Hurricane Irene, the long anchor watch #1
So it's Sunday morning and the early signs of Irene are here in the form of 100% humidity and easterlies in the high teens. That wonderfully large Fortress 55 anchor, seen above in my tender yesterday afternoon, is now set about 150 feet to weather in 20-30 feet of water and Gizmo's regular hook, a Kingston K-45, is about the same distance to the southwest. The best part, though, is that I'm snugged into Pulpit Harbor where it's quite unlikely that I'll experience any significant wave action. In my experience it's that action and the resulting line chafe that usually causes boats to go ashore in conditions like we're expecting. You can see Gizmo's position on this Spot share map, and I'm also using this situation to try out a number of other electronics...
For instance, I'm using the anchor watch feature on the Vesper WatchMate 850 AIS; it would be better if I'd gone to the trouble of wiring in NMEA 0183 heading info, but I think it's still my most accurate monitor and it will alarm if Gizmo makes a serious move. I've also been experimenting with a Garmin GTU 10 GPS locator as an anchor watch this summer. It's real value is for when you're off the boat, like the Boat Monitor app, but both the AT&T and Verizon coverage right here is just dicey enough to give both a good work out.
Fortunately though, a friendly nearby household is serving WiFi Internet to Gizmo's Rogue Wave, and so I'm able to see what's happening with Irene south of here. I've been watching the NHC's predictions and discussions for days now, and have become another fan of Dr. Jeff Master's blog, but what I like to do at this point is to mind the weather bouys (I do have a third anchor ready). I like the GoMOOS site for New England, but I also went right to the NBDC for some recent Irene history. I'd say that this storm is relatively mild in terms of wind -- knock on wood -- but it's hard to diagram the effects of an intense low better than this data screen from the Cape Lookout, NC, station, though it leaves out the radical east to west wind shifts. (That station, incidentally, is actually on the beach, and years ago my shipmates and I -- looking at all the wreck symbols on a wet chart in a stressed boat -- concluded that the proper pronunciation for that spot is "Cape Look Out!")
I'll write more about using electronics during tropical storm Irene eventually, but I'll close now with something lighter. Coming to Pulpit gave me an opportunity to visit the Maine Cat P47 Cacique, seen nicely in this Billy Black YouTube video. It was neat to experience the very comfortable semi-custom interior that was envisioned by long time cruisers Pam and Glen when I first met them a few years ago -- no lower helm in favor of serious recliners, and a raised foward sole for excellent all around sight lines. I was also pleased to learn about boat-friendly Bota Box wine, posed below with boat cat Rocky (and sibling Tigger on the foredeck). The concept is simple, a 3 liter box/bag made of 100% recycled materials that's easy to stow and leaves little to get rid of. It's also inexpensive, and I agree with this reviewer that the Malbec is pretty good.