Destruction Aftermath, Book 3
Copyright© 2011 by radio_guy
We continued south to the Miami area. You could tell, sort of, when we reached it. However, the tsunami and hurricanes had wiped out the hotels and high rises. The beaches were bare. We saw no people there either. In the distance, you could see palm trees and other greenery. The cities along the Atlantic were in ruins and you couldn't recognize what was what from the ocean other than there were ruins.
We went into Biscayne Bay which was at the right spot but which didn't match the maps. George was carefully watching the depth finder as the differences were big and, of course, not marked. He didn't want to damage the Rose. We found a dock that was intact enough to allow us to safely tie up. We stopped for the night and called in.
When we turned the radio on, we heard Dad calling. I responded and he said, "Mike, where are you?"
I said, "In Miami, though it doesn't look much like the map or pictures."
"Son, you need to get moving. Jen's father was up at the weather center in Atlanta and Jack identified a hurricane headed for south Florida."
"Yes, Sir. We are here. Where is it now and what amount of time do we have?"
"It is coming in from the Atlantic south and east of you. Jack was able to get some more of the computers going and one charts the courses of hurricanes. It is centered upon Miami after it goes through the Bahamas. It's big. According to Jack's information, you have three days before it hits. After that, it looks to turn north. I think you need to head south, go around the Keys, and then scoot north."
"I understand, Dad. George says that we need to restock a little bit but can be on the move by noon tomorrow. We should make Key West by tomorrow evening."
"That's good. It would be better to get further away sooner but do what you can."
"Okay, Dad. Jen and I love you and Mom. Please tell Jack and his wives, also. We will talk tomorrow. Mike out."
"Thanks and I will. I will talk to you tomorrow and will have an update on the weather. Jim out."
George went over what we needed and what he would like to have it we can get it. We decided to start early and, one way or another, cast off at noon. Each group would carry a two meter HT if we needed to leave sooner. In the morning, we followed our plan with Bennie leaving with Ed and with me leaving with Joe. The ladies stayed and helped George. We were tasked with finding rope and water. Bennie and Ed were tasked to find canned food and cloth for sail repair. We knew each others' tasks to cover more territory with everyone looking for generally the same things. Joe and I found a ship's store and radioed that information in to George. We began picking through the wreckage and found some good useable rope but no cloth for sails. We found where it had been. It was an exposed position and either had weathered away or been blown away.
Bennie and Ed radioed in next that they had found a storehouse with bottled water and some canned food. George exhorted them to load up and for Joe and I to keep looking for sailcloth. We had already loaded the rope.
We continued to paw through the store hoping to find some sailcloth or anything useful. As we dug deeper, we found a shelf that had protected what was under it when it fell. We found more and better rope and sailcloth that looked good according to Joe. We radioed George who said we should hurry and that we should look up at the sky. We did and were shocked. You could see the mass of dark clouds coming from the southeast! The bad weather was coming faster. I got on the radio and asked for Jen. "Jen, get on HF and try to raise Preservation. It looks like the bad weather is coming much faster than we thought. Get an update. Joe and I are loading back now."
"Good, I want you here fast. Jen out."
We made as much haste as was realistic trying to get everything loaded and move it toward the pier. About fifteen minutes later, we arrived at the Rose. Everyone was waiting for us. We put our goods on the boat and loosed the lines. George moved us out and headed for open water. I went down to the radio and Jen. She was talking to Dad who was relaying her dad's information to us. "Okay, Papa Jim. We're all on the way. I will get this information to George. If we change plans, we will call you. Please have someone monitor this frequency. Jen out."
I heard Dad's voice, "We will be there, Jen. God speed. Jim out."
I gave Jen a kiss and she rose. "Let's go see George and you can get the update then." We went up and everyone was there. George looked over at me and I looked at Jen.
"I have talked with Mike's dad in Preservation. He has been talking with my dad who is at the weather center in Atlanta. The storm is truly a hurricane and it's coming this way and moving faster than before. Miami is still the center of its projected path. We need to move south as fast as possible. We are just seeing the edges of it as the storm is still over two hundred miles out."
George said, "Okay, we will stick to our plan from last night moving south and running through or around the Keys. The charts show a couple of places that should work depending upon the shape of the road and railroad tracks. There is some shallow water through there and we can't spend time probing but will run south as our priority. That storm is coming from the southeast and we need to get well below it for safety. I would like to get into the Gulf and then verify with your folks that the storm is still moving north. We can edge north and back to the Florida coast later." Heads nodded. He continued, "I want to keep a radio watch on the hour around the clock. Jen, please coordinate that with Preservation. We will need hourly updates with track and location." Jen nodded. "The rest of us will go about our usual shipboard duties until and if we run into weather." Everyone nodded. I now knew why he had assigned Jen to the radio. That was her normal place while mine was helmsman. We all took our places.
We had exited the harbor and started south quartering against the wind. George was a good sailor and the Rose was a good boat. We were running faster than if under power. Jen came up and reported to both of us. "I talked to Preservation. They are moving a HF radio and antenna to the weather station so I can talk direct. I'm not sure how that will help. It's still moving to the northwest like before. Here are the coordinates as of now." She pointed to the map and made a mark. "These are the coordinates one and two hours ago." She made two more marks. "More in an hour. I will report our position to Preservation each hour also."
George looked at the map as I stole looks while holding course. The wind had picked up and the clouds were scudding across the sky. He said, "I think that, if it holds course and doesn't speed up, we will escape it."
"Those are two big 'if's' to have to bet on."
"Yes, but it beats staying put and watching it hit us on land."
We continued sailing south. Shortly thereafter, it started to rain. At least, it was a warm rain. I said that to George and he said it just meant that the storm was intensifying which was not exactly cheering news.