Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Hurricane Jimena hits San Carlos HARD!

Tuesday Sept 8, 2009
Hello ALL!

We started a 6 week NW trip but...made it to Colorado when Hurricane Jimena hit San Carlos....so....

Looks like we need to cut our NW trip short after Hurricane Jimena devastated San Carlos, where our boat is. The news didn’t cover it at all…but the town is a mess! Many boats damaged, roads washed away…no water or electric for a few days. All that is starting to be repaired but it will take quite awhile. Supposedly the worst storm in 80 years! There were reported 90 mph winds and 30 inches of rain in a 24 hour period.

We were also fooled by the news reports when the hurricane itself slipped up the west coast of the Baja peninsula. The news showed some small coastal villages damaged and flooded. The weather pictures showed the hurricane heading west, so we did not worry much. Apparently, Mother Nature had her own mind and decided to send some intense tropical winds (understatement) to San Carlos and Guaymas.

We did correspond…some thru cell phones, Ham radios and cruiser networks…with several people concerning our boat. Our marina, Marina Real, west of the city center, was not hit as hard. Our boat is OK. Some of the marina’s dock’s edges were ripped off but we stayed securely fastened to our dock end, near a concrete piling. We have had neighboring boaters check out our interior. We figured there could be some water leakage due to the constant water pounding the top deck for so long. The hatches and ports can only sustain so much water! Sure enough, there was some water that soaked the salon upholstery and floors. At least, it wasn’t too muddy. We are now concerned about mold if we let it sit too long, so decided we better get there within the week. At least, most of the water is still on the outside of the boat!

Good cruiser friends (thank you Cambria and Pegasus...) have already lifted and tried to dry out some of the cushions. We left the boat ready for any storm and had things tied tight and stowed below…including the jib, all canvas, shade-cover bags and so on - anything that might blow away. Seems all our effort in mid-August paid off to the best extent we could in preparing for the worst storm in 80 years. Still, we need to make an effort to clean it up as soon as we can. And perhaps we can lend a hand to others in worse conditions. We have resources, generator, water maker, etc., that can help if still needed. Pictures of our favorite place, Santa Rosalia on the Baja show an even worse mess than San Carlos.

We have questioned whether it is best to leave a boat “on the hard,” in dry storage, or sitting in the water. Our judgement was to leave her in the water at Marina Real. This storm destroyed the downtown marina seca, a dry storage, and sent boats on trailers swimming and about 50 boats badly damaged. Some floated as far as the main street, heading to the ocean! So in this case and where we were, it was best to have her left in the water. We’ll send links to pics, perhaps can download a few from the storm.

We will make an attempt later in the fall to continue the trip north to visit everyone we promised! Have the car packed and layers of clothes ready for cooler weather - but, alas, we must head back home, change cars and cross the border once again. We hope to also take some supplies that might be needed in San Carlos and the surrounding area. Stores are open but supplies are limited. Many lost homes, a few lives lost and much work left to be done.

We have reservations to stay in friend’s casa in San Carlos. (Folkers are currently in Halifax but their San Carlos Bahia home only lost a front fence and was in many after-math pictures!) The electric is on so we’ll have an air conditioner for rest between boat chores. It will be very hot and muggy and moldy and little water for bathing. Apparently, the Mexican workers are working like crazy to get all systems, water and electric, up as fast as they can. They are doing a great job.

We are in Breckenridge, Colorado as we write - finishing up a timeshare week. We’ll cancel or Park City and north trip, heading back home Saturday after visiting cruiser and other friends in Grand Junction. We may have cruiser friends from San Carlos (we offered up our house for cruisers coming up and any going down from Colorado, etc.) already at the house as they button up their boats and head back to the states for some respite from the mess. There are many stories and horrible pictures. Perhaps, we have a better insight into Katrina damage now? At least, more respect for Mother Nature and more wary that ever of impending storms. Here is a link showing pictures of Marina Seca - the hard-hit dry storage area.

All our best and details TF...we'll get to the boat about the 17th....Linda and Bill