Tuesday, November 23, 2010

How did I Forget about IKE?

This pic of Wand'rin Star at South Shore Harbor was taken by Jim Clower just a few days after IKE, The Marina had just very light damage due to winds. Jim also took all the pics below of the damage Ike caused. You can click on the Link conected to the title of this post and see lots of IKE photos on the Boat US Insurance site.

Wandrin Star arriving at South Texas Yacht Services just a three weeks before IKE

The re-commission begins plus about $10K in repair & upgrades.

IKE eye right over Galveston Bay and the left edge right over Wand'rin Star.

The track of Ike, You can see it was headed for Corpus Christi and just a little over a day out it jogs towards Galveston.

The resulting track of IKE.

Apotheker is ok, just a few gel goat scratches on the topsides near the bow where debris must have scrapped by.

Walter adjusting the fenders on Apotheker after IKE, You can see the debris all around.

The water in the marina was completly covered with debris from the broken docks and boats.

This one is tossed like a toy on ashore.

This scene was all around Apotheker.

The bow of Apotheker among the destruction.

This was just down from Apotheker.

Destruction everywhere.

My intent when I started this blog was to keep the post Chronological, but somehow I overlooked an important part of the chain of experiences. Hurricane Ike. We remember a slip neighbor at the marina in Paulsbo warning us not to take Wand'rin Star back to the Hurricane waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Even though we knew there was wisdom in his warning, there was just no way we could have afforded to leave the boat in the Pacific Northwest and commute from Texas. We purchased the boat June 20, 2008 and had her trucked to Texas August 23rd. After getting her re-commissioned and fixed up at the South Texas Boat Yard we got a slip at South Shore Harbor on Clear Lake. The lake opened up to Galveston Bay by way of a small channel. The Kemah boardwalk is built along this channel and provides great viewing for the constant parade of the 3rd largest fleet of recreational vessels in the US. South Shore Harbor is one of the marinas that is farthest from the channel to the bay, many prefer closer marinas so they can have faster access to the Bay and avoid the 30 minute motoring trip just to get out and raise the sails. South Shore Harbor is surrounded by 3-4 story buildings on all sides, a Resort hotel, office buildings, apartments and condominiums. It is also known as the best Hurricane Hole in the Galveston Bay area. The Moody's are a well known Galveston family who own lots of properties and interest in the Galveston area, they own South Shore Harbor Marina and when the weather turns bad this is where they moore their 80' Hatteras. Being the peak of Hurricane season and already Fay, Gustav and Hanna had paid a visit to the Gulf, we had no problem of choosing the safest marina and just enjoy the 30 minute ride out to the bay.

We were in Austin closely watching the weather channel and the NOAA hurricane center, IKE was projected to hit Corpus Christi, I planned to head to Corpus and board up our Port Aransas condo and then drive to Kemah and secure the boat by adding additional dock lines. The boat had been there for such a short time we had not even put on any of the canvas or sails and the dingy was still secured to the foredeck. The drive back to Austin was strange as I fell in line with the thousands who were headed north away from the coastal areas. Some in the Galveston area were not taking the storm as serious as they should have since the day before land fall the storm took a jog to the north towards Galveston and away from Corpus. Ike would come ashore in Gaveston on September 9th, just a little over a week after we had her moved into South Shore Harbor. We stayed up watching the weather channel and realized the eye of the Hurricane would pass directly over Kemah, we knew the condo would be ok since it was on the dry side of the storm but when we saw the reporter who was standing outside the Hilton Hotel directly across Clear Lake where Wand'rin Star was moored being blown off his feet into the bushes, we knew it was bad there.

I jumped into the car after Ike passed and drove through a very weird scene to get down to Kemah to check on the boat, The surge was 20 feet, fortunately the concrete pilings in the marina were 24 feet and the docks held, the protected Marina survived, in fact the Electricity was only out 1 day there and was already restored even though most of the area was still without. It was amazing as there was almost no damage to any of the hundreds of boats in this marina. A lot of boats had left on all there sails, and the power boats had all there full enclosures around the cockpit on and intact. It was those who just left up a dodger or small bits of canvass were blown off. The only damage to Wand'rin Star was a halyard that I overlooked when I was preparing the boat and it obviously had it's life beaten out as it was pretty frayed where it beat against the mast. After going through everything on the boat to make sure all was ok I jumped in the car and headed over to my friend Jim Clower's boat to check on it. As I stated in the previous blog there was destruction everywhere around his boat but Apotheker appeared untouched. Jim had even left his sails on and they were ok. I gave a quick call to Jim to let him know apotheker had Survived. A few short weeks later when he sailed in the Harvest Moon Regatta to get his boat to Corpus, he would find some hardware failures in the rigging along the way but nothing that could not be easily delt with during the race and fixed in Corpus.

An experience like this is valuable if you live along the Gulf Coast. You learn everything about preparing a boat for a storm. You also learn to get your body out of the way, be sure to have adequate insurance and just hope for the best. If the worst happens, collect the insurance settlement and go on about life. This is what Thousands did who were hit hard in this storm. The incredible thing about Texans is that they did not wait for help to arrive, the very next day the Home Depot was open and the parking lot full as the natives got to the business of restoring their world and in very short order the community was back to normal as if the storm had never hit. The one thing different was that the community rebuilt even stronger to prepare for the next one. Texans are resilient and the rugged individualism was in full force.

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