Beirut, 29 September 2019
Things look a bit calmer in the Caribbean Sea and I hope they remain this way. Antares and I have been lucky. On August 25th, one day after Dorian was born as a tropical storm east of the lesser Antilles, Marina Salinas sent a warning e-mail; check the storm and be ready to follow the evacuation protocol. On August 27th, another e-mail came this time announcing that the evacuation was imminent. Antares didn’t move, in part because by the end of a long and chaotic day the staff at the marina run out of time. Owners are supposed to handle their boats on their own; take them off their slip and anchor in the small bay (a hurricane hole) with lines securing them to the mangroves. Marina staff are there only to provide guidance and some support. But I understand that some owners were not reachable and others were simply not ready. Engines were not working, they didn’t have the right lines, or they didn’t know where to go.
My case was different because, since I live one ocean and one continent away, I had made arrangements with management to have one of the staff take care of Antares. But on August 28th management decided to cancel the evacuation and resume normal operations; the boats started to come back. Dorian had changed paths becoming a hurricane north of the Greater Antilles, rapidly intensifying and eventually making land fall in Elbow Key and devastating Abacos and Great Bahama; both places Antares visited in 2015.
We were lucky because Dorian chose a different path but I wonder what would have happened if he hadn’t. Not only because Antares was late in the evacuation process but also because, after seeing the devastation in Abacos, it seems clear to me that there is no scape from a hurricane on a direct hit.
Several other storms and hurricanes formed since Dorian and we received advisories for tropical storm Jerry (Sept 19th) and tropical storm Karen (last Sunday). Jerry became a hurricane but stayed more or less off-shore whereas Karen, which was on a direct path towards Salinas, lost strength and dissipated.
This was Antares 4th year in the Caribbean’s hurricane belt during hurricane season. Our luck will eventually run out. I hope nothing happens before the end of this season and that I am able to to sail down to Grenada before the next season begins. Unfortunately, it seems I won’t be able to go back to Salinas this year. I have teaching and work commitments that I need to keep if I want to keep sailing. Some of it involves traveling to Peru, Germany, Washington DC, and Paris (in that order). My daughter Marina is also visiting on October 19th (she will come with me to Germany and then DC). Then comes Christmas and the New Year when Natalia, the girls and I will be in Ecuador with the family (including my son who moved there over the summer). The plan therefore is to fly to Salinas directly from Quito on January 7 or so. Will see how far we go this time…
Otherwise life in Beirut is good. Between work and socia life I have managed to do a couple of long rides, one towards the north and one towards the south (see map). Next Friday is the start of the Harley Owners Group (HOG)’s Lebanon tour. I plan to do at least some of it.
Last weekend was the Beirut’s Art Fair. Natalia and I were invited to the opening. It is the second time we attend and, like last year, we found a piece we both really wanted to have. It’s a Dalio, ceramic, now in display in our living room.
Natalia is arriving later today; she was in DC last week. I have some Cava in the fridge waiting for her. I, unfortunately run out of Gin. Will have to go and buy at some point.