Bracing for Irma

Wally Moran braces for the impact of Hurricane Irma in Cocoa Beach.

hurricane irma
Preparing for the storm in the harbor.Wally Moran

And now we wait. The winds started to increase yesterday afternoon here in Cocoa Beach as rain bands came through the area, a prelude to what's to come in the next 24 - 36 hours. I'm on the safer, eastern side of the state, guiltily grateful for the westward path of the hurricane that has spared me from the worst while condemning friends to the west to face this thing.

Irma made landfall Saturday morning at Cudjoe Key in the Florida Keys and is forecast to run up the west coast of the state as a Category 4 hurricane. Those of us on the east coast are feeling like we've dodged a huge bullet after seeing the damage this huge storm has already caused.

My own boat, Gypsy Wind, is now spidered into one of the fairways at Harbor Square on the Canaveral Barge Canal. With 20 foot embankments and a line of tall trees behind that, the protection is the best possible. She should be fine.

A group of we boaters sit glued to the tv watching the news and weather. The latest update, showing Irma now heading due north into Naples and area, concerns us because it brings this thing closer to us as it continues north. I'm constantly checking two different weather apps, a hurricane app and the National Hurricane Center on my phone. To say we are consumed with this storm is not inaccurate. I try not to worry, but worry is inescapable. I'm not concerned about my own boat, it's as safe as a boat can be in these conditions, but I have friends on the west coast.

I just now got a text - a good friend, cruising the Caribbean, has just reported that he lost his boat to Irma. That's two now, bringing the horror and tragedy of this monstrous storm closer to home.