WanderingDan’s Weblog

August 21st…Irene
August 24, 2011, 2:23 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I can tell the storm is getting closer…the frequency of rain and wind bursts are increasing, and would probably care more if I wasn’t so tired. The landlords dog was barking at ungodly hours of the night, so my sleep was not so bueno. Hannah comes out of her room a couple hours after I am up and moving. We resume our conversation from the evening before about such things as spirituality, meditation, island culture, acupuncture, family, etcetera. At 11:30, an hour before she is supposed to start work, they shut down all flights for the rest of the day. Hannah is a dispatcher for Seaborne Airlines, a local company that flies seaplanes between a few of the islands. Curiosity drives us to check out the boardwalk in this burgeoning storm, so we head out. Protected by coral reefs there are no waves that break in the harbor, but storm winds create some nice pier splashes that drench me by the time we get to the first bar, Angry Nates, around 2:30. They are already getting ready to close as we pull in, so after hanging out and talking to a couple locals for a few minutes, continue down the boardwalk…I mean, what the hell, we’re already drenched; surprisingly though, not cold. We find the brewpub, where the going away party was last night, in full swing, and join. I meet Nute, the senior pilot at Hannah’s company, and he buys us a beer. He is pretty hammered, and starts telling us stories about his bush pilot days in Alaska, and how 5 years ago Seaborne would not have shut down operations for a storm like this: “we’ve landed in a hell of a lot worse weather than this!” He has flown Seaplanes in these islands for the better part of 12 years, amassing over 10,000 hours in the twin Otter. The average pilot stays here for 2 years to pay their dues and build hours before moving on…Nute is just a salty, old-school pilot who loves these planes, and knows them inside and out. Winds are picking up again, along with the rain…the waves past the coral reefs are getting bigger and more frenetic. At 4 they shout last call, and a half hour later start closing up shop. The rain is hitting us almost fully horizontal now, and stings. A couple hours pass by. The wind is shaking the palm trees like they were pom-poms. We watch the show from Hannah’s apartment, since the police enacted a 6pm curfew for everyone. This place runs so much like a 3-world country, I wonder if this is how the western frontier felt at times. Missing a fairly important ingredient for dinner (mayonnaise), we wait for a calm in the storm and run up to one of her co-worker’s apartments a block away to borrow his, breaking curfew…whatever. Trey, known to the group as ‘penguin’ because he’s shorter and walks funny when drunk…which is quite often I understand, hands us the jar of mayo and tells us we should head back while we’re still in the eye of the storm…the tropical storm Irene has just turned into a class 1 hurricane…a smaller scale hurricane, but a hurricane none-the-less. We head back and start making some food when winds and rain ramp up again, this time in the opposite direction…both a bizarre and very cool experience. After a while we hear a big BOOOM!!! that sounds like it came from right outside in the street. It’s just like a frag grenade explosion, and we both feel a shockwave of energy…was it a storm thing? feisty locals? Since she lives on the edge of the projects, we aren’t sure, until about 20 minutes later another BOOOM!!! All power goes out…we’re still making dinner. Shit! Hannah moved here 2 months ago, and this is her first big storm…she isn’t really prepared. Actually, she is totally unprepared. No candles, no matches…nada. Between the light from our cell phones and the little alien-head flashlight randomly attached to my bag, we finish making dinner, and dine on the front porch…the winds are coming from the other direction, but we still get hit with the occasional gust. There is no power, which means there is also no water, since the cistern pumps are electric. We just sit in her living room, watching the storm, and talk. Hannah tells me about some of her adventures in the peace corps…we talk about other random stuff, and eventually fall asleep right there on the couch while the winds and rain wreak their havoc on the island.


2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Dan, the storms in the tropics – a force of nature unlike what we see here. And somehow, no water and electricity seems so natural, doesn’t it?

Comment by irina

I have officially favorited your blog at work ha ha.
Be safe Daniel!

Comment by Amanda

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