Sunday, August 28, 2011

Natural Disaster Week!

Burley Creek, Annapolis

Well what a week, we are tied to the dock at Larry & Bev’s and had planned to potter around doing a few boat chores and then heading out for a few days on the boat to do some motoring to make sure all is working well with the new engine before we head south.  However Mother Nature has other plans and we have a far more eventful week than we hoped.

On Monday I am working away inside the boat while Linda pops up to the motor bikes to take some photos to stick on EBay.  I feel the boat shake as the piles bang against the hull but given it is flat calm can’t think why, there is then a lot of banging and the rig starts to shake. 

I run up on deck and see Larry coming out of his office saying that was an earthquake, we both head up to the house and find Linda and Bev both literally and metaphorically shaken.  Linda had been wheeling her motor bike into position when the ground began to tremble and the bike shake, she miraculously managed not to drop it, but was clearly taken aback by the whole thing.  We watch the news to find it is a 6.5 on the Richter scale quake – quite a shock.

The rest of the week passes watching the weather news as Hurricane Irene homes in on us, by Friday it is inevitable that it will pass right over us, so we move Matsu to one of the neighbours docks that is vacant (thank you Marvin and Judith) and start to tie ourselves up with a maze of long lines kept specifically for this purpose but obviously well stored away as you don’t need them very often!

Hurricane Irene_025

The storm itself arrives on Saturday morning, initially with lots of rain and some wind, and then late afternoon and overnight Saturday (why does bad weather always come at night?) we get the bulk of the winds and rain.

Burley Creek is incredibly well protected, high banks on either side, no room for a fetch to develop and lots of mature trees to cut down the wind.  During the night we only saw 40 knots on the wind instruments, and that for a short time, the rest of the time it was 25-30 knots all very manageable.  The only scary bit was knowing that the wind at tree top height was 60-70 knots and wondering if a tree may fall on the boat.

During my frequent excursions outside to check lines, that was the scary bit, the sound of breaking branches making me flinch from time to time, but luckily all I got hit with were a few leaves!  By dawn on Sunday the worst was past, winds backing right off and even the endless rain starting to slow down.

After breakfast we head up to see the damage on land, there are lots of branches and trees down in the neighbourhood and obviously no power.  But miraculously not just Larry & Bev’s house but all the houses seem to have escaped damage.

Hurricane Irene_002

We spend the day chopping wood and clearing up and by afternoon the sun is out, the branches are gone and it almost seems like a bad dream.

Ironically given how worried all the homeowners were about us on our boat in the storm, we are now fine and it is them that suffer.  We obviously still have electricity and water while they have neither for a week afterwards!

A big thank you from Linda and I to the local community for looking after us so well during the hurricane and indeed the whole summer.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Summer Travels

New England, Maine, Nova Scotia, Quebec

We still have the motor bikes we bought last year so as this will be the last chance we get to use them we decided on a grand tour of the NE corner of the Americas.

From Annapolis, we rode north through Pennsylvania into the mountains of Vermont and New Hampshire then back down to the coast again in Maine meeting up with Jan and Karyn on Bella who were having their summer cruise in the Mt Desert region.

We spent 4 days with them on board and had probably as good weather as you could ever have there, it was well into the high 30’s Celsius and even warm enough to swim off the boat in the anchorage provided you stayed in the top 4’ layer of warm water!  We climbed Cadillac mountain to stretch our aching motor cycle limbs, rewarded with stunning panoramic views of Acadia NP.


Another highlight was boiling up Maine lobster on the beach, it was my first taste of them after eating many Caribbean ones, and I will be controversial and say I couldn’t really tell the difference, especially once dipped in gorgeous garlic butter and washed down with sauvignon blanc!

Maine_079Sad farewells with Bella and then we rode off to Nova Scotia, somewhere I have always wanted to go. 

By now the weather was less warm and sunny but we did get a couple of gorgeous days and taking in the tidal bores of the Bay of Fundy and the stunning coast south of Halifax, including the lovely Peggys Cove a traditional fishing village and Lunenberg the maritime capital of the area.  Both areas with moving memorials, the former to the Swiss Air flight that crashed here and the latter to the many fishermen lost over the years.Peggys Cove_049

From NS we were faced with a very long ride back to Quebec, our amateur geography had somehow convinced us that Nova Scotia was “on the way” so we were somewhat surprised to ride back via Maine passing within about 50 miles of Jan & Karyn after a 1200 mile round trip!

Ride To Quebec_003Ride To Quebec_007

Time in Quebec was spent with Linda’s family and friends, it was really great to catch up with everyone once more.

By mid August we realise that our to do list on Matsu isn’t getting any shorter but the time until we leave is, so saddle up for the long ride home through the Adirondack’s getting back to Annapolis after a round trip of well over 3,000 miles.