Saturday, August 27, 2011

Pre Hurricane Irene – Everyone out of the Pool 8/25/2011

I had been keeping a close eye on the weather reports all week. As the week progressed the cone of uncertainty about if/where Hurricane Irene might hit began to circle in on Cape May. I had planned to go down and pull the boat out on Friday, until I got a call from Capt. Randy on Thursday afternoon. He had just heard that there would be a mandatory evacuation of Cape May starting on Friday morning. He had heard if you weren’t in Cape May by 8:00 AM on Friday you weren’t getting in. Luckily I had pulled my boat trailer out from behind the shed, and had it hooked up ready to go.

I left for Cape May with the trailer in tow around 4:30PM on Thurday. Capt Randy and Jim headed down a little after that with his trailer. We had called Capt Dave and he was on his way down too. As I approached the Garden State Parkway (GSP) there was some long lines at the gas stations. I decided to stop at the gas station at the rest stop on the GSP. They had one lane of the pumps opened to Southbound traffic. There were only about 5 or 6 cars ahead of me in line. The rest of the pumps were all being used by the Northbound traffic. The Northbound side had really long lines because people began to evacuate the barrier islands. The guy on the other side of the pumps was headed north, I asked him how long he had waited in the line for fuel. He told me he had waited over an hour. He mentioned he just came from the Bree Zee Lee marina, where he had waited for over 3 hours in the line for the boat ramp. That was discouraging to hear since that’s where I was headed.

As I approached the Bree Zee Lee marina at about 7:30 PM on Thursday evening, I could see the line of trucks with boat trailers lined up out on to Ocean Drive. I decided to pull in and park at the marina, instead of getting in line right away. It was raining too, I forget to mention that earlier. I went down to my slip and pulled the Bimini top off, and stowed it in the cabin. I also lowered the antennas and had the boat ready to be loaded on the trailer. Meanwhile Capt Dave had arrived and got in the line for the boat ramp. After a few calls back and forth we decided to head to the camp ground. Capt. Dave really prepared his camper. We made an effort with some of the others to prepare them. We all decided to go back and get in line for the boat ramp line. When we got on the line, which was still backed out on to Ocean Drive it was about 12:20AM. Low tide was at midnight, and it was close to the new Moon, so it was really low. I heard guys where having problems getting there boats out. About every 10-15 minutes the line would move up a little.

We had our boats ready to go, and we were able to help each other out. Jim manned our vehicles as we ran to our boats, and was a big help. As we would approach the boat ramp with the boats, Jim would have the trailer already down the ramp. I was able to just run my boat up on the trailer. We had all three of our boats on the trailers and off the ramp within ten minutes. If everyone was that fast the line would have moved a lot faster, we were fortunate to be able to help each other out.
Capt Randy and I left our boats on the trailers in the boat yard at the marina. I’ve been second guessing that decision. I’m concerned about the storm surge. If the surge comes at high tide on Sunday, it might float the boats in the yard. High tide is at about 7:50 AM on Sunday morning. The eye of the hurricane should hit sometime on Sunday morning. Capt Dave took his boat all the way home.

We went back to the Camp Ground after pulling the boats and finished closing them up. We decided that we should just head out after that in order to beat the anticipated traffic. We headed out for a bleary eyed drive back home at about 4:30 AM on Friday. All we can do now is sit and wait and hope for the best.


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