Greg is busy on the boat this morning despite a bad back that has made it very painful to do all of the heavy lifting. We are extremely grateful for the help of Reuben, the nephew of Leo who works for Merle whom we found via Bob (or was it Richard?) Reuben is a prime example of what an amazing community we have as sailors and cruisers. I am sure he has better things to do than help stow a 120-lb Viking liferaft with six square feet of extra windage we don’t need. But Reuben symbolizes that even though the marine industry is going to take a big hit with this, it will probably rebuild faster than any industry on land. Because nothing brings people together like putting up with Master Oogway (the Atlantic Wind God), Calamity (the Atlantic Sea Goddess) and Mr. Pissypants (the Atlantic Sea God) every day.
Boy, are those guys pissed!
Mel feels very upset with the clear disconnect between the blazing, quiet sun that is out right now in Omaha and the raucous, raging storm that is destroying so many of the beautiful places she visited on Marvin not too long ago. Greg is sweating it out on the boat, reporting that the people of Fort Lauderdale are starting to panic now that the gas pumps are dry and the bottled water is gone. Mel is thankful he has a rental car with a full tank and a flight out of there this evening. Greg is doing everything he can in the hot Florida sun, always with the nagging feeling in the back of his mind that it is probably futile, a terrible weight to bear on an already hurting back.
Mel is in yet another familiar situation: worrying in safety while Greg tries to save our boat. Texts fly from her phone: “Remember to put wax plugs in the engine exhausts,” “Stow the scupper cover,” “The anti-chafe guards we ordered on Amazon are stuck in Miami and won’t get there in time,” “Take a picture of that huge corrugated metal structure right next to the boat, because that baby is going to fly.” Greg patiently tolerates her attempts to help like one tolerates a thirteen-year-old’s political opinions (personal experience here.)
So Mel is addressing her impotence in her usual way: writing, and…waving her hands about. You see, any card-carrying nerd has read James Gleick’s Chaos, which is based on the shockingly popular “Butterfly effect” principle that small variations in an input to a system can have a huge impact in the outcome. This is of course the reason why hurricane prediction can never be precise. And of course it inspires Mel to wave her hands about in her yard in an effort to push the hurricane back out to sea, away from land. It’s about time our new neighbors learned the truth about Mel anyway.
Unusual for her, Mel has been a news junkie lately. So in addition to the National Hurricane Center, this website is Mel’s new obsession: https://earth.nullschool.net/. She just wished it dropped those dastardly metric units over the US! This might help: 150 km/hr is around 90 miles per hour, or 80 knots.
And this one does a nice job at displaying all of the sad pictures. Mel searches the photos for intact boats, obsessively analyzes how they must have been moored, and texts Greg her conclusions. “Stay as far away from powerboats and monohulls as you can…and by the way, we’re screwed.”
We’ll have more details when Greg arrives home safely tonight!