Last night looking out our hotel room window, we could see sheets of driving rain swirling through the carpark and between the cluster of hotels near Hwy I-95. We slept until the wind died sometime around midnight. Soon after, the roar started again from the west with driving horizontal rain and vibrating air vents in the room. To think of Vanish out there being crushed against the dock and all the lives, houses, and pets suffering in this weather was just sickening. The power went out as soon as the wind turned west. In the morning we packed the car and were on the road by 8.30 am but soon found that the police had barricaded every east exit off I-95 so we were told to return to our hotel. We called our friend who weathered the hurricane in the marina clubhouse to find out any news. He kindly walked to our berth and reported "Wow, it's a beautiful boat. It looks exactly the same as you left it!" He went on to say that hurricane force winds lasted over two hours in the marina. That's 78 mph with gusts much higher. The mitigating factors that saved us were that the hurricane was 60 miles offshore, we were in the safe quadrant, the vast surrounding wetland with absorbed all the water and the fact it arrived at low tide. If any of those factors had been different, the docks would have lifted off the posts and all boats would be piled together on the first high ground they hit. The fact that we still have Vanish is nothing short of a miracle.
The authorities allowed us back into Brunswick around noon. As we drove closer to the marina, the damage to houses and buildings increased. We saw uprooted trees and branches everywhere. Many homes and cars had trees laying across them. Spanish moss coated wire fences, billboards, street signs and traffic lights were strewn in the street. In the marina there were a number of trees blown over and a shed across the way from the clubhouse was pretty much blown apart with sheet metal flapping in the wind.
A few yachts had damage to their covers and jibs but no yachts were lost. We walked with trepidation down to Vanish on the T-head. We did a complete inspection and could not find a single bit of damage. A photo frame had fallen over but that was it. Yet, the yacht next to us on the downwind side had books strewn across the salon from the wave action on the westerly change. We can certainly vouch for our eight fenders. They took an extraordinary amount of pressure being squeezed between Vanish and the dock in the two hours of 70 + knots. They are light and easy to inflate or deflate and saved a lot of damage. (http://www.prostockmarine.com/index.php?id_product=28&controller=product)
When the westerly wind arrived, it blew all the surge water out to sea. The posts were around 14 ft high and the next worry was whether there was going to be enough water in the marina under the keels. The below photo shows that the marshlands and water levels are now back to normal.
No doubt there will be an extraordinary amount of loss to others less fortunate as this storm followed the coastline from Florida to Virginia. It is still powering north of Cape Hatteras. We are through it all and on the other side safe and sound but feeling completely spent and shell shocked. My thoughts are with everyone who have lost so much.