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Date: 15 September 2023. Waters of Idalia.


Note for friends: My phone screen had an unfortunate meeting with a cement sidewalk. I am hoping to get a new one soon. I do have the phone utilized to power my hotspot. It has poor sound so hearing it is problematic. Texting works best. Please TEMPORARILY swap out the last four numbers for 1350. Thanks! And yes, I miss you already.

At the end of August Hurricane Idalia was heading north off the west coast of Florida. I was once again in a Mandatory Evacuation Zone. That means that the dock I am at is on a beach side versus the mainland. The storm was tracking northward and fortunately for me, she was offshore. Of course locals were all closely monitoring the storm.


From the WUSF (Tampa NPR) website:


Those of us who have been around for years know that watching the weather means far more than relying on television meteorologists when a storm is due any place within their listening audience. 

My friend Tom in Apalachicola advocates watching live cams of the areas actually in the impact area. Those cameras tell a lot more than a newsman standing where the wind is blowing hardest, as the long as the power is on. Additionally I continue to to follow both Mike's Weather Page (http://spaghettimodels.com) and Wunderground (http://wunderground.com).

This graphic from Wunderground showed the edge of the storm offshore where Seaweed and I are:

The east winds were blowing the water out of Tampa Bay on the two days before Idalia was due to make landfall. Thus  tides were lower than normal. To compound that piece of good news, low tide was due at 3 a.m. which is just one hour after Idalia was closest to Seaweed. This is about as good of news as one can get on the peninsula.

Seaweed and I are in one of the canals such as those shown below.

These BARRIER ISLANDS are shown on this chart of the west coast of Florida. The Gulf of Mexico is at the bottom of the chart.

*Barrier islands were (pulling up my old-lady bloomers) the moving bits of sand off the mainland which protected the interior. This peninsula originally helped buffer the inhabited inland areas when hurricanes arrived. The barrier islands were never intended to be for permanent residences. Then, well, folks found them, liked the views, oceanfront living, and life at the seashore. Builders were quick to fill those with seaside living wishes. Thus the beachfront communities were constructed.

But I digress...
Hurricane Idalia was due to pass offshore here at approximately 0200, two hours after midnight. In addition the tide was predicted to be lowest at 3 a.m. There was one complication however: wind. Wind driven water was predicted. This surge of above normal high tide levels was forecast by the the news.

WUSF was showing tides 3 to 5 feet above normal.

*We have a kind neighbor named Anisha. You met her in the
Before Hurricane Ian Arrived (part 1) article. She offered for me to come up to her apartment for the storm.

*I still say "we" because my Skipper resides in my heart. My adorable girl was an extraordinary first mate. She is dearly missed. I am actively looking for a small (under 5 pound) fluffy girl, between the ages of 2 and 5 years old. Fluffy means with soft hair such as a Miniature Maltese, Yorkie, Papillon or a long-haired Chihuahua. Five pounds maximum because I want to tuck her into my purse for outings. Plus little girl dogs are the best! I want a girl to love and pamper.

The tribute article for my Skipper is here: Brokenhearted on 27 February 2023

As Hurricane Idalia passed by I came outside to check on the boats. Water was above the dock:

Though the power cords were raised, due to the water level surpassing the seawall they were in the water. The owner did shut down power to the dock at the breaker post in the backyard. There was approximately 2" of water that reached a few feet into the grass.


Water over the docks was prevalent here in the St. Petersburg area.



After the storm passed through the tide fell so the docks were once again visible.


Prior to the arrival of Hurricane Idalia those with smaller boats on this canal raised them. Most of the boats were approximately 3' higher on their lifts than normal. Many of the owners added lines from the small crafts to the dock so the boats were secured by more than just the lift.

If you look to the bow of Lefty, a Gulfstar36 you can see a nifty center console runabout in its boatlift.

You might also note one of the smaller fenders had floated up onto the dock during the height of the waters.

There was damage here due to Hurricane Idalia. One cleat pulled out:

The lag bolts that were securing the cleat came loose. This was due to a
midship line being too short when the boat floated higher during the storm surge.

Tying a boat in preparation for a storm is a balancing act. Taking into account the predicted wind direction from the west, lines were tightened on the upwind side. Additionally due to the nearness of the seawall the boat was moved forward approximately three feet.

The houses never lost power. Seaweed relied on her solar panels. When I first checked the power situation
aboard Seaweed the voltage meter read 13.1 amps. At the end of the day when shore power was turned back on it read 13.5.

I am pleased to report that just solar can power my life either at anchor or at a dock.

Unfortunately with even with both my 460 watt solar array and Air Breeze Wind Generator I cannot utilize my air conditioner nor electric heaters when off grid. To solve a part of that I purchased a
5kw Diesel Heater like those the van dwellers and truckers use. I look forward to testing that over the coming months, after installation that is!

In the meantime it was good to be back where I belong. One of the first visitors was my Buddy:


Looking out back I noticed DAMAGE on the boat I am rafted to:

My motor mount rubbed on the vessel next to me. I will have that buffed out shortly.

Seaweed has an outboard motor mount attached to the starboard side of my transom. I want redundancy with my propulsion system. Yes, Seaweed's Kubota diesel runs fine. Another Schucker just like mine had a 5 horsepower outboard on the transom. From my research it would take 8hp to push Seaweed at hull speed. Theoretically a white 9.9hp Suzuki long-shaft would be perfect. Maybe someday...

This "have an outboard on the transom" idea was cemented when I visited with Ted and Sarah. You met them in the Manatee Moves article. Since then I have seen a lot of larger boats switching to outboards versus inboard engines. That fascinates me.

This is Ted and Sarah's boat Manatee:

Tides were high during and after the storm. You can see three weed lines in the next picture.

Each high tide was progressively lower than the previous one.

Surprisingly for me, there was little debris in the water. We were fortunate.

 My boat shoes were however thoroughly soaked in salt water. In the afternoon I tossed them in the washing machine then hung the shoes to dry.

My leather boat shoes have taken many trips through washing machines. I have done this for decades.

A few days later our diver Craig discovered one more bit of damage. The outbound port side swim platform bracket of the boat next to me had the upper screws pulled loose during the storm.

I believe this damage was due to the boats being shoved back toward the mangroves. One of those branches caught the support bracket.

This BRACKET had the top screws pull free during the storm. Craig (our diver) tied it up until brace can be repaired on his next visit.

Side Note: Craig is MOST EXCELLENT. He does a great job on my boat and several others on this canal. I recommend him to friends. Craig's phone number is 727-394-9043.

A couple days after the storm I was looking into the mangroves. Yes, that is a normal activity as I enjoy watching the wild things that live so close to me. While chatting with Baby I discovered an air plant on a twig stuck in the mangrove branches. This is the first air plant found in the wild in ages so I was thrilled.

I shared my joy with Baby. She named him. This is Igor:


And that ladies and gentlemen is my life... Igor lives in the cockpit. I watered him today.

In the meantime I wanted to post this quick update re Hurricane Idalia. I do hope that those effected by the store recover quickly. Next I will finish up the 50 amp power series. Thank you for reading.

Addendum: Today's *Aphorism I can't say it too often: Being on a boat, being on the water, brings a smile to my face, and joy to my heart. was written by Cap'n Sid Tracy. He was an incredible gentleman. Cap'n Sid penned an article for us which if you have any interest in dogs you too may enjoy. His story is here: Running the Hounds. What a gent!

*An aphorism is at the end of each article. They are saved to the Aphorisms page.

Were you in the path of Hurricane Idalia?
And, what was your experience?

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Categories:  Boat Talk, Boats, Books (in the comments), Characters, Gear, Locations, Pets, Wild Things,

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A favorite aphorism:  I can't say it too often: Being on a boat, being on the water, brings a smile to my face, and joy to my heart. Sid aka sunseeker1.

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