Sunday, August 25, 2019

Home Again

I am home at The Ford Plantation, after a three-day trip alone from John's Island near Charleston to Beaufort Thursday, then to Thunderbolt Friday, and to Ford yesterday.

People I meet, and friends, often ask me where I "keep" the boat. We don't really keep the boat in any single place. So far, I have mostly kept her in boatyards (a total of 134 days this year). But the real answer is that we expect Division Belle to be in Florida and the Bahamas in winter and in New England in summer. This year, as we have continued to get things fixed on the boat, we missed the chance to go north. We fully expect to be heading south after the hurricane season into Florida and on to the Bahamas in January. Other than a few short trips she will likely be here at Ford until late in the hurricane season, which officially ends November 30.

I had two uneventful days of travel alone Friday and yesterday. There were threatening thunderstorms yesterday that caused me to simply stop and wait for about 45 minutes at the mouth of the Little Ogeechee River. The storms eventually moved on or dissipated, allowing me to continue. Friday night my bride drove down to Thunderbolt to join me for dinner. I continue to be amazed that it took her roughly 30 minutes to drive home after dinner but it took me a full five hours yesterday to get the boat home. Here's a view of the path from Thunderbolt to Ford:


Hurricane preparedness has been an obsession with me of late. I seriously considered keeping the boat at Brunswick Landing Marina in Brunswick, Georgia, advertised as a "hurricane hole",  for the next few months, but I came down in favor of Ford being the safer alternative. My biggest fear is a storm surge that lifts the floating docks above the pilings that hold them. At Ford, the docks are about seven feet below the top of the pilings at high tide, while at Brunswick the distance is about eight feet. Importantly though, Ford is about 15 nautical miles from the ocean as the crow flies, while Brunswick is more like six miles. More important is the height of the pilings above the surrounding land, because once water rises and begins to spread over the surrounding land, it rises much more slowly as it spreads over land. The pilings at Ford are as far above the surrounding ground as those in Brunswick. So here we shall sit and keep our fingers crossed. Obviously in a direct hit from a category five storm, all bets are off for both our home and our boat. But there aren't many options for dealing with that kind of catastrophe.

It's good to be home. Let's hope it stays safe here this season.

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