Many friends and family members expressed their concern for our safety during Irene’s early development and deadly path up the East Coast. We were comfortably tied up at a marina in Grenada, hundreds of miles south of Irene’s initial trip through the Turks and Caicos and the Bahamas before she headed north.
Grenada is, in fact, a very popular place for cruisers to gather during hurricane season. Its location at 12 degrees north of the equator means that stormy weather often skirts the island. Many insurance companies actually insist that their clients remain here or head even further south to Tobago or Trinidad.
Grenada last was struck by a hurricane in 2004 when Ivan came ashore. Our friend Martin who works on boats at the marina explained that his house simply slid down the mountain. He lost everything: his clothes, his furniture, his mementoes. Remnants of Ivan still survive–abandoned houses, a toppled church and empty commercial buildings.
Cruisers are avid weather watchers, although now and then you run across someone who doesn’t use common sense:
Our favorite weather sites include the following:
In addition, Mike and I subscribe to Chris Parker’s weather service. This guru, based in Lakeland, FL, and aboard his sailboat Bel Ami, delivers reports to us via email.
We collect a lot of anecdotal advice from other cruisers who have either heard a more recent report than we have or download their own GRIB files to develop weather intelligence, a resource that’s too complex to discuss here.
The Coconut Telegraph operates seven days a week and meets daily in the form of broadcasts via SSBs, side-band radios. Sailors aboard all types of vessels call in to report their location and assure themselves about the welfare of friends and acquaintances. Its geographic reach extends throughout the Bahamas and the Caribbean depending on the strength of one’s signal.
In addition, the Coconut Telegraph posts news on Facebook. Currently, the nuts are watching tropical storm Katia with a great deal of interest.
We appreciate everyone’s concerns for our safety. We’ll continue to wait out hurricane season in Grenada, the Spice Island, a place of friendly people and natural beauty.