It happens almost yearly, sometimes a few times a year. The “news” folks start hyping storms out in the Atlantic and then predicting where they may make land fall with these maps with arrows and big shaded areas. Then they start throwing out actual wind speeds, potential wind speeds and then mention the details of all the categories of hurricanes. If you live on the east end, eventually all this will get your attention.
This last week the storm “Henri,” had me scrambling out to my sailboat docked in Three Mile Harbor in East Hampton trying knots all around it, duct taping the hatches, and securing the motor. Until last week whenever anyone mentioned the word “Henri,” my first thought was of the restaurant in Kennebunk, Maine just outside the village that had these amazing Twin-Lobster meal specials that included their great salad bar. All that has changed now.
For me there are 5 stages of Hurricane madness. First there is denial, that no way it’s coming anywhere near here. The second stage is I start monitoring the reports and looking at the maps. The third stage is the preparation for the worst, the buying of water, and food supplies, bringing in the lawn furniture to the shed, securing the boat, and intense worrying.
The fourth stage is enduring the actual storm. Hearing that high pitched wind sounds for a few hours, while feeling the bands of intense rain banging on the roof. Always wondering if any of the tree’s near the house will fall on the house and will we lose electricity, or worse these days, the internet!
The fifth stage can vary, it’s either relieve the storm was not that bad, or it could be like the time my brother had a huge oak tree practically split his house in two. Then we all remember photos of Long Beach, Long Island with water up to the second floor of the homes near the ocean during and after hurricane Sandy.
For us on the east end the results of “Henri,” was jubilation as it went wide right causing almost no damage at all to beaches, homes, and roads.
Once on August 14, 2004 I actually thought it best to ride out Tropical Storm Bonnie inside my then sailboat, a 23’ Oday! It seemed like a good plan at the time. At 4 a.m. it was bizarre as water from the intense rainfall came into the very secure never leaking cabin almost like the Trevi Fountain in Rome. Then the boat began to shake like a washing machine in the spin cycle, it was then I tried to stand up and get off as I was lying in a bed listening to the marine weather station on the boats radio. I could not get up and stand, the boat was shaking, rocking that severely. The sound of the rain ponding the boat, and the most severe wind howling through the boatyard had me terrified. Thankfully in about an hour or so things settled down and I disembarked the boat and went to the latrine and then had a real stiff drink. Bonnie was only a Tropical Storm but I learned never to even dream of riding out a hurricane on my sailboat ever again.
Henri was a miss. Henri did not even topple my wife’s pride and joy her 10 foot tall sunflowers. We are most happy about that. My boat made it through dry inside. In fact on Tuesday I was out swimming and sailing in Gardiner’s Bay watching a most beautiful Sunset in a cloudless sky with a perfect 7 mph breeze.