Monday, September 1, 2008


Well, I was thinking about writing a post about being in Tropical Storm Hanna, but that's not what's happening. That's because we are now in Hurricane Hanna. The storm is about 90 miles north of us, and we are just starting to get exposed to the SE quadrant of the storm. It started yesterday afternoon, and has steadily built. It is looking like we will be in it for a while yet. We, like everybody else, are watching what Hurricane Gustav is doing in New Orleans. But we also have some more immediate issues ourselves to deal with.

At mid-day today there seemed to be a bit of a lull in the wind and rain, and we took the opportunity to hop in the Land Rover and scoot down to the marina to see how the boat is faring. First step, drain the water out of the Land Rover:

The sure build these things tight. I had to open the tailgate to get two inches of water out.

We took a few photos on the trip. This is looking at the normally nice, calm, clear, turquoise Caicos Bank:

I don't know if it would be trite to call this an 'angry sea'. But I think it would be accurate to say it doesn't appear to be very happy.

Of course a lot of the streets on Providenciales are quickly becoming flooded.

NO, we are not on the wrong side of the road. We drive on the left here. Or sometimes in the middle. Flexibility is critical. And photos through a wet windshield don't look all that crisp, do they.

On the way to the marina we had a brief adrenaline moment. La Gringa was driving down Leeward Highway and we were watching the road as best we could in a sudden squall, when right in front of us appeared a low-slung power line drooped across the road. Before we could do anything we were under it. It clipped the top of the windshield frame on the Land Rover. An inch higher vehicle, and we would have had a problem. Or an inch more droop in the power cable.

SO, after that woke us up, we continued to munch on the tops of our hearts while we made it at a much reduced speed down to the marina. As luck would have it, we had another momentary lull in the wind and rain and I was able to check out the boat.

Without going into details, I will just say that the boat is in a slip that is currently protected from the wind, and is doing fine. At the moment.

Dooley the dangerous (and wet) dog opted to stay in the car and watch, for some silly reason. No sense of adventure, where storms are concerned.

I did the usual boating things...checked the lines for chafing, started the engine, checked the automatic bilge pump and the battery voltage. Didn't take long. I guess there was a sudden thunderclap, because the dog decided there were better places to ride out a storm than in the open back of a ragtop Land Rover:

He always looks so serious when he's scared out of his wits.

Headed back to the house the weather started going downhill again. The third car up in front of us had water over the bottom of his doors. We were worried he would be stranded with a flooded engine at any moment:

When we finally made it back to our road, we found that the new marina was full to overflowing. The wind and storm surge had flooded it about two feet higher than we have ever seen it before. The seawater flowed up over the steel bulkhead sheeting and out across the road:

This is not going to bode well for the road here, and if it gets much worse we could be stranded out on our little hill before this is over. The commute back from the marina was 'interesting' enough as it was:

Well, the good news is that it washed the dirt off the bottom of the Land Rover. The bad news is that it did it with seawater.

We are back at the house as I write this. The winds have actually picked up, even though Hanna is slowly drawing away from us. I snapped a photo of a familiar landscape:

But the visibility is down to a thousand yards or less and it's not easy to get decent photos in the driving rain. I tried another one of the marina across the salina from us:

And you cannot really get much useful info from the photo. The big dive boats are in, and staying tied up through the storm. To us, familiar with this view, it's obvious that sealevel here is currently about four feet above normal. We are seeing wind gusts of certainly 50-60 mph, if not more. Being outside the rain hitting exposed skin feels like someone with a shotgun is shooting rocksalt at me. I was just out tying up bougainvilla plants. We have one mahogany tree already down. The garage doors are bending, and leaking water. I had planned to replace one of them, and now I realize that I will probably want to replace them all with something more suitable. We have a lot invested in those three doors, and the electric overhead openers. And it all was wasted. It will all be ripped out when we can fit it in. No more overhead garage doors for me.

We are currently inside, finding where the leaks are in our new roof. And there are several. We are watching the weather, especially the next two storms already on their way toward us. And we are hoping we don't lose power and internet. We have learned there are a few things we need to attend to before the next hurricane.

I just looked at the marina again, and noticed the large landing craft that has been sitting with its bow on the shore for the past two years has floated off and appears to be loose in the wind, swinging on the one cable still holding.

Hey, this tropical lifestyle stuff is a hoot, ain't it?


Anonymous said...

Hope you make it through the rest of the season OK - these are fascinating photos

Anonymous said...

Hang in there Gringo and La Gringa. We just went through Fay here in South Georgia and just now got the downed trees cleaned up...

You guys keep Hanna out there in the sea....

Captain Dubble

Anonymous said...

We watched Fay develop just south of us and move on, then Gustav.

It's six pm as I am writing this. Hanna is now a Cat 1 hurricane, with 80 mph winds. It turned South SouthWest and the center is now only forty miles northwest of us. It is moving so that we are into the worst quadrants for wind.Its forecast to get even closer before moving away tomorrow. It also is forecast to strengthen.

This is not good.

I would take some more photos, but do not have enough daylight. Its gray, low overcast, clouds ripping by at, well, eighty miles per hour. Just a couple hundred feet overhead. The rain stings. Things are making noises. It's actually getting a little bit on the nervous side. Enough already.

some of the outside light fixtures have been ripped off the house and blown somewhere out into the bush.

The garage doors are getting bent, and I worry about metal fatigue with the constant vibration.

Some shakedown cruise, huh?

Tune in tomorrow.....we hope.

Anonymous said...

Godspeed sunshine and calm winds to you. Hang in there!

Anonymous said...

Keep your chins up! This is just turning out to be a horrible season. Thanks for the photo's.

Anonymous said...

Us Kiwis have our fingers crossed for you Team Gringo. If it's not too much trouble, can you email me and let me know you're OK when things have subsided. It would be appreciated and I can post the good news on the website. - cheers

Anonymous said...

Looks like you guys are getting pounded pretty good this morning (Tuesday). I will start taking up donations here for Dooley's therapy sessions......

Captain Dubble

Anonymous said...

It may just be an illusion but in the picture where the rover is crossing towards the camera, it almost looks as if the vehicle is "backing" away. Was curious if that was a good technique that had escaped me. After getting 22" in Tallahassee from FAY, those sort of techniques become important you know. Hope the storms don't do anything to you except create photo op's and strengthen Dooly's resolve to be ever watchful.

heinz said...

Gringo, I hope everything is okay. I think from the details on the construction, the placement on the hill you should be fine (I hope so anyway).

Anonymous said...

I hope you are coming through this well. I think we will see Hanna her before the end of the week. Those are some good photos. What would you change the garage doors to?


Anthony said...

Any more updates? How bad did it get? I am assuming you probably have lost your internet connection :(
Hope you made it through okay - it seems Hanna won't go away. We posted your blog on our site:

Anonymous said...

Tuned in today, and guaranteed we'll be tuned in tomorrow.

Here's hoping Dooley the Demented didn't get so nervous he tore the house down!


La Gringa said...

Just a quick note to let you all know we are ok. Hanna hit us again pretty hard and apparently has not had enough and will hit us again this evening.

We've lost our Cay Lime - the photo of Gringo checking up on her is probably the last you will see. Those docks you see in the photo completely let go and at least a dozen nice boats were lost. More details on the next post.

Not too sure when we'll be able to touch base again. Hanna is on her way back and we're looking down the line at Ike which all by all predictions will cruise right over us.

We are currently on borrowed eletricity just to let everyone know we are ok and recharge some things. Then we'll be headed back out to our place.

thanks for the prayers and comments!!

Anonymous said...

Wow, now it looks like on Sunday, yo guys will have a cat 4 storm on your doorstep. I guess this one was just a trial run. I hope all is well. Looks loke Dooley will have to have a padded room after this is over.....

Captain Dubble

Anonymous said...

I am new to your web page, I really enjoy reading your island living adventures. Not so much this one though. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. Wishing you the best in the days ahead.

jg3 said...

Wow, I've been reading up on damage from Hanna... looks pretty bad in some places. Hope you can pop out and give us an update before Ike comes to town. We're feeling the remnants of Gustav here in central Illinois today, but fortunately it's just lots of rain rather than wind also. Hang in there!

Anonymous said...

Hey guys,

I am sorry to hear about the mess you are all going through (Dooley included). I can't believe Cay Lime has been lost. You are most important though..stay safe and please update us when you have the chance to. We are all worried about you.


jschieff said...

Especially tough to be caught in a hurricane on an island because there's no place to go if things get real bad. At least you know that you designed your house to withstand hurricane force winds, even if you get a few leaks and the garage doors prove to be susceptible.

Good luck! I hope you get power back reasonably quickly and there is a minimum of damage.

Matt Cook said...

Thinking about y'all down there! Sorry to hear about the Panga! Best of luck to y'all. Prayers to TCI.

Anonymous said...

I've been thinking of you guys often over the past few days, especially about the post where Gringo talks about how you guys are probably "due" for another bad hurricane(I think he said the last really bad one was Donna in the 60s?), and you guys built your house accordingly. I hope it protects you well, and doesn't sustain serious damage. We're praying for all of you islanders. The TripAdvisor TCI forum is buzzing with updates and concern.
Hoping the very best for you...
(and so glad your boys aren't on island)

Anonymous said...

We've decided to stay in a borrowed vacation home for Ike instead of out at our house. We know the house won't blow down, or flood, but we just spent almost four days stranded there unable to leave, with no way to recharge the cell phones, no electricity, tv, internet, running water, refrigeration, showers, you know...all that stuff you take for granted until you are stuck without it.

We were going to stay at the house until the last of our neighbors who would be stranded on the hill (which becomes an island we have found) decided to move inland. We did not want to be out there alone, out of touch, and unable to get to the rest of the island. No medical, groceries, etc. And Ike may knock this country offline entirely. It's not a fun week.

And rumors that I have been put on a suicide watch over the boat are an exaggeration. I was just looking for some sackcloth to go with the ashes.

We don't have any good sunny tropical photos this week, but I could put up some 'boat disaster' photos if anyone is interested.

Anonymous said...

Stay safe. Hope you can catch a breath and a break before Ike heads in your direction. Sorry to hear about the boat.

Matt Cook said...

if it's too painful, don't post the pictures... but, of course we'd like to hear/see about the boat.

For so many months we had "tropical paradise" tales from your TCI, now we get the other end of the spectrum from you. "Trying To Reason With Hurricane Season..." -as they say.

Sorry to hear of your losses and best of luck and prayers to you in the TCI.

Anonymous said...

We are all interested in any photos you want to post! It was good to see an update from you today. Glad ya'll are moving to safer..higher..ground. I am sure the house will be fine but it would be NO FUN being stuck out there. Take care and I look forward to your pics.