Nantucket and Hurricane Winds

Sept. 7, 2010    We were greeted in Nantucket at the harbor by our friend, Patience,  and followed her out to Madaket to the lovely home she had loaned us for the week.  Our first evening in town, we were treated to the phenomenal talent of jazz pianist, Rio Clemente.  Creative interpretations of composers such as Gershwin and Rodgers show the finesse and depth of character in his music.  His rendition of 'Stormy Weather' brought the audience to their feet.

No trip to Nantucket is complete without a visit to the Whaling Museum.  Having just completed the audio book, "In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex" made the visit more poignant.  A forty-six foot sperm whale skeleton hanging over one of the whaling boats creates an appreciation for the dangers of this occupational choice.  Exhibits included scrimshaw created by sailors on the whale ships to pass the weeks or months between whale sightings, incredibly detailed and ornate needlework by the women of Nantucket, and the lightship baskets woven by the men stationed at lightship boats offshore, to kill the boredom of their six months work commitment.

The Nantucket Shipwreck and Lifesaving Museum tells the incredible history of life saving efforts and techniques developed due to the numerous shipwrecks and deaths caused by the dangerous shoals and  inclement weather through the fall and winter in this area.  Tells the stories of the heroes who placed their lives on the line to rescue other.  Their motto, "You have to go out, you don't have to come back."

Hurricane Earl veered to the east and was downgraded to tropical storm strength as it approached the island.  Provided us with spectacular surf and an adventure for Alan , when he decided to rescue a buoy from the tumultuous seas.  As he grabbed his prize, he was swept off his feet but scrambled back up again as he felt the strong undertow pulling him out.  Climbing up the short cliff,  soaked from head to toe and smiling from ear to ear, he was proudly hoisting the buoy.  Highest winds for the area reached 55mph and passed around 2 A.M., by the following morning we had clear skies and a refreshing breeze.

Two days after the storm, winds had slowed down to 10-15 mph, but we didn't realize until we were making our return on a 20 mile round trip bike ride out to 'Scoinset, that winds were still gusting at 25-30.  Winds blowing against us as we headed back on the Polpis trail.   Twenty-four miles of bike trails crisscross the 14 by 31/2 mile island and the well-maintained trails are a great way to explore.  Nantucket still has a 19th century look(if you delete the cars.)  The cobblestone streets, the wood shingled homes and the beautiful beaches make this a delightful place to visit.  Reconnecting and partying with our friends, Patience, Deb, Lyle and family, just added to our enjoyment of the island.

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