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Posts Tagged ‘Ft Pierce’

     I was coming back from the head one afternoon and a fellow sailor at our marina mentioned to me that they were going to run and I asked where are you running to…and they said Lake Okeechobee locks…

     This made no sense to me so I mentioned it to Bruce and he wanted to know why they were running and went out to discuss the matter only to find out that the next hurricane Jeanne was also headed our way.  None of us had been informed so we did not have time to get into any of the marinas at this point.

     The cable company in the town did not know enough to change the oil in their generator(s) so they fried them.   Since the last Hurricane, “Frances”, went through right here no one had any news of the coming “Jeanne” Hurricane. Therefor we had not enough time to get hauled out.   Soooooo we hauled our own tails……sailing in a line all having as much fun as you could make a trip to hide from a Hurricane.  We went up through the first lock into Lake Okeechobee and on into Indiantown Marina.

Stormy Weather

     Bruce and I got the last slip there which was not available when we called but when we arrived they gave it to us.  We dragged the sailboat on into the slip because it was so shallow slow and  hard.  We locked down the boat and we tied the lines high as there would surely be more water here after the storm passed.  We carried as much as we could get off the boat by climbing down off the Bow onto crates and then on to the floating dock (if you could call it that).  It was barely floating and definitely not stable but it worked.  The boards would tilt to and fro as we walked along definitely one at a time so to not end up with one or the other of us in the water there. Then we were off to a car that someone had driven there to get us back to our vehicles in Ft Pierce.

     You know they say every time you do something for the first time you are depleting your body’s storage of B vitamins.  Now since they are the ones that keep your nerves settled, among other things, it would seem that we were having quite the stressful month.  

     Then we charged off to Marco Island….as usual.  The native Indians called Calusa Indians, settled on Marco Island because the weather seemed to go around this Island…which is true.  You can now watch it on the radar.  The weather goes right up to Marco and then disappears or goes around it…pretty strange…but good for us.

     As we were driving two SUVs off to Marco we had taken the road just south of the Lake (Okeechobee) and the wind was getting pretty heavy.  Already it was just a little too breezy for me.  But I drove it like a good girl cause I wanted my car out of the storm, and without saltwater in the engine.

     “Jeanne” was no fun either and those who stayed on their boats had quite the time there at Indiantown.  It was great to get out of the normal 8 foot storm surge by being on the inside of the first lock.  Unfortunately no one had mentioned to us that the Lake was going to let water out through the locks to keep the Lake from being too full.  There was our 8 foot surge anyway.  

Oh, and by the way the railroad bridge was now stuck in the down position.  This means that no one with a mast could go through that bridge either.  I realize that the only people who understand my last remark are sailors, but they are the only people who need the bridge to be raised to get under it.

     And when we came back all that were there were soooo exhausted.  They had fought the great battle.  Bruce feels that the only thing we cannot replace is our lives so we take them to safety…always….I have to admit…I agree.

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     Frances was my first Hurricane…since I moved onto the sailboat. We moved to Ft Pierce so we could get to the Bahamas more quickly from the U.S.  You can do it in a day on the right day weatherwise…in a sailboat.

      Then when we heard about Frances coming, we put the boat up on the hard in the right marina, which was Crackerboy Marina in Ft Pierce.  They are quite capable, which is hard to find.  Then we came on home to Marco Island to a friends house.  We heard that after Frances went through the boats were all in smithereens.  We had a friend try to get up to Crackerboy to find out, in his dinghy boat, but to no avail.  Everything was locked down and in a quarantine for the entire area.

     There was so much destruction that people were looting very badly.  Some looters even took a washing machine from someones back porch while it was running …with clothes in it.  That was ridiculous!!!  Needless to say when we got back, all the boats at Crackerboy were in fine condition as expected but at the marina across the street, they were mostly destroyed.

     There was a huge boat graveyard in Ft Pierce.  It was heartbreaking!!! There was also a moratorium on any boats in the water because no one really knew what the bottom was like now because so many boats went down.  There were sailboats and power boats, masts and all somewhere down below in the water all around the area.  You could see some of the masts sticking up out of the water.  For instance, most sailboats have at least a four foot draft, so you did not know what you might come across underneath the surface.  They had to dredge the whole area to make certain they had removed all the boats that went down from the bottom before they could open up the channels again.

     You could just see all the boats smashed at the graveyard where they were amassed over by the Ft Pierce City Marina ( or where it had been ).  One of their floating docks floated up and off the pilings and as it washed by the other docks it took them all with it…boats and all.

     Where I had been was a wreck of some boats still floating and some down under the docks or what was left of the dock above the water where they had been tied to it.  It took the guys and a come-along three days to get the post that was across our slip up out of the way so we could tie to it again.  The people from Oklahoma were pretty grand at Lassos to get the lines across to the pilings.  There was even one boat up on the cement.  It was right up in the marina, on the cement yard where we used to cook dinners with friends.

     Many people had gone to Fema to try and recuperate some of what they lost in the storm..  We heard that a woman was there from Jamaica who had just lost all of her family in one Hurricane.  When her husband went down to see about the relatives and if they survived he was picked up in the next Hurricane and gone forever too.  There were people who had it worse than some others, but just about everyone involved, had problems with wind, water, or looters or electric.

     The State of North Carolina Electricians came down to help us get our electric back up from Frances (as Florida had gone up to help them in previous years).  It was just up and barely working, but needed so much more work to truly become stable, when the next Hurricane that year of 2004 was already on its way.

 

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