Date: 15 September 2023. Waters of Idalia.
friends: My phone
an unfortunate meeting with a cement sidewalk. I am hoping to get a
new one soon. I do have the phone utilized to power my hotspot. It
has poor sound so hearing it is problematic. Texting works best.
Please TEMPORARILY swap out the last four numbers for 1350. Thanks!
And yes, I miss you already.
At the end of August Hurricane Idalia was heading north off the west
coast of Florida. I was once again in a Mandatory Evacuation Zone.
That means that the dock I am at is on a beach side versus the
mainland. The storm was tracking northward and fortunately for me,
she was offshore. Of course locals were all closely monitoring the
WUSF (Tampa NPR) website:
Those of us who have been around for
years know that watching the weather means far more than relying on
television meteorologists when a storm is due any place within their
My friend Tom in Apalachicola
advocates watching live cams of the areas actually in the impact
area. Those cameras tell a lot more than a newsman standing where
the wind is blowing hardest, as the long as the power is on.
Additionally I continue to to follow
Mike's Weather Page (http://spaghettimodels.com)
This graphic from
Wunderground showed the
edge of the storm offshore where Seaweed and I are:
The east winds
were blowing the water out of Tampa Bay on the two days before
Idalia was due to make landfall. Thus tides were lower than
normal. To compound that piece of good news, low tide was due at 3
a.m. which is just one hour after Idalia was closest to Seaweed.
This is about as good of news as one can get on the peninsula.
Seaweed and I are in one of the canals such as those
These BARRIER ISLANDS
are shown on this chart of the west
coast of Florida. The Gulf of Mexico is at the bottom of the chart.
islands were (pulling up my old-lady bloomers) the moving bits of
sand off the mainland which protected the interior. This peninsula
originally helped buffer the inhabited inland areas when hurricanes
arrived. The barrier islands were never intended to be for permanent
residences. Then, well, folks found them, liked the views,
oceanfront living, and life at the seashore. Builders were quick to
fill those with seaside living wishes. Thus the beachfront
communities were constructed.
But I digress...
Hurricane Idalia was due to
pass offshore here at approximately 0200, two hours after midnight.
In addition the tide was predicted to be lowest at 3 a.m. There was
one complication however: wind. Wind driven water was predicted.
This surge of above normal high tide levels was forecast by the the
WUSF was showing tides 3 to 5 feet above normal.
*We have a kind neighbor named Anisha. You met her in the
Before Hurricane Ian Arrived (part 1)
article. She offered for me to come up to apartment for the storm.
say "we" because my Skipper resides in my heart. My adorable girl
was an extraordinary first mate. She is dearly missed. I am actively
looking for a small (under 5 pound) fluffy girl, between the ages of
2 and 5 years old. Fluffy means with soft hair such as a Miniature
Maltese, Yorkie, Papillon or a long-haired Chihuahua. Five pounds maximum
because I want to tuck her into my purse for outings. Plus little
girl dogs are the best! I want a girl to love and pamper.
The tribute article for my
Skipper is here:
Brokenhearted on 27 February 2023
Idalia passed by I came outside
to check on the boats. Water was above the dock:
the power cords were raised, due to the water level surpassing the
seawall they were in the water. The owner did shut down power to
the dock at the breaker post in the backyard. There was
approximately 2" of water that reached a few feet into the grass.
the docks was prevalent
here in the St. Petersburg area.
the storm passed through the tide
fell so the docks were once again visible.
the arrival of Hurricane Idalia those with smaller boats on this
canal raised them. Most of the boats were approximately 3' higher on
their lifts than normal. Many of the owners added lines from the
small crafts to the dock so the boats were secured by more than just
If you look to the bow of Lefty, a Gulfstar36
can see a nifty center console runabout in its boatlift.
You might also note one of the smaller fenders had
floated up onto the dock during the height of the waters.
There was damage here due to
Hurricane Idalia. One cleat
The lag bolts that were
securing the cleat came loose. This was due to a
midship line being too short when the boat floated higher during the
boat in preparation for a storm is a balancing act. Taking into
account the predicted wind direction from the west, lines were
tightened on the upwind side. Additionally due to the nearness of
the seawall the boat was moved forward approximately three feet.
The houses never lost power. Seaweed relied on her
solar panels. When I first checked the power situation aboard
Seaweed the voltage meter read 13.1 amps. At the end of the day when
shore power was turned back on it read 13.5.
I am pleased to report that just solar can
power my life either at anchor or at a dock.
Unfortunately with even with both my 460 watt solar array and
Air Breeze Wind Generator I cannot utilize my air conditioner
nor electric heaters when off grid. To solve a part of that I
5kw Diesel Heater like
those the van dwellers and truckers use. I look forward to testing
that over the coming months, after installation that is!
In the meantime it was
good to be back where I
belong. One of the first visitors was my Buddy:
Looking out back I
noticed DAMAGE ↓
on the boat I am rafted to:
My motor mount rubbed on the vessel
next to me. I will have that buffed out shortly.
Seaweed has an outboard motor mount
attached to the starboard side of my transom. I want redundancy with
my propulsion system. Yes, Seaweed's Kubota diesel runs fine.
Another Schucker just like mine had a 5 horsepower outboard on the
transom. From my research it would take 8hp to push Seaweed at hull
speed. Theoretically a white 9.9hp Suzuki long-shaft would be
perfect. Maybe someday...
This "have an outboard
on the transom" idea was cemented when I visited with Ted and Sarah.
You met them in the
article. Since then I have seen a lot of larger boats switching to
outboards versus inboard engines. That
This is Ted and Sarah's
Tides were high during and
after the storm.
You can see three weed lines in the next picture.
Each high tide was
progressively lower than the previous one.
for me, there was little
debris in the water. We were fortunate.
shoes were however thoroughly soaked in salt water. In the
afternoon I tossed them in the washing machine then hung the shoes to dry.
My leather boat shoes have
taken many trips
through washing machines. I have done this for decades.
A few days later our diver
Craig discovered one more bit of damage. The
outbound port side swim platform bracket of the boat next to me had
the upper screws pulled loose during the storm.
I believe this damage was due to the boats being shoved
the mangroves. One of those branches caught the support bracket.
↑ had the
top screws pull free during the storm.
Craig (our diver) tied it up until it can be repaired on his next
Craig is MOST
EXCELLENT. He does a great job on my boat and several others on this
canal. I recommend him to friends. Craig's phone number is 727-394-9043.
A couple days after the storm I was
looking into the mangroves. Yes, that is a normal activity as I enjoy
watching the wild things that live so close to me. While chatting with
Baby I discovered an air plant on a twig stuck in the mangrove
branches. This is the first air plant found in the wild in ages so I
I shared my joy with Baby. She named
him. This is Igor:
ladies and gentlemen is my life...
Igor lives in the cockpit. I watered him today.
meantime I wanted to post this quick update re Hurricane Idalia. I
do hope that those effected by the store recover quickly. Next I
will finish up the 50 amp power series. Thank you for reading.
I can't say it too often: Being on a boat, being on the
water, brings a smile to my face, and joy to my heart.
was written by Cap'n Sid Tracy. He was an
incredible gentleman. Cap'n Sid penned an article for us which
if you have any interest in dogs you too may enjoy. His story is here:
Running the Hounds.
What a gent!
*An aphorism is at the end of each
article. They are saved to the
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Waters of Idalia
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Pet of the
on S/V Sparrow
Submit your pet's photo.
Please email pictures of your
More canine, feline and feathered
crew members can be found on the
The First Mate Gallery
Archive holds a
chronological list of every item published on my website. It includes a
brief synopsis (not just the title) along with the topics covered in each
Click on the title and voila: you're
Skipper, First Mate extraordinaire
Of course every boat needs a Deck Swabbie. Mine, born in 2008, is a
papillon mix. She weighs in at five pounds.
Topics of Interest:
You can achieve a simple satisfying life
Oh, a wondrous bird is the pelican!
His bill holds more than his belican.
He can take in his beak enough food for a week.
But I'm darned if I know how the helican.
(Poem by Dixon Lanier Merritt, 1879-1972.)
For years I've been collecting short
pithy statements otherwise known as aphorisms. If you're like me and enjoy
the weird, go ahead and
These are previously posted at the
bottom of each article -- for new, you'll have to come visit again.
Seaweed is in St. Pete right now.
The above chart (#411) can be a
wish book of sorts as you look over your domain and wonder where to go
next. And yes, I do have the originals (sans red arrow) as jpeg's for
download should you desire your own for closer perusal. Enjoy!
The Writer's Block
It's my belief that other folks who
boat are some of the most interesting in the world. Inside every boater
is a story. Let yours out! I'd love to post short stories, vignettes, or
even longer articles that focus on some aspect of our life on or near
the water. Suggested topics include:
1. I Remember When...
2. My First Boat
3. Who inspired you to be a boater?
4. Fishing Trips or Tricks
5. Or another subject of your choosing
For the novice, here's how to write: Simply pretend
you're sending a letter to a friend. Tell about an event or a memory
from years ago that you still recall.
Life has changed so much on the
water since I was born aboard. Personally I'd love to hear your memories
of life when you were younger. Boats were smaller, narrower, and much
slower. Kids were kids and our families often shaped the adult we have
become. Here are my two aboard the tow boat my dad ran for a time:
Your pictures would be wonderful too. I posted one of
Boot Key Harbor taken in 2001 that has gotten quite a few downloads
and really, that's not so terribly long ago... Do you have any photos to
Do you want to help
Often an article for the website
will be completely written yet lack photographs. I like pictures and am
looking for some for up-coming pieces:
Pets afloat (include pet and boat
Any picture of boats underway or at
Photos of people enjoying life in
or on the water
Size: a minimum of 1000 pixels
across please. If that doesn't make sense think bigger versus resized
for emailing. I prefer the full-size version. Also, the name you'd
like me to use when I add the copyright stuff to your picture. And
My email address is