Hurricane Matthew in the Bahamas: Weathering Our First Real Storm

Georgetown Bahamas

hurricane-matthew-bahamas-sailboat

October 5th 5:04 pm

There is a big Leopard 46 Catamaran in hole 2 that has lost it’s mooring lines on one side. It’s see-sawing all over the place. I doubt it will make it through the storm. It’s also directly upwind from our boat, with several boats in between. This is quite possibly the scariest thing I’ve seen for us, personally. If that catamaran comes loose, it will most likely take out at LEASE two or three boats, including our own. It feels like living near an elevated expressway and having a semi truck come crashing ALMOST all of the way through the guard rail, then just hang there, right above your house, by a small piece of metal rail. Just dangling ominously… We’re all here at St Francis (and my wife back on land) watching this and holding our collective breath.


As it turns out someone actually took a dinghy out to fix the lines. From what I understand, his dinghy was soon overwhelmed with water and he had to SWIM back to shore after securing an extra line to the boat. Although we’re very grateful that the boat is secured, I would never have chosen to risk a life for boats. Home or no, its not worth losing a life over. At any rate, its over, he’s okay and we’re all a little reassured that things might not turn out as badly as we expected.

 

Airmocks-hurricane-chill-sleep

October 5th 6:02 pm

The worst of Hurricane Matthew is on us now. Winds of 100+ sustained. The air is howling through every crack and crevice, carrying in very fine sand. We’re all still safe and dry. Abyni and Jaedin are making good use of Jettie’s “Airmock” bags. We were a little worried that Abyni’s anxiety would kick in with all of the stress and the unknowns, but she actually just said to me, “Wake me up when this is all over and crashed.”

 

14570225_1687267468199720_7060788659580803914_n

October 5th 7:08 pm

The eye wall is currently at its closest point of approach. According the the 8:00 NOAA update the center is approximately 15-20 miles SSW of us, and will miss us to the west. We’ve had some gusts that have to have been 130+, but sustained winds appear to be hovering about the 100 mark.

The building we’re in is vibrating like a huge tuning fork, but nothing is breaking and everyone is still safe and dry.

It’s too dark outside now to see the boats any longer, so I do not know the fate of the catamaran with the broken lines. With the sound of the wind howling outside I will be very surprised if it is still there in the morning. Hopefully if it does break free it won’t destroy our home in the process.

 

 

942

October 5th 11:34 pm

Hurricane Matthew has been in a full on rage outside for several hours now and it finally seems like in the last 15 minutes or so that things are dying down a bit. It’s still far too dangerous to poke my head outside as we can still hear flying debris hitting the building, but the wind isn’t howling quite as bad.

By some miracle we still have cell service, which amazes me.

The light of day in the morning will tell the tales I guess. At this point I’d say there’s a 50/50 chance of the boats still being in hole 2. The fetch from this storm is coming at the absolute worst possible angle for the opening into hole 2.

We here at St Francis are all still safe and secure, though the back half of the building has standing water on the floor from it being driven in through every tiny crack and crevice.

I’m quite worried about George Town proper. We are in the lee of Stocking Island here at the resort and if the buildings here weren’t built like tanks I’d be worried about our safety. Those businesses and homes across the harbor have a mile and more of open water between them and the incoming wind, and most of the town only sits 10-20 feet above sea level.

I’m sure that we’ve had sustained gusts of 30 seconds duration that were approaching 150 MPH. Most of the wind seems to have been closer to 100 MPH or so. The last real-time local weather report we had was from the airport several hours ago and they were reporting 104 MPH sustained winds. Some of these gusts have to have been half again as strong. Say some prayers for George Town in addition to us please. I’m not expecting to see many buildings over there when the sun comes up, but I truly hope that I’m pleasantly surprised.

As a side note, even after today is over Hurricane Matthew may not be done with us. There are several forecast models that are predicting the storm to ravage Florida, then head out to sea, do a crazy loop, and come back South in our direction.

Let’s hope the models that aren’t calling for that are the more accurate ones.

 

THE MORNING AFTER:

14570225_1687267468199720_7060788659580803914_n

October 6th 5:30 am

It’s been a very long night. We’re still an hour or so from having enough light to see the boats and across the harbor. I am in dreadful anticipation of the sunrise. I fear the details that will be brought into stark contrast will be bad for some of us and worse for the rest. Perhaps we will be pleasantly surprised.

It is still raining, still some of the hardest rain that I’ve ever seen. It’s really beyond rain. It’s more like a waterfall. I don’t know how one could go about measuring a horizontal waterfall, but if you could I’m sure we received well beyond a foot of rain in the last 12 hours alone. Probably more like 2 or 3 feet.

The wind has died considerably, though it is still blowing at 60 MPH or so. Nothing like it was earlier, but still a strong blow. According to the radar, we are still on the outer edge of the storm center.

We saw a report that the maximum wind out at Exuma International Airport was 144 MPH. For our friends from Oklahoma and elsewhere in tornado alley, that’s the equivalent of a strong F-2 tornado, almost an F-3. It just happens to be a 60 mile wide F-2 tornado that lasted for 12 hours.

Everyone here at St Francis is safe and secure, though the resort is not without damage. The biggest loss known thus far is that a falling tree ruptured a diesel storage tank and nearly all of the diesel reserve is lost. We are down to 100 gallons or so for the generators here. George was able to walk the grounds a bit and it seems all the structures are still standing.

I walked the pathways close to the main building. They are covered in tree debris and sand that blew in from ocean side.
The fate of the boats is still unknown.

The fate of the boats remains unknown at this point.

We can see faint lights across the harbor from Peace-n-Plenty, a resort over there that has their own generators. So that structure is still standing, at least. I fear it may be a different story for most of George Town proper. We believe that we may be seeing faint light from Regatta Point as well.

I was contacted through our FB page by someone over at Lumina Point (another resort here on Stocking Island). They are just outside Hole Zero here. They report being safe and sound as of about midnight, but obviously no report from there yet either of the boats in Hole Zero.

We have not heard from Kevali House, the small resort outside Hole 3.

Wish us luck today. I believe that there is going to be a lot of work to do.

 

(Byn here) After a pretty much solid night of tossing and turning, feeling sick to my stomach from the stress of worrying about my family and our home… I finally decided that it might be light enough for Patrick to have checked on our boat:

text-1

 

October 6th 6:35 am

There is enough faint light to see into the Hole. There are at least three boats on the rocks, but it is too early to tell which ones. Sea Monkey, Duchess, Tikitiboo, Blue Heaven, and – amazingly – that big Leopard with the broken lines are all still there. I can see our boat at the back of the field and it is still floating in it’s spot and appears to be level. At least one of the boats on the rocks has to have passed ours by a small margin or even struck us, but I will not know more detail until it calms down more and we can get a boat in the water.

Our home is still floating!

our-boat-survived-hurricane

See my other posts on Hurricane Matthew:

Preparing for our First Hurricane

Hurricane Matthew: Waiting for the Eye of the Storm

Watching from Afar as my Family Preps for a Hurricane (Byn’s perspective from the US)

Weathering Our First Real Storm

Broken Dreams and Happy Endings: The Aftermath of a Hurricane in Georgetown, Bahamas

Hurricane Matthew Salvage Report

Comments

comments