Sunday, August 28th – surviving Irene at Shelter Island

Good news.  We are alive and well.  Cutter Loose is still afloat on her mooring.

Irene announced her arrival at 1 AM with wind gusts whistling around the skylight in our room at the Chequit Inn.  Dering Harbor has been without power since 1:30 AM.  At dawn, there is a light rain being driven sideways by significant wind gusts.  During my walk to the yacht club, there is minor flooding, severed tree limbs and broken branches, but no uprooted trees or downed wires.  I am elated to see Cutter Loose bouncing around her mooring on the far reaches of the harbor.  The wind is out of the southeast as predicted.  The dockmaster at the yacht club estimates Irene’s maximum sustained winds at 50 knots with gusts to 60.

Accommodations at the Chequit Inn

The skeleton staff at the Chequit Inn graciously prepares an impromptu continental breakfast for its seven overnight guests.  We spend the morning swapping stories with the crew of Rula Bula, an Island Packet out of Fort Lauderdale.  They are fellow transients in the harbor.  Through these conversations, we gain useful insights about cruising in southern Florida and the Bahamas. 

At 2 PM, the rain has ended.  The wind has subsided and is now out of the southwest.  The dockmaster is in the process of reestablishing launch service.  He agrees to deliver us to Cutter Loose later in the afternoon for a damage assessment.  Our inspection reveals that everything is exactly as it was when we left the boat 24 hours ago.  There is no visible damage, no chafe on the mooring line, no excess water in the bilge, the refrigeration is operating smoothly and the house battery bank remains adequately charged.  What a welcome relief!

We are fortunate to have dodged this bullet.  With the strongest winds out of the southeast, south and southwest, Dering Harbor provided excellent protection.  We are fortunate that our dockmaster friend permitted us to remain on the yacht club’s 1,000 pound mooring.  Irene’s track turned out to be well to the west of Shelter Island which kept wind velocities at tropical storm strength rather than hurricane strength.  And we met some interesting cruising sailors who motivated us to cruise the Bahamas this winter.  For all of these things and more, we are profoundly grateful.

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