"We've not had a hurricane in Titusville for ten years"!!!!!
So say the locals. Well they’ve had another one now. Matthew stormed past Cape Canaveral, itself just 12 miles away from Ajaya as a Category 3 with wind speeds in the eye wall measured at 100 knots.
We’d been tracking Matthew on the internet from the UK since it was a small yellow cross on the NOAA charts out in the Atlantic. The cross, which wasn’t named at that time, was much further south than most of the disturbances that start off the African coast. It entered the Caribbean some way to the south, strengthening all the time, giving the Dutch Antilles (ABC Islands) a slap before suddenly turning 90 degrees to the north. Strengthening, it clobbered eastern Jamaica before heading for the Windward passage which separates Haiti from Cuba. We all know the results of it’s impact on those poor people of both countries. Then it was the turn of the Bahamas. Islands we know so well. We felt for the residents of Long Island – it’s second hurricane in two years. More destruction to have to cope with. All this time, watching the 5 day NOAA tracking website we were aware that Titusville’s ten year hiatus from major hurricanes was in danger of ending. Ajaya was stored ashore needing to cope with any effects from the storm without us.
It’s no exaggeration to admit that we were both sick to our stomachs with the fear of what would unfold with us helplessly stuck 5000 miles away. Nights of broken sleep, thoughts of our new hardtop taking off into the yard with it’s solar panel still attached. The boat itself being blown off the blocks she is sitting on causing massive damage to the keels and bulkheads. Or even sliding off the blocks across the yard and destroying another boat in its path. The dinghy breaking loose with its outboard engine battering the aft deck to destruction held just by the chain it’s secured with. And even imagining the marina deeply flooded with, god forbid, alligators and cottonmouth snakes swimming around looking for something or someone to exact revenge on. On a more lighthearted moment the vision of grey squirrels clinging horizontally by their front paws to palm trees in 120mph winds came to mind. Yes, once the imagination cranks up a notch there’s no telling what will spew forth from our ageing brains.
So we flew back to Orlando last Saturday 8th two days after Matthews visit to see for ourselves exactly what had transpired and how Ajaya had coped with such conditions. Yes, we now know she is still exactly where we left her. Hooray!! Our dear friends over here, themselves fearful of what Matthew would do to their own boat, selflessly climbed up on Ajaya several times to address any last minute concerns. We didn’t actually ask them to check for gators and snakes after the storm, but we may have done had the waters risen as predicted. They then would have known what they have probably suspected for a long time - that we had well and truly lost our marbles with all the worry. But Ajaya will live to see another day afloat, another Bahamian sunset, another thrashing fish brought onboard and evenings shared with friends sitting in the cockpit chewing over the cruising life. She lives on – bless her.
We’ll post some pics when we have a moment.