Saturday, October 1, 2016

Even More Delay?

Remember how I said that late-season hurricanes were rare but often significant?  Well, those words are coming back to haunt me.

Over the last few days, I've become increasingly concerned about hurricane Matthew. On Friday,  Chris Parker's marine weather service (to which I subscribe), was saying that the track northward is very uncertain, and could encompass anything from a landfall in SC to missing the east coast entirely and grazing the west side of Bermuda.

As a result, he was recommending that boats in the Virginia and Delmarva region should seek secure locations by the evening of Wed Oct 5.

Since we're now planning on leaving on Monday Oct 3, our first three night's stops were looking like Rhode River, Solomons, and Sandy point (off the Wicomico) on Wed.

But winds are predicted to be NE or NNE Wednesday, and this is bad for anchoring at Sandy point, as there is too much fetch to the NE.

I was considering just holing up at Spring Cove Marina in Solomons for a few days if this scenario looked likely, but then things changed.

Matthew's Projected Track Sat Oct 1
 By Saturday morning (today), Matthew's track has slowed, and the strength has intensified, stretching out the timeline even longer and the impact area even larger. One of the worst (from my point of view) models has it passing within 120 miles of the coast of Virginia on Saturday Oct 9, with hurricane force winds out as far as 90 mi from the center, and Tropical Storm force winds out as far as 200 mi (!) from the center.

If we leave Monday, as is the current plan,  that would likely put us somewhere between Norfolk and Coinjock by Saturday. Having never done this trip before, I'm totally unfamiliar with the area, so I've been madly studying Skipper Bob's, the Waterway Guide, Active Captain, and the thrice-daily marine weather updates to try and make sense of it all and formulate a safe plan.

Since our home port, Oak Harbor, is generally considered a "hurricane hole",  one possibility (that I hate) is to just stay put for another week!  This would lose us our lead over the bulk of the "fleet" that heads south after the boat show, and mean that we would have a harder time finding good anchorages every day.  It would also mean one more week that the cold gets to creep southwards.   But if the worst-case track becomes likely, it's probably the safest bet.  Stay tuned for developments!

 Just found out that the Dismal Swamp Canal has reopened, so Saturday would now likely find us somewhere between Norfolk and Elizabeth City.

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