Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Back to Maryland, Earthquake, and Hurricane Irene

After spending a few months of summer at home, it was time to return to the boat in Maryland.  The kids were excited to come back to the boat, but sad to leave their friends at home.

We arrived back to the boat in time to spend a week visiting with cousins before they returned to school.  And then came the earthquake and the hurricane. 

We were sitting on the boat in the afternoon when i thought, what is that?  It felt like the engines on the boat were running, but there was no noise.  David looked at me and said the same thing—what is that?  He looked out the window and noticed that all the pilings on the dock were shaking.  It was neat watching them vibrate back and forth, all together.  David, having grown up in California suggested it might be an earthquake, and I, being from Maryland, disagreed—because we don’t have earthquakes in Maryland---well apparently we feel them here.  While the earthquake was far away in southern Virginia, the rock here is soft, so it travels far.  It was felt all along the east coast.  I think we were somewhat buffered from it because we were on the boat in the water.  But we definitely felt the rumbling. 

After that excitement passed, it was time to prepare for Hurricane Irene, who was only a few days away.  The marina where we are staying hauled over a hundred boats out of the water.  We were asked to move docks if we did not choose to haul out.  We kept watching the storm and determined that the winds would not be damaging to the boat, but if there was a tidal surge that raised the water level higher than the pilings we would have a problem.  We watched the storm and decided to stay in the water, but would move from the outer dock further up the creek to a more protected dock. 

I made arrangements to to take the kids to my brothers house to ride out the storm there for the night.  So Saturday before lunch as the rain and the wind started we left David on the boat.  I called a family friend and invited him to hang out with david on the boat should he need help.   Jason and his brother both went out to stay the night thru the storm.  While the wind blew, the water only came up several inches, and the storm was somewhat uneventful on the boat.  We are grateful there was no tidal surge during or after.

Meanwhile at my brothers house the kids had a great time playing all together with cousins.  We planned for a power loss, as that always happens in almost any storm at my brothers, but the power never went out.  We were concerned about a tree falling on a house as my brother lives in an older neighborhood that was built in a forest.  The trees are so tall and aging.  The last hurricane that came thru in 2005 brought down a tree on the house across the street.  So for this storm, we all slept in the basement.  The kids thought it was great! 

Sunday morning, church was cancelled, as it continued to rain, and thousands were without power.  Luckily, we still had power at Gerritt’s.  David had lost power to the boat Saturday afternoon.  But with 2 generators on board, we can handle a power outage easily.  Around lunch time we were ready to head back to the boat.  We helped Gerritt clean up his front yard and while we were picking up sticks we heard a loud crack and a 30 ft. long branch across the street fell on a house diagonal from where we were.  It created a small hole in the roof.  As we headed back to the boat we could see where trees had fallen across roads, fields, and paths.  There were fallen branches all around.  Luckily any blockages had already been cleared. 

The next day we visited some friends of my parents and helped clean up their yard, where it had rained large branches.  We must have emptied the wheelbarrow 20 times over.  They were also still without power.  We did not get power back at the Marina for 4 days after the storm.  And there were still thousands without.    I am grateful for generators that kept our food cold and allowed me a hot shower everyday, light at night, and kept my washer and dryer running.  I am grateful that we live at a time where hurricanes and storms can be tracked, and we can be forewarned to prepare for disasters.  How blessed we are to live at this time.