Saturday, June 29, 2013

Summer Begins

Leading edge of thunderstorm over the Point
As is obvious from the many entries in this blog, life on the water is broadly connected to weather, and even more so during hurricane season. Tropical Storm Andrea inaugurated this year's season within days of its June 1 calendar start. She was a bold storm that churned up big waves to accompany the big winds. Whittaker Creek alongside our dock rushed past like a whitewater river, albeit upstream. The southeast winds locked us into a port side heel for the duration of the storm and its aftermath.

In the murk of pre-dawn, I woke to a sudden change of wind. Scanning toward the river, I saw a wide area of darker darkness while the wind generators lurched point to point in the confused wind. My best guess? A waterspout out in the river (supported by radar).

The heavy overnight rains ended early morning, but the winds continued to build, peaking at 25-30 with gusts > 50 mph. All under the pleasant brilliance of sun in a blue sky above the racing storm clouds that followed Andrea northward.

Aside from several days of cooling north and east breezes week before last, we have been stuck in the prevailing summer influence of the Bermuda High with steady southerly winds > 15 and no cold fronts strong enough to break the pattern. The humidity encourages occasional thunderstorms daily.

Late afternoon storm approaching
Blue crabs have been abundant (three boats on our dock now drop a total of six traps between us). Butch steamed thirty on the dock. I pulled enough one day to feel good about tossing back two big females. Other than a few jumping mullet, we have not had any fish activity despite seeing schools of fry breaking the surface. And we have noted few dolphins passing by. Shrimp seem to be, like last year, scarce in our local waters.

Bill of S/V Hale Kai returned from the Bahamas a couple weeks ago, about the same time that Ivan stopped on S/V Moira with his proper terrier mutt, Mac, a dog with good sea legs. Ivan sails solo after losing his wife last year. About seventy with lots of sea miles behind him, he describes himself as gregarious so does not enjoy the solitude of sailing alone. The northerly winds pinned him here a few days longer than he hoped, but he was committed and content to wait for his weather window (says his record is 22 days of waiting), southern winds that will push him offshore on his way along the Gulf Stream to the Chesapeake. He says he avoids the ICW like the proverbial plague. I hope he visits again on his way south this autumn.

Squall line over Oriental

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