We’re happy to announce that Britican survived Hurricane Irma. Irma was a tropical storm by the time it hit Charleston so we got lucky. Very lucky. So, this hurricane Irma update is a positive one. (Note that there is a video update at the bottom of this post).
Unfortunately, so many other boaters, boats and people did not have such a positive outcome. Simon, Sienna and I are still working on how we can best help those in need, aside from giving money to various charities… We’ll soon be sailing to the Caribbean and I wonder if there will be some volunteer opportunities for us to get involved in?
It’s difficult to worry about your own situation and then see other people’s situations go from bad to worse. And all the while being confined to a house waiting and watching news updates. My father and step-mother were stuck in area where the eye went right over the top of them. It was so painful to hear their fear and not be able to do anything to help them. I’m happy to report that they’re both okay and their home suffered minimal damage.
Hopeless and helpless is how we felt.
Let me get on with my update…In the past 24 hours we’ve had hundreds of emails, FB and YouTube comments asking how Britican got on. To our horror, we learned that she dragged about 150 yards from the middle of the river to the edge of the reeds. We believe that the keel may have been stuck and Britican was leaning into the river bank.
Our information came via our friends, Ron and Mercedes, on sailing vessel Samana. Ron and Mercedes anchored next to us. After the storm passed the couple arrived at the anchoring site hours before us. When Ron called, he said something to the effect of, ‘Things are looking good. Your boat is floating but…’
I hung on tender hooks wondering what was coming next. Ron is one of the calmest guys I know. He could get blown over and he’d just stand back up, dust himself off and say quietly, ‘wow – it’s breezy out.’ Last year during Hurricane Matthew, Ron kept so calm and so peaceful… This year was the same. The guy is my peace guru.
Anyway, Ron went on to explain that Britican dragged anchor, she was against the reeds along the side of the Cooper River and looked like she was staying put. We were still at least four hours away by car. Can you imagine knowing that your boat has dragged, the tide is rising and you don’t know if the anchor has reset or not?!
Simon and I felt ill beyond belief. Ron said he’d check things out and get back to us.
Ron had to use a canoe to get to his boat to be able to collect his dinghy. It wasn’t a quick and easy trip as he had to work against the tide and the boats were quite a way out!
We patiently navigated the insane I95, the main road that connects the east coast going north and south. At one point we had a few lunatic drivers near us – all tailgating going 80 miles per hour. The traffic was start – stop…and when the flow started going fast, people went full out.
Simon got out of the way of the crazy drivers and can you believe the four main drivers that were tailgating all crashed right next to us! One of the cars seemed to blow out sideways as it was crushed from the front and back with a part of the wing mirror hitting us. No one was hurt – it was simply a fender bender that happened due to lack of space between cars. Simon and I counted our blessings because we could have so easily been caught in the crash.
After the accident we tried to find alternative routes.
Our friend, Becky, who was with us on our Sailing to Bermuda voyage called up with a variety of alternative routes to take. By the time we got into South Carolina we quickly got off the I95 and enjoyed the backroads of the Lowcountry.
Another call from Ron came through. He said, ‘I’m on the boat…I think we can get her out of the mud/reeds. Walk me through turning the engine and windless on.’ (A windless is the device that pulls up the anchor – it’s a winch).
Simon and I then had to give very precise instructions on how to prepare the boat to run. During our Hurricane Irma boat preparations we sealed off the engine exhaust, closed stopcocks, turned off batteries, taped down instruments, etc.
One thing led to another and Ron, Mercedes and a guy named Mike from a Catamaran anchored nearby, got Britican out of the mud and anchored back in the river.
And then…Mercedes bailed out our dinghy
Then the lovely couple took it to land so we’d have a way to get to our boat.
If there’s some sort of award for best sailing community members they need to win the award. And their help didn’t stop there either. They kept in touch with us as we motored down the Cooper River. Ron and Mercedes rode the high tide down the river an hour earlier than us.
When we arrived at the marina, they helped take our lines and ensure we got in safe and sound.
Mercedes & Ron – We thank you with all our hearts!
I also want to say thank you to my brother and sister-in-law for putting us up for a week, my mom and step-dad for being there for support…AND Tim Ishii & Mrs Clark for helping to find a place for us to stay (if needed). Also, thank you to Becky for offering to take Sienna and provide driving instructions. Captain Matt for offering to bring up a trawler to get us unstuck and the 100’s of emails, facebook, YouTube and twitter comments, offers for help, prayers and well wishes. Thank you!
Hurricane Irma Update #2 Video
We’ll create a proper video update for next week. We just wanted to make sure that everyone following our story knew the outcome. If you have any questions that you’d like us to address, please leave them in the comments section below.