It looks like we’re about to get our first tropical storm.
I don’t have any concerns about our safety. We’re in a well protected harbor and I’m pretty confident that the moorings are strong enough and well-maintained. In fact, I’m a little bit excited. Hurricane experience is hard-won and this will be a nice little introduction. This will help us know what to expect and evaluate our exposure to future storms.
I do have a misgiving about the way we’re secured to the mooring. The harbormaster and I have a little disagreement about the best way to moor my boat. We’ve been doing it his way to keep things friendly and while the weather was mild, but his silly rules won’t be on my list of concerns when it starts to deteriorate tomorrow.
At this point it is just a tropical depression. It was expected to become a tropical storm for the 5pm forecast, but the hurricane hunter didn’t find that it had strengthened enough. It is still expected, though. Slow development is fine with me since it reduces the chance that it could turn into a hurricane overnight. The dockside prognosticators are predicting 50-60 knots, but I’m skeptical it will be that high. We’ll have the instruments on to watch the wind speed.
What we have most to fear is other boats. The boats on moorings have people aboard and are generally well looked after, but other boats are anchored, and many of these are neglected. Either could break free, but think I we have more to fear from the anchored boats. There aren’t very many boats around us, but most of the ones that are fall into this latter category. I don’t think the wind speeds will be anywhere near strong enough that we’d have to worry about flying debris from the surrounding houses.
If we did have a problem in the harbor, there is a nice mangrove creek nearby that we should be able to get into without much trouble. Tying into mangroves is a proven tactic for securing a boat for a storm. They grow along twisting channels that don’t allow waves to build, and their root systems are very strong.
My secondary concern after the wind is about the water quality. With all the rain that is sure to come, there will be a massive amount of runoff. This tends to carry all kinds of trash that can clog our raw water strainers, and possibly chemicals that could damage our water maker, or otherwise compromise our ability to make water. Most bacteria are larger than aqueous salt, so the water maker will remove them, but pesticides and other chemicals will pass through.