2021 Life Logs, Day 35: Blood Test, Writing, Tech Tips Class
Date: Thursday, February 4, 2021
Weather: Icy Precip Overnight, Overcast All Day; High 41, Low 28 Degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

Yesterday I realized that my annual physical that was cancelled in September is coming up on Monday. I had not gotten a reminder and had not gone in for the blood test that is part of the physical. So, I called this morning to confirm the appointment and then headed to the Quest Lab for the blood test. I was really taken back by the number of people in the small reception area. It was one of the first times in the past year that I have felt unsafe. But as long as I was already inside, I went ahead and checked in. The young man doing the check in was extremely efficient and he had me checked, blood drawn, and out the door in about five minutes. I then returned home to walk with Shadow and settled into my writing project. I’ll also mention here that after picking Ollie up after school, I rushed home to catch the last half of a monthly Tech Tips Zoom class. I missed most of the refresher on using Google Drive, but enjoyed the second half of the class giving an overview of using Ancestry.com.

Now to today’s Voyage of Windbird writing progress. I continued working on the chapter entitled, A Rough Start. Not only did we have extreme weather, we lost our transmission. This was not so dangerous as long as we were at sea, but when we had to come into the Delaware Bay with heavy cargo ship traffic, it became very dangerous. We could use the engine, but we had to pour transmission fluid in continuously to keep it going. The more I wrote about this today, the more I realized just how much we didn’t know when we left Boston in 2005. But more than that, I realized just how very rough and dangerous those first few days of the Voyage of Windbird really were. I’m amazed that we just didn’t turn around and come home, but I am so glad that we didn’t.

It was our lack of knowledge of the weather, coupled with insanely complex weather systems, and then the loss of our transmission that made the situation so dire. We were getting daily weather faxes via our Ham radio, but did we really know how to read them to get a full picture of the weather? In hindsight, I don’t think so. We left Boston on October 18, three days after a tropical depression formed in the Caribbean near Jamaica. But it was headed westward, so we dismissed it as a problem. On October 17, it intensified to tropical storm status, turned southward, and was named Wilma. Still, it was not headed our way, so on October 18, we left Boston. On that day, Wilma intensified again and became Hurricane Wilma. Due to weather, we pulled into Quissett Harbor and stayed there an extra day to wait for the strong south winds to abate. When Windbird left Quissett Harbor on October 20, Hurricane Wilma was crossing the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico, still headed to the west. No problem, right? But, then she immediately did an about face and headed northeast just north of the Florida Keys, crossed the state of Florida exiting near Jupiter, entered the Atlantic Ocean, intensified again as she passed north of the Bahamas, absorbed a smaller Tropical Storm named Alpha to the east, and then headed offshore up the East Coast. Wilma finally transitioned to an extratropical cyclone on October 26 just south of Nova Scotia.
Hurricane Wilma was the sixth major hurricane of the 2005 season which included Rita and Katrina. Now I know it was the most intense tropical cyclone every recorded in the Atlantic basin and the second most-intense tropical cyclone recorded in the Western Hemisphere. I also realize that neither Mark nor I had any idea of the strength of the storm or of all the associated weather systems that had impacted us from the time we exited the Boston Harbor. It took my breath away to read about this today and then write about our experiences during that time. I got a bit side-tracked while researching information on Hurricane Wilma, but I still made good progress.

I will continue tomorrow morning after I drop Shadow at the groomer for what I think of as his beauty shop appointment every six to eight weeks. I then have to run a few errands, come home and write, and then go back and pick up Shadow just before I pick Ollie up after school. I won’t finish the chapter tomorrow, but hopefully I will come close.

Photo By Supportstorm – Created by Supportstorm using WikiProject Tropical cyclones/Tracks. The background image is from NASA. Tracking data is from the National Hurricane Center, Public Domain.

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