Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Fickle, Felicitous, Felicia

A L O H A !

Waikiki is STILL here ;-)

click on photos to visit

Due to Hurricane Felicia's approach, changeable weather

characterized Monday. Sun, clouds, some rain,

and the smell of WET skies accompanied

'ear popping' falling atmospheric pressure.

“I have left orders to be awakened at any time in case of national emergency, even if I'm in a cabinet meeting.”
Ronald Reagan

I paddled my kayak out before dusk, stopping at the Hawaii Yacht Club ramp & hose

to scrape the feisty accumulata off of my hull.

It was like climbing through the garbage outside the world's

worst sea food restaurant.

“Be Prepared... the meaning of the motto is that a scout must prepare himself by previous thinking out and practicing how to act on any accident or emergency so that he is never taken by surprise.”
Sir Robert Baden-Powell

Visitors and locals alike took advantage of beach time before Felicia (a Hurricane, then tropical storm, soon a tropical depression) comes any closer. See the guy's shoulder tattoo?

I paddled home, pulled my kayak out of the water, and fastened it well on the dock beside my boat. Loose objects have been made fast as well, and every concievable nook or gap on the deck of my boat has been attended to. Tropic storm rains, like the sea, will find ANY means of entering when they blow sideways with the force of a fire-hose.

“It takes a real storm in the average person's life to make him realize how much worrying he has done over the squalls.”
Bruce Barton

After Hurricane Iniki, Hawaii takes approaching hurricanes with admirable preparation. Civil Defense gears up from their protected warren inside Diamond Head, the Red Cross prepares to open shelters, and island residents gas up their vehicles and go to City Mill to buy water, tarps, tape, batteries & etc. et al......

The Hurricane hunters fly out here from Mississippi, temporarily base themselves at Hickam, and commence daily flights through the storm - hurricane wall and all. Drop sonds are dropped into the winds to gather data.

Imagine the days before forecasting, when massive storms just 'showed up' without warning!

Felicia was a big, scary storm aimed directly at us. Her projected path kept changing, each new path more threatening than the last.

Downgraded to a tropical storm, the storm will affect Maui today, and us here on Oahu later this afternoon and over night. Winds of 45 mph are not insignificant (especially for live-aboards) and flood watch is in effect as equipment and sand bags are pre-positioned. Clogged drains have been opened, and stream mouths have all been bulldozed of debris.

Well we islanders know the effects of torrential rain. Many of us live near steep mountains, and gentle streams can become raging white-water without notice. High waves may over-lap the coastal highway in rural districts - cutting off residents from the outside world.

Power can go out here. (Sorry HECO). With no nearby States to share power, an earthquake, or other phenomena, can begin a sequence of events that trips off one power plant after another, even shutting down the whole island. Then the power can remain off over night as they bring it back on line. This doesn't happen with much regularity - but it does occur.

Darkened stores allow in one customer at a time and accompany them with flash lights (torches, to our Brit friends ;-) as people seek food, booze, and treats.

Waikiki Hotels give out bottled water to their guests, and our visitors stroll darkened Kalakaua Avenue buzzing with the excitement of "something different."

I wonder why the nuclear submarines (and sometimes aircraft carriers) at Pearl Harbor don't 'plug into' our grid and supply emergency power?

None of the preparations are in vain.

Hurricane season runs till November first.

It feels good to be ship-shape and ready.

Out here, help can be days away!

We expect dramatic wind, rain, and high surf later today, and while I enjoy the frisson of the emergency, I am not disappointed to miss a major hurricane.

The islands are holding their breath. Appointments are re-scheduled as folks "shelter in place."


With the recent Typhoons and Earthquakes in Asia, I'm counting my blessings. Though there are El Nino conditions in the Pacific (warmer water = stronger storms) and new storms are forming off of Mexico, each contending to be the next hurricane and take off west-ward, it is my policy to postpone worry about those until they approach our waters in perhaps a week or so. There is lots of water, time, distance, and variables before then.

Today I'll remain "vigilant" which means snacks and visiting YOUR blogs. Quite a lovely snow day, really.

Thanks for your good wishes! They doubtless helped to tame Felicia. NewsFlash: she is now a tropical depression with winds up to 45 and lots of rain.

A L O H A! Cloudia