Destruction Aftermath, Book 3
Copyright© 2011 by radio_guy
We saw people on the boat and they were waving at us. We waved back.
One person pointed northerly and waved to us to go in that direction. I cupped my hands and hollered, "Okay." We four ran to our horses and rode just off the beach following the boat. It went around the end of the island to a dock and stopped. Two men jumped on the dock and put ropes out to tie the boat in place. We rode up about one hundred feet away and dismounted looking at the boat and the men.
Bennie said, "I'm going up there. You three stay here until I wave my hands low." He held his hands out to his sides as he walked slowly toward the boat and the two men. One of them saw him and came forward with his right hand raised. We watched as they met and talked for a minute. Bennie then walked up to the boat. I now saw that huge was probably the wrong word to use. It was about fifty feet long and twenty wide with a mast and a center cabin. The other man and still another had placed a plank from the boat to the dock. Those two came to Bennie and shook hands with him. After a moment, Bennie went on the ship and into the cabin. He came out and waved his hands low in the signal Preservation used to signal that things were okay. We came forward.
We met George, Ed, and Joe. who were brothers. George and Ed were married and their wives were with them on the trip. Lois and Margie were as nice as their husbands. They were from Texas and were scouting for their community checking out the coastline of the eastern United States. George was the oldest and captain of the vessel called the "Yellow Rose." He showed us around his schooner as he called it. I was familiar with small boats for our lakes but had no idea how to manage this size boat. After a discussion, it was decided that Jen and I would return and bring the other two horses and wagon here and we would eat together. George and Lois had some work to do on the boat but Ed, his wife, Margie, and Joe were going to explore some more of the island with Bennie and Janice.
Jen and I left for downtown Savannah. We arrived at our wagon and two horses without incident and saw that they had not been disturbed. We loaded up and made the return trip out to Tybee. We arrived as the exploring group returned and we all stood on the dock talking. Our Texan friends were interested in our venison and we were interested in the fish they had caught. We would share with each other for the evening meal.
After supper, we set up the radio and called Preservation. George was amazed at our ability to generate electricity utilizing a comparatively small package. He was even more surprised that we used radio and could communicate with our base. He talked with Dad over the radio telling about his community in Texas, Port Lavaca, south along the coast from Houston. They were a little smaller than Preservation but were the only community in their area like us.
George was very interested in the radios and wanted to try to mount one on his boat. Dad said that he would get me names and addresses of hams in the area so we could go scavenging. I knew how to make a hand cranked generator. I figured batteries might be a problem until George showed me his bank of batteries in his boat.
He explained, "We're in oil country and many of our community know how to refine oil enough to make diesel for boats. One of our members was production manager of a battery plant and we make batteries. It makes using boats much easier. We have marine radios for our boats but the ham radios look to be more widely useable."
I explained that to Dad when he came back with addresses and information on how to get to them. There was even one on Tybee. I cleared with Dad. George and I planned a scavenging expedition for the next day.
Everyone set our camp on solid ground; George and his brothers because all five wanted a bed that was stationary, and; we because it was what we were used to and we could watch over the horses. It was a quiet night. In the morning, Jen and I woke to the smell of breakfast. Ed and Margie were preparing breakfast at the central fire. We got out of our sleeping bag and went to help. "Thanks," Ed said, "preparations will go faster now."
He was right, they did. Margie called the rest to eat and we sat down on logs for a solid breakfast.
George and Joe joined Jen and me in chasing radios and parts. We found the ham's house and his radios. The house was badly damaged from storms and from the years. The radios had been protected by luck more than anything. We found a vertical that had been bent at a ninety degree angle. We did find plenty of wire and coax for antennas along with a number of small spare parts. We loaded everything on the two extra horses.
George and I talked that scavenging was becoming more difficult with time. Too many things worth scavenging were too deteriorated to be useful any more. He told me that they had had two hurricanes come through their area over the last ten years. The destruction was considerable each time.
The second one hit without much warning as their internet connection had gone and they did not have any way to access weather radar. We agreed that the loss of technology caused some problems that simply had no solution.
As we were returning, we heard shots fired. I told George and Joe to stay with the gear but continue on while Jen and I galloped toward the dock. We arrived in moments. The gun shots had slowed and seemed to be one sided. We slowed to see what had caused the shooting and saw a large pack of dogs furiously eating their fallen members. I could see Bennie and Ed on the boat with guns. Jen and I let our horses walk toward the dock and the dogs. When we slowed, I had pulled my rifle from its sheath and was ready. When I came within range, I shot a dog at the edge of the pack away from the dock. It was attacked and was quickly lost in the rush of bodies finishing it off. I shot again, moving the pack away from the dock a bit more. Jen and I stopped our horses and I continued to pick off a dog one at a time and moving the pack as I did it.
This went on for quite a few minutes until the pack was down to four. I told Jen to get the brown one to the left closest to her. I quickly shot two of the other three. The last ran and I shot at it but missed. George and Joe had ridden up as we were finishing them off. George asked me, "Why shoot them? Dogs are good."
"Those dogs have gone wild and would have come after us except for the fact that I kept them busy. Young dogs can be trained, but dogs that age have to be put down. That is the largest pack I've seen in a long time." I answered.
"I understand." George said.
"Our cat is good, but he stays on board the boat all the time." offered Lois.
"Cats are different. They don't get so big as to present a threat." Jen said.
We unloaded and started to check out the radio we brought with us. To my slight surprise, it worked right away. We were able to put up a forty meter inverted vee dipole from George's mast going fore to aft. We hooked a line to his batteries and turned it on again. We tuned to 7.185 and tried to make a contact. It was close to the net time and Mom responded quickly.
"Hi, Mom. I am transmitting from the Yellow Rose docked in Savannah. How is my signal?"
"Hello, Mike. Your signal is fine. Are you all okay?"
"Yes, Ma'am. We're on the boat with George and his brothers and wives from Texas. We will stay here tonight before heading out again. We may go north for a bit following George along the coast before coming around to be south bound."
"What ever works, Son. Just be careful."
I chuckled. "Yes, Ma'am."
Dad came on and said, "Hi, Son. May I talk to George?" I handed the mike to George.
He said, "Good evening, Jack. What can I do for you?"
"Hi, George. It appears you have a radio now. That's good. What are your plans?"
"We left Port Lavaca almost two months ago. We have stopped plenty of times but never found people until now. New Orleans is flooded. A hurricane came through and worked it over along with the Mississippi and Alabama Coasts about two years ago. We saw no sign of rebuilding. Pensacola had some fire smoke in the air but we never saw any people or even the fire. It was well off the shore line. Our next big stop was planned to be Tampa but it's gone. I would not have believed it if I hadn't seen it. There is a small canal going across Florida but it looks dead. We went on down. Key West had been hit by hurricanes but you could do something with it, I guess. It would take a lot of work to live there much less flourish. We didn't go to Cuba but came around and started up the east coast. Miami was in shambles. I'm not sure it it was the tsunami or hurricanes but we didn't stop until around Jacksonville. Central Florida is not in good shape. The fault, the tsunami, and hurricanes make it a dead zone. Jacksonville looked to be in fair shape. We tied up there and scouted around but saw no signs of life. We headed up, stopping at Brunswick which looked okay until you looked more closely and realized that the coastline has changed. Some areas were flooded and others were now dry land. We were going to sail into Savannah until we saw your folk at the ocean's edge. Now, we're here on Tybee.