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Posts Tagged ‘hurricane’

Welcome to my new blog. I am happy that you have chosen to follow me to WordPress. It is the summer so we, here on the island are getting our lives in order before another tourist season begins again in the fall.

We are currently dealing with Hurricane season and I am going to make absolutely NO comments about it until it is over.  We are all just hoping to have a quiet summer without any “WEATHER WITH A NAME”.  That is what we call it here in the tropics of Florida.

All this hurricane learning came to me when I began playing in the Florida Keys.  I had a steady weekend night on Big Pine Key at Captain Dan’s Key Deer Bar and Grill.  I played in Key West and Stock Island and Geiger Key Marina down by there.  I had steady week night gigs in Marathon(Vaca Key) at the Overseas Lounge ( been there since the beginning of time I am sure).  The building had 16″ walls.  It used to be the train station there and it was built to last foreeeeever.

Sister Kaite's setup at Captain Dan's Key Deer Bar and Grill

Obviously it was the designated spot for all sailboat owners who live on their boats to crash on the floor there in times of hurricanes.  We came with our “stuff”.  We brought our back packs with all our necessary stuff in them and sleeping bags and pillows.  We only had water in there a couple times while I was there.  Of course because I played there weekly I got to crash in one of the bedrooms upstairs until the bartender came up at 6am to go to sleep.  Although, I was nice enough to play music for them for 16 hours, all day, to keep everybody settled and it was like one big happy family.  I also let people sit in and play all day…we had quite a good jam session going.  One of the owners slipped me some money while I was  playing.  They were very good to me in the Keys.

little palm island florida keys

View from the Stage at Little Palm Island Resort

The business right next door to the bar was called  “The Stuffed Pig”.  That is the best food you can find in Marathon at that time of the morning.  And it is  priced to sell.  Those people could not keep their door unlocked during the storm,s but they were open and would come and let you in and cook for you, and just lock the door again while you were there.  The door was a glass door and it would not stay shut unless it was locked.  They could see through it to see if there was someone standing at the door to get in so it did not matter.  It was not a big place anyway.  In fair weather it had nice little tables outside in the yard and on the patio so you could eat outside.  That place was always packed.  Everyone certainly did use it when there was a storm.

Little Palm Island stage setup

I played everywhere from Key Largo down to Key West.  From some of the bigger hotels to some of the smallest bars…I even played outside at JoJo’s for the Southernmost Chapter of the Abate Club.  It was all fun.  I played benefits for many people and holiday parties.  On St Patty’s day one year I played on 3 different keys in that one day.  I even got to take the employees ferry boat out to play on Little Munson Island at Little Palm Island Resort.  What a great island that would be to live on….if it was not there in the same weather path as the Keys.

I will tell you what.   Every storm that comes anywhere near Florida goes through the Keys at some point.  Whether or not it is before it gets big or after, or if it never turns into a big storm, they ALL go right through there.

I finally came back to my island.  Marco Island has been the best to me.  the Calusa Indians settled here because they say the storms went around it.   I like to believe that is true.

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     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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