to family that I am fine. I hope no one is worried. There is also no way to get an update on the next storm. It has been named and apparently it is following in Odile's path. Lots can change before it gets here but we would all like to see what the possibilities are at this time. We are all thinking ahead to what needs to be ready if we go through this again in a few days. With my dock falling apart I plan to run a line from my stern across the main dock to the piling and hope that relieves some of the stress on the dock as well as keep me safe. There is just too much load on the cleat I would normally tie. It is supporting the other broken dock along with a boat that has been left unattended. If Ed can't get here I think I will take the bus to Loreto and try and buy some dock line. I am hoping the office can confirm the availability before I go to that expense, time and trouble. Wish I could call home or email but the servers are all down from the rain and leaks. I pray I don't need to blog about Polo or whatever the next one is called.
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Today I was able to talk to Amanda and Ed. I found more line should I need it but the forecast is looking good. When I first talked to Ed I told him to get his butt back here. I had no intention of risking another solo Hurricane with Polo approaching. A couple of hours later I reached him again and reassured him I was fine and prepared if we were hit again and that he didn't need to cut his vacation short. I am not worried and know what to do and I am half way there already since everything is still tied, battened, and stowed. We will not have running water for at least a week but I am set there. This morning we watched as divers located a car near the marina. It had been caught in the flash flood and was swept away with two inside. Bodies are still being searched for.
Jorge is a waiter that we met the night I returned from Portland. He has stopped by twice to check on me. Yesterday was the first time but I was napping so he came by a couple of hours ago just because he wanted to see me himself. He knew that Ed was gone and I was alone. He is a very kind man. He told me if there was anything I needed help with to call him. He even told me that if Polo does become a storm he will come to me to offer to take me to his house. He lives with his wife and son. I feel very blessed that a stranger has worried for my well-being. There are wonderful people in this world and I am lucky to have met many of them. I have had many people praying for me and worrying about me.
The sadness though is everywhere. Lives have been lost and many, many boats have been lost. Gunther is a friend in La Paz, his boat sank and he has not been found. Two other cruisers are also missing after their boat sank. Even Puerto Escondido which is considered to be a great hurricane hole lost several boats. There are other friends that we haven't gotten word from but will assume the best. They are in my prayers