By now, most of you have heard about Hurricane Matthew that is making its way toward the East coast of Florida. Matthew is looking to be one of the biggest hurricanes to come through since 2006 and is currently a Category 3 hurricane in the Bahamas. It is forecasted to be a Category 4 hurricane with 130 mph winds by the time it reaches the East coast of Florida. With the uncertainty of the path and the expected winds, we’ve taken notice.
Over the last 4.5 years, we’ve had our fair share of tropical storms and hurricane preparations while living aboard. Fortunately for us, the storms and hurricanes turned out to not be that serious or require us to leave the boat. The first 6 months after we purchased Blue Turtle, when we lived at Cape Coral Yacht Club, we had some great preliminary training for preparing for hurricanes. The couple of storms we had didn’t have sustained winds like Matthew and by the time it was near us, it had already shifted away, but it did give us great practice tying everything down, doubling the lines and collapsing the bimini.
Since moving to Snook Bight Marina on Fort Myers Beach, we’ve opted into their “hurricane plan”. We pay a yearly fee to be on the “list” of boats to get pulled out and put into the boat storage barn if a hurricane comes our way. With the unpredictability of Hurricane Matthew, our marina manager suggested pulling the boats out to be safe. This is the first time we’ve had Blue Turtle pulled out of the water for a storm/hurricane and right now, with the latest forecast shifting the cone slightly to the West, I’m happy with this decision. Our bridge bimini and isinglas has taken a beating this year just from storm winds of 25-35 mph winds, it doesn’t take much more than that to cause major damage.
Today, Randy and I packed up a few things and prepped Blue Turtle for being lifted out of the water. We plan to stay at my parent’s house in Fort Myers and packed some clothes and the dog. The boat will be without electricity while stored in the barn which meant we had to unload the contents of our refrigerator and freezer into a cooler and shut off the batteries and water pump. Lifting our home out of the water with a fork lift proved to be a little nerve racking, but Snook Bight did an excellent job pulling her out and storing her on the floor of the barn. We are now resting easy knowing Blue Turtle is safe from storm damage and we’ll be back in the water as soon as it passes through.