Hurricane Earl: An Inshore Diary

Earl on the York

 2 September/ 9:45pm— I went to bed knowing that even if Earl was going to be worse than expected, I was ready.  I had ice, canned food, batteries, water, and everything else needed in case we lost power for a few days.  Living around here, people know to stock up for storms.  About mid-August to October, we tend to pay a little more attention to the weather.  Named storms like Dennis, Ernesto, Floyd, Gaston, and a lovely lady called Isabel have a tendency to disrupt things.  The weather forecast is for lots of wind and a little rain.  My chief ranger, Brad Thomas, expects me to open Croaker Landing if it isn’t pouring down.  We’ll see.

3 September/5:15— Got dressed and kissed the Mrs. before I stepped on to the back porch.  I almost walked back indoors as the drizzle and wind greeted me.  I didn’t see the point of opening Croaker.  Yesterday, the river was calm with a less than 5 mph  south-west wind and not a rain cloud in the sky.  I only collected $20.24 in parking fees and sales from 6 to 10 am.  I spent the last few hours at work at the main section of the park getting the chain saws ready and securing the canoes and kayaks.

/6:15— Because conditions didn’t get terribly worse, I unlocked the gate and started my routine.  The clouds were not thick.  But, the rain was light and steady.  Brad drove up with my change fund.  He said he didn’t expect to see me here.  I told him I didn’t expect to see me here.  I opened my register and was told to close shop around 10.  No one was going to fish the pier.  Certainly no one would launch in a very angry York River.  The only visitors would be some curious souls that would drive by and leave.

/7:10— One of the regulars came down just to check things out.  On a nice day, he would be working on a duck blind he started building a couple of weeks ago.  Tomorrow is supposed to be sunny and in the mid-80’s.  I’ll see him then.

/7:20— I brought a poncho, grabbed my camera and tripod to get an image or two of the storm.  I am glad my Pentax K200D is weatherproof.  But, it didn’t stop the rain from accumulating on the lens.  It was cool playing with slow shutter speeds.


/8:00— Two unexpected things.  The office clerk called and didn’t think I was coming in.  As I was about to set up to shoot at the landing, someone came towing a boat!  I let him know about the small craft advisory.  Thankfully, he thought better of the situation .

/9:00— I tried to take a few more shots.  But the wind speed was increasing and the rain was no fun to shoot through.  Two more brave souls came and left.  Thankfully, the tide was dropping since 6am.  Had it been a rising tide, te parking lot would have been underwater.  I did see and hear a green heron, blue heron, and osprey.  But, I saw no sense in trying to shoot them.
/9:52— Closing the contact station.  As expected, no pier anglers nor boaters.  I collected $2.67 from selling myself a poncho and a bag of chips.  I’ll stop somewhere to eat something I shouldn’t, go home, and take a nap.

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