Hurricane Wilma:  Preparation

I arrived back in Key West on October 6 after nearly four months in the Bahamas (story soon to be posted on the web site).  I arranged to dock the Sirius II for the rest of the month on the transient pier at Garrison Bight in order to perform some much needed maintenance after the grueling Bahama experience.  Within a few days the locals are talking about Tropical Storm Wilma building in the south Caribbean.  I was still busy trying to catch up on four months of bills, repairs to the houseboat Rejoyce and the maintenance of the Sirius II to pay much attention.  Then, the forecasters begin drawing a hurricane cone that includes Key West. Now I pay attention.

The primary concern for the Rejoyce is to rebuild the ramp leading to the dock, which was destroyed by Hurricane Rita, so that it can be easily removed before the next hurricane arrives, and to adjust all the lines, and in some cases add additional lines from the pilings and from the pier.  For the Sirius II I need to remove everything possible above deck:  The dodger comes off, the solar panels are removed, the bimini is secured to the back stay, and all the cruising water containers and fuel containers are doubly secured.  I wrap a line around the mainsail, lashing it to the boom. I elect to leave the headsail roller furling up, but wrap one of the halyards around it.  The inflatable dinghy is situated on the foredeck and lashed down.  The outboard engine hangs from the cockpit pulpit.  The wood pram is secured to the floating dock and to the Sirius II.

Intertwined with all my preparations is a deep concern for the preparedness of the adjacent floating home (and other boats up and down the pier).  A year ago I had made mention that some of her lines need to be replaced.  They werenít.  Now, again I mention that these lines are too old, too worn.  They may not hold in the event that Wilma does indeed come our way, even if only a category 1 hurricane.  The owners consent and go get new 1Ē nylon rope.  Now, of course, I have another task:  With the help of my neighbor on the other side, Bob, we secure Rosemary and Davidís floating home with new line and adjust all the lines that were not replaced.

It is a given that we will lose electrical power and probably water.  Telephone and TV cable as well, but these arenít my priorities.  The galley stoves on both boats are propane so I donít worry too much about extra provisions for the long run.  From the Sirius II I bring over flashlights and extra batteries, some canned food and the hand-held VHF radio

Watching and Waiting

Back to 2005: Hurricane Wilma by Steven Jones.
Copyright © 2005 Steven Jones. All Rights Reserved.