After a refreshing Labor Day weekend gazing at this beautiful lake down in Missouri where family and friends were reunited, the Burnetts did their daily Hurricane Irma update and the stress came flooding back.
Marvin is in Fort Lauderdale and could be in Irma’s path. And what’s this we hear about…Jose?
Mel found herself pouring over the Facebook groups that she had been recently checking less often, as she has been favoring “Women’s Neurology Group” over “Women Who Sail.” Now she was glued to her iPad, whipping through discussions on what to do. “Head to the mangroves.” “Make sure you are on a floating dock.” “It’s too late to flee — it can follow you.” “Pray.” “Do what your insurance wants you to do.” “I’ve been through three hurricanes and lost my boat in one.” “Here’s some pictures of busted up sailboats in a big pile by a dock.” “Here’s another broken boat picture.” “My destroyed boat picture is worse than yours!” “What’s the best anti-chafe?” “There’s nothing you can do in a Cat 5.”
Greg’s flight to Florida is booked for tomorrow morning. We have no time to sail somewhere else. We will not find a mangrove. We cannot anchor in the “hurricane hole” near Biscayne Bay with 50+ foot waves coming in. We cannot go back in time and put the boat in Colombia (the only truly safe hurricane spot in the Caribbean). In the end, the only thing to do is to comply with the hurricane plan we submitted to our insurance, which has Marvin tied up every which way in our current marina with all sails removed, document that we did so, and then get the hell out. Trust us. We know all about insurance.
Mel spent today calling around Omaha for anti-chafe supplies, because the Burnetts know all about rope chafe after the Malta episode. Her transition to land-life has been rocky, and she never hated Omaha so much as she does now. Google “Omaha Chandlery” to see what she means. She has learned that Omaha does not keep used fire hose in their fire stations, that Amazon does not have “8 hour delivery”, and that it’s a good thing that rock climbers exist and don’t like rope chafe either. We are going to stock up on tubular nylon webbing from Backwoods before Greg leaves, because we only have so much fire hose on the boat, and we can’t count on the Florida to have boating supplies. Or water. Or any sane people left.
Update: Backwoods does not have 2″ tubular nylon webbing. Aptly named store. Also, there is no REI in Omaha. So we ordered some crappy anti-chafe from Amazon for overnight delivery to Florida, as the fire hose won’t get there in time and the Chafe-Pro stuff recommended by Practical Sailor is selling for $99 a pop.
In the background is running a sinking feeling that there may be nothing we can do, that Marvin has received a terminal diagnosis, that he survived a major accident with three months of repairs just to perish at a dock while for sale. This is an unusual situation to be in, with death predicted in 4-10 days. In medicine, death is predicted on the order of seconds, a couple days, months, or years. “Four to ten days” doesn’t come of out doctors’ mouths a lot. In this awful limbo period, you end up feeling sad and hopeful at the same time. It’s not enough time to process anything correctly. A lot can happen in four to ten days, right? Of course, Mel is reminded of a patient she saw in medical school who spent three weeks being whisked in and out of the “death room,” a nice room that you are only permitted to be in if you had less than 24 hours to live, until he finally perished in a regular hospital bed. Sometimes we aren’t so great at predicting death, folks. And the same is true for weather. So we are going to be stubborn like that patient, who kept saying, “I’m fighting it and I’m going to win,” even as Mel learned what his belly packed with cancer felt like. Some people are just going to go down with hope in their hearts.
Feeling even worse for all of the lovely locals they met in the Caribbean and Bahamas that are going to be hit harder by the storm, Mel reviewed some of the hurricane education she did in the past when Hurricane Joachim hit the Bahamas. Hmmm, now that she is actively engaging with a horrible weather event, does she still think this is funny?
Yep. Still funny.