2015 OCT – HURRICANE PATRICIA

Hurricane Patricia - in all her black fury Copyright weather.com

Hurricane Patricia – in all her black fury
Copyright weather.com

Friday 10/23/2015

This is turning out to be some homecoming…!

I only just arrived back on Tuesday and 2 days later Hurricane Patricia is on her way. She came out of nowhere!   I check passageweather.com all the time and on Monday there was no hint that a huge storm was brewing.

Friday I was up early and removed the cockpit enclosures, cleared the decks, and tied the boat about 3 feet off the dock in the center of her slip. Hopefully she will ride out the storm safely.
Then I took me and my iPads, and iPhone, laptop and a blanket to the yacht club where I hope I will be safe.

Astonishingly as I walked down the dock I spoke to other yachties doing last minute prepping and they all said they would ride out the storm on their boats?!

Hurricane Patricia is THE STRONGEST HURRICANE EVER RECORDED. Ever!! In the entire Western Hemisphere…! and they are going to stay on their boats for the duration.

It’s not a good time at the height of a storm to realize that you made a bad decision.

FastAlley looking naked stripped of her cockpit enclosures

FastAlley looking naked stripped of some of her cockpit enclosures

ABOUT PATRICIA

Patricia rapidly organized and intensified from Wednesday night through early Friday. She climbed to a massive Cat 5 storm seemingly overnight. Maximum sustained winds rose from 115 mph to over 200 mph. At the same time her pressure decreased by 100 millibars. This places Patricia among the most rapidly intensifying hurricanes ever witnessed anywhere in the world, since the advent of modern meteorology.

The 10 strongest hurricanes in the Atlantic all pale in comparison to Patricia. It’s said that Hurricane Patricia is now the strongest hurricane in history.

In addition to its high winds, Patricia now also holds the record for the lowest pressure of any hurricane on record with a minimum central pressure of 880 millibars. Storm strength is typically based on pressure and Patricia has shattered the records of both Hurricane Wilma of 10 years ago and Hurricane Linda in 1997.

Mexico has declared a state of emergency as a potentially catastrophic landfall is expected Friday evening. The state of emergency extends to 56 municipalities expected to face Patricia’s wrath. The govt has set up 1,782 emergency shelters sufficient for 258,000 people.

Buses in Puerto Vallarta took hotel guests to safety. Patients in hospitals were moved to safer rooms and airlines have cancelled flights to the region. People are hunkering down all over Banderas Bay.

My family in California emailed me all day, worried for my safety. They also called everyone in their church and had them praying for me.

By the afternoon the press was talking of a potential 30-foot storm surge. Hurricane Katrina had a 30-foot storm surge that devastated New Orleans. The yacht club is protected by just a low seawall so I abandoned the club and walked up the hill into town looking for a hotel.

The town was deserted. Not a soul in sight. And every house boarded up. It felt like the twilight zone.

I saw a young man and approached him for help. Sam is in PV to surf and he said he would drive me to his friends guesthouse. Azure Azul is an immaculate little place run by a German woman who has transformed what was a dumpy derelict into a delightful guest house for youngsters. Whenever she needs work done – painting, tiling, maintenance, etc. – then she lets a few of the youngsters stay for free on condition they help out. From its plain exterior, it is a wonderful surprise to walk inside and see this colorful transformation.

I emailed my family and told them I was now truly safe and they could all stop worrying and go to sleep. As did I.

Patricia turned and missed us completely

Patricia turned and missed us completely

AFTER THE STORM

Saturday morning I awoke to utter calm. No movement. No wind. So cool, so very cool.  And no damage. To our great relief, Patricia passed us by completely.

Which is when I realized that I had left my passport and wallet on the boat. In my haste to evacuate I had taken my iPad and iPhone which hold my backup electronic charts, and satellite phone, but I had forgotten all else.

I couldn’t pay for the room…! I was mortified. I told Anette that I would fetch my wallet and come back and pay but she refused to charge me. I left chagrined. How do you repay a person who literally took you in during a storm?

I now face the daunting task of putting everything back on the boat where it should be.

But I’m exhausted. Far too much adrenaline has been pumping since I arrived Tuesday to find my boat dead in the water. Followed by Hurricane Patricia. I am just exhausted. I don’t want to work. I just want to sleep. I’ve had too much adrenaline the last few days. I just want to lay down and sleep the sleep of the dead.

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