Sunday, August 29, 2010

a couple of hurricane notes... GIGO

So, as this morning's 8:00 AM forecast was just a "kiss" better (though the sort of chaste kiss you get from your awful aunt) we decided to take the intervening time between that forecast and the 11:00 and stock up on fuel and suchlike with plenty of time after to get to our chosen hidey hole.

Of course, the rule for getting anything done on an island the day before a hurricane is somewhat iffy and we had quite a hike to get to the gas station etc (as the one we were going to was closed (the owner no doubt nailing up those plywood sheets at home). While we waited for a pump to open, an older gent told us that the newest forecast was out and that St Croix would be receiving a direct hit with the eye passing directly over us at 3:00 PM tomorrow....

That made our run to the hole a certainty and we huffed five gallons of gas back to the boat, got out and just took a moment to re-hydrate (it is 97 degrees and not a breath of wind here), only to find that the newest forecast was far from being a direct hit and was even a bit better than the 8:00 AM forecast. Not wanting to think the gent was full of shit, we also checked NOAA and Wunderground and they also showed a better situation developing.

Now we are back at the odd quandary of running to an uncertain welcome with many bozos dumping boats on top of you and threats of violence or simple bad seamanship that would cause even a light storm to be problematic OR stay right where we are, throw down a couple more anchors and hopefully keep the yahoos away from our boat... Truth be told, I am still just a little on the edge between the two but will have to make the decision within the next hour one way or another.

But, that is not the point... The point is (about time right?) that information you receive from helpful folks whether they be Coasties/Rangers/Folks with Local Knowledge or whomever, when bad storm shit is coming at you all information except from someone like NOAA is highly suspect and in my experience 99% WRONG. My  few years in the marine trade has many examples of people coming into the store spouting stuff that was just plain wrong and then having to spend the rest of the day explaining to others the real situation by showing them the current forecasts and storm position. We even had to explain to the Coast Guard and local law enforcement that the day-old forecast they looked at was no longer accurate.

The cake was taken by the idiot guy who ran the morning NET in St Martin. For a couple of weeks he was reading the weather for Hawaii (WTF?!) and no one caught on until he came on the NET frothing at the mouth about the killer storm about to hit us and mentioned its name and all of sudden we all realized that the storm in question had the wrong name! I'd go on as well about certain weather gurus who everyone raves about and quote as gospel but after having listened to them for many years, have detected both a certain lack of accuracy more often than not, and worse, a cavalier thought process about the actual mechanics and what is possible on a sailboat as telling someone to leave port in a howling gale to catch some maybe better winds out there five days later simply shows a lack of understanding about cruising.