Saturday, August 27th – waiting for Irene in Dering Harbor

Hurricane warning flags flying at Shelter Island Yacht Club

With the bulk of the preparation behind us, today we wait for the arrival of Irene.  The sky is overcast, the humidity is near 100% and the water in Dering Harbor is flat…the perverbial calm before the storm.  The diesel generator is charging the house battery bank so that there is adequate capacity to power the refrigeration during our absence.  We pack an overnight bag in anticipation of our move ashore.  Included in our duffel bags are valuables…phones, computers, EPIRB, checkbooks, insurance information.  We review our hurricane checklist for shutting down the boat.  Everything is in order.  This feels so final.

The yacht club launch maneuvers along our starboard side.  We board the launch with our meager belongings in tow.  Our eyes gaze upon Cutter Loose as the launch speeds away towards the dock.  We are abandoning ship…a difficult but necessary precaution.

Abandoning ship via yacht club launch

Minutes later we are checked in at the Chequit Inn in the village of Dering Harbor.  It is an 1872 hotel, but well-maintained and clean.  We are issued candles at the desk.  How romantic!  But the front desk clerk quickly informs us that a power outage is likely.  After 86 days of living aboard, it feels wonderfully strange to be in a hotel room with a king bed and a large walk-in shower. 

We decide to take a stroll through town before conditions deteriorate.  The windows of the shops are boarded and taped.  Many of the businesses have posted “closed” signs on the door.  There is an evacuation order in effect for Long Island.  While we are certainly not the only folks in the village, there is very little activity on the streets.  There is a distinct eerie feel to this normally vibrant village.

We enjoy a hearty meal tonight at Sweet Tomato, an establishment that we became acquainted with during our visit to Shelter Island in June.  It seems altogether fitting and appropriate that we should dine in style on the eve of Irene. 

Light rain is falling as we return to our room at the Chequit.  It appears that the period of peak winds from Irene will occur between 7 AM and 3 PM on Sunday.  We are hopeful that Irene will continue to weaken and track further to the west.  We will not rest comfortably until we return to the harbor in the morning and see Cutter Loose afloat on her mooring.

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