Storms on the Horizon

A storm on the horizon. A panoramic view of the site, taken as we leave quickly, hoping to avoid being caught in rough seas. - © 2012 Warwick Project

A storm on the horizon. A panoramic view of the site, taken as we leave quickly, hoping to avoid being caught in rough seas. – © 2012 Warwick Project

A tropical storm swept across Bermuda last week, decimating our diving operation. We are finally back on track, and are working double shifts to make up lost time.

Dark skies forming over our dive site. The limestone cliffs are no protection from northerly winds, which would reach 67 knots in the next storm. - © 2012 Warwick Project

Dark skies forming over our dive site. The limestone cliffs are no protection from northerly winds, which would reach 67 knots in the next storm. – © 2012 Warwick Project

We had severe gusts for days, the worst of which reached 67 knots in Castle Harbor. A number of local boats wrecked, and we have a much better idea of how Warwick met her end. The tall limestone cliffs provide shelter from southerlies, but compound the surge generated by northerlies. According to local observers, we had extraordinary 5 to 7 ft. seas at our normally calm site.

Piotr in surging waves, hanging on to an anchor line. - © 2012 Warwick Project

Piotr in surging waves, hanging on to an anchor line. – © 2012 Warwick Project

Knowing that we were in danger of loosing several days to weather, we worked the site for as long as possible. With the Museum boat tossing violently about, we decided to call the day, and leave in the early afternoon. James Davidson dived on our four barge anchors to make sure they were secure, and even put out a fifth. Regardless, two broke in the storm, one severing its cable, and the other breaking an arm. We watched dark clouds swelling ominously behind the cliffs as we sped away.

James Davidson secures our second starboard bow anchor, assisted by Bruno Werz. - © 2012 Warwick Project

James Davidson secures our second starboard bow anchor, assisted by Bruno Werz. – © 2012 Warwick Project

After the storm swept back out to sea, we had a few days of gentle breeze to pick up the pieces. The bad news is that Tropical Storm Debby is on it’s way back.

Mackerel skies over the dive site, a sign of oncoming storms. - © 2012 Warwick Project

Mackerel skies over the dive site, a sign of oncoming storms. – © 2012 Warwick Project

Its time to batten down the hatches. This morning, Mike, Josh and I loaded the Museum’s Parker boat, and motored out to the dive barge for a visual inspection. We redistributed the on-deck gear, and chained the pumps to the center of the barge. All hatch pins are locked in place, and the barge seems to be on an even keel.

Although we expected dark black skies and gusts of wind, they have not arrived yet. It could be that we will get a lucky break, on the other hand, we might just be waiting out the calm before the storm.

– Doug Inglis

Assistant Director, Warwick Project

Josh and Maureen, blowing in the wind.  - © 2012 Warwick Project

Josh and Maureen, blowing in the wind. – © 2012 Warwick Project

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