After Florence

We. Are. Home.

I can hardly describe the relief I felt as we drove into the Gottschalk Marina parking lot after a 10 hour drive from Atlanta. When I saw the dock house intact and all the sailboat masts standing tall, I almost cried. I just felt so proud of our little marina and all of the responsible boat owners who helped ensure we would all make it through this hurricane. The power was already back on to the slips, the bathrooms cleaned out, a new washer and dryer were up and running, and everyone was hard at work on their boats.

You would hardly know that just a few days ago, the river tried to consume the marina. Now the only pieces of evidence left from this failed attempt are muddy floors, some broken wood boards, kayak dock damage, and felled trees nearby. After a force of nature tried to destroy everything, life has miraculously returned to normal.

I keep hearing stories about other marinas in the area that didn’t fare as well as we did, and I am so grateful we had a boat to come home to. This was the first true test of Story Time’s fortitude, and she weathered the storm like a champion. There was absolutely no damage to our boat, inside or out. The automatic bilge pump did its job and everything was clean and dry. When we left her two weeks ago, I remember being fully prepared to lose her in the worst case scenario. I envisioned the best case scenario as some damage, but still livable while we fixed her up. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine NO DAMAGE in a direct hit from a Category 2 hurricane. I should go buy a lottery ticket.

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

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Cheers to a great homecoming!
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Making the Most of Evacuating

Well guys, we are still in Atlanta. The roads back to North Carolina are starting to improve but remain pretty gnarly in some spots. The plan right now is to wait a few extra days and shoot for getting home this weekend. Here’s what we know about Gottschalk Marina and how all the boats fared during the hurricane:

  • The floating docks are still floating. Yay! The storm surge was about three feet above the fixed docks.
  • One derelict boat sank in its slip
  • Three boats with some broken lines are bouncing in their slips
  • ALL the other boats were great and bobbing happily in their slips!!!
  • This means Story Time is still afloat and we have a home to return to! We’ll have to see in person if she sustained any damage but it’s looking good.

I am SO relieved. The fact that none of the boats broke loose to cause massive damage to other boats/ marina is a huge testament to how hard all of boat owners worked to prep for the hurricane. Here are some pictures that the Ragged Point Yacht Club took:

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The Gottschalk boat launch is under water, but look at all those masts still standing tall!
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This old houseboat was the only casualty at Gottschalk Marina

Sadly, our old marina in New Bern didn’t fare as well. Northwest Creek Marina faced dangerous flooding and some of the boats broke free during the high winds. Here’s what NWC looked like in the Florence aftermath:

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So many sideways sailboats 😦
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These boats broke free and are ON TOP of the fuel dock
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Thinking of all our friends at NWC

Though I am eager to go home and check on the boat, we have been making the most of our forced family vacation here. Thank goodness for USAA renter’s insurance, which has covered hotel, food, and travel costs associated with evacuating. Since finding out our boat was okay, we have been able to enjoy spending time in a big city. We took W on her first aquarium trip, and our fellow liveaboard friends (remember the packing list?) decided to come up from Florida and join us in Atlanta instead. W and I have loved having Daddy around all day!

aquarium

While we are thankful that Hurricane Florence didn’t cause too much upset in our lives, we are well aware of the devastating impact it had on the entire Carolina region. Our hearts go out to those who lost their homes, livelihoods, and family members in this disaster. Relief efforts and cleanup will ongoing for a long time. This was an eye-opening first hurricane for us.

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

Hurricane Florence

Currently watching Hurricane Florence circle ever closer to the North Carolina coast…from our hotel room in Atlanta. Yep, we are nowhere near this destructive storm and have evacuated to Georgia.

To say the last three days were hectic would be a gross understatement. Sunday we were nervously watching the forecast and making to-do lists. Monday we were taking down canvas, bimini, sails, and wind generator. Tuesday was the ‘Oh Shit’ realization that we had to leave, and we worked from 5am to 5pm getting the boat ready. All of our interior closets, drawers, and cabinets had to be stuffed with padding and taped down. Water tanks were filled for ballast, lines were taped down in the cockpit pocket, everything that could be moved off the boat was put into storage. Once the inside and outside were as hurricane-proof as we could make them, we centered the boat in the slip and tied all of the lines we had to the dock.

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Our marina is located in a fairly decent hurricane hole with floating docks. The storm surge is projected to be around 6-8 feet there. I’m mostly worried about the high winds and one of the boats in the marina coming loose. If the boats can withstand the wind without significant damage, then the flooding and storm surge will be no problem. Boats will do what boats do–float!

My heart was still in my throat when we left, though. There will be damage to our home, either the boat or the marina, that much I know. I just hope that it won’t be insurmountable and that we and our friends don’t lose it all.

To lighten things up, here is a text we got from our dear boat friends who made it safely to Florida:

“I think I was drunk when I was packing originally. I’ll give you a rough inventory of what I determined were ‘essential items’… Electric toothbrush charger (but not the toothbrush apparently, that’s at home), a tent (no other camping gear), 10 lbs of dried beans (nothing to cook them with–pot, stove, not even a spoon), all of my bottles of wine, every pill bottle we had, and 4 raincoats for our party of 2.”

I laughed so hard I cried when I read this. People are the most important things in life. Everything else is extra.

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

Mommy and Me Boat Show Weekend

On Saturday I packed up W and we headed down to the Wilmington boat show. It was just the two of us, as Conor had been gone for the last 3 weeks (he’s back now though, hallelujah!). Even though it seemed daunting to navigate it all on my own with a baby, I definitely didn’t want to miss out.

It was…not what I expected. If you look back at one of my first posts here, I talked about our experience at the San Diego boat show. There were SO many sailboats, catamarans, and sailing seminars there that we stayed the whole day and still didn’t see everything. The Wilmington boat show was not like that.

This is a relatively new boat show that was started in 2016, so maybe it just needs time to gain popularity, but it was 98% power and fishing boat focused. In fact, there were a total of three sailboats there. THREE out of hundreds of boats. Of course we went and toured the new Beneteau 38 that was there, though. I had to see how it compared to our 2002 Catalina 380. I have to say, even if given the chance to swap our 16 year old sailboat with that brand new one, I would have turned it down in a heartbeat. I whispered to W that I liked our boat way better, and she farted in agreement. We are all on the same page about Story Time—she is the best.

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Boob naps are the best naps

The pluses of the boat show: it was well-organized and super cheap ($5 for military). There were a lot of booths set up inside the convention center and out on the docks. People were friendly and helpful. Parking was simple and there was no traffic, but that could have been because we were there right when it opened at 10am. Baby girl had a lot of fun waving at everyone and looking at boats, and I felt accomplished getting us there. It was a fun outing and I’m glad we went. I will just alter my expectations for next year!

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

PS- I’m going to try and update before Hurricane Florence hits, but we are busy making boat preparations and hoping for the best. Please keep us in your thoughts and all of the other people in North and South Carolina! We escaped unscathed from hurricane season last year, but I guess this year it’s time to pay up. It’s looking like a Cat 4 direct hit to the Carolina coastline on Thursday night. I can’t even comprehend the damage this will bring.