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July 1, 2011

Island Moon

Kendal’s Korner

The catacombs were created as a cemetery for the Christians who died for their faith. There have been 16 popes buried on these grounds and to walk through all the tombs it was touching to see that so many would give their life for their faith. Later that day we went on a quest around Rome to the Trevi fountain, Spanish steps, parthenon, and of course shopping! You don’t realize how amazing all of these landmarks are until you are standing right in front of them. In addition you don’t realize how vicious the street vendors of Rome are until you see them run with 100 euros instead of make change for a customer! It has been an interesting run with them!

One of the things I was most looking forward to was visiting the Vatican! I was able to see the Sistine chapel, Saint Peter’s basilica, and all of the Vatican muse-

By Captain Arthur Helmsteadt Well folks, the wind has teased us a few times in recent weeks but as a whole, hasn’t really dropped for more than half a day at a time. The offshore windows have been scant in number and short lived. If we’re lucky, we’ll get a half day here or there during the week.

ums! Not only did I get to see the grounds, and the attractive Swiss guards, but the next day we got to go back and have an audience with the pope! Best experience if my life, just breathtaking! After leaving Rome and the amazing shopping that is there, we made our way to Naples where we were disgusted and scared all at the same time! There are piles and piles of trash all over the street and the atmosphere is just scary! Aside from the scary part of Naples I had an amazing experience in Pompeii seeing a perfectly preserved ancient yet very advanced roman city! They even had sewage and rainwater systems with pipes and rain water! One of the most unique and fun experiences I have had on this trip so far was visiting the international school near Naples where an entire group of students welcomed us with a dance and were eager to teach us about their culture, city, and country. Next up on the trip was the beautiful island of Sicily! We got off the ferry and met yet another group of Italian students, except this time they were boys, and they were cute! After playing dodgeball with our Italian eye candy we visited the medieval city of Erice and then the Greek temple segesta which was built by the Trojans. On the eighth day of our trip we took a guided tour of the beautiful city of Palermo which included shopping and pizza making! I make really good pizza by the way! We finished the day with a fun trip to the beach and gelato of course! I am so excited to see what is left on my amazing trip in Europe and cannot wait to see the culture of Greece since Italy had been so amazing!

Hurricanes Continued from A1 There are three new innovations in hurricane tracking this season: First, NASA now has a drone aircraft that can fly over storms at 60,000 feet and take accurate measurements of the storm’s strength. Second, a new application on the NOAA website allows users to zoom down to street level - as local as a city block - to predict a storm surge once a storm is within 48 hours of making landfall. NOAA expects in excess of one million hits when a storm gets near shore. Third, new satellites in polar orbit will be a big improvement in measuring storms over the geosyncratic satellites that were used exclusively in past years. The geosyncratic satellites are positioned at 22,000 miles over the equator while the new polar satellites will work at 250 miles up and can get a better reading on conditions inside a storm. The downside is that the polar satellites only pass over a storm twice each day while the geosyncratic satellites are over the storm 24 hours per day. To see the application go to the NOAA website by Googling or for mobile phone apps. And for Islanders trying to decide where to run in case a hurricane approaches, the local Weather Office does NOT recommend heading to the Rio Grande Valley since there is no disernable pattern to indicated which way hurricanes will turn once the hit the coast. It is very possible that heading south could mean evacuees will end up in the path of a storm with nowhere to run since crossing into Mexico these days is about as dangerous as sitting through a hurricane. They recommend San Antonio, Austin, or Laredo. Hurricane Factoids: - Storm names are recycled every six years with the names of major storms being retired from use. - There have been two Pacific storms so far this year. - There were 19 named storms in 2010 with 12 becoming hurricanes. Most were pushed out into the Atlantic due to a large low pressure trough over most of the Gulf of Mexico. - The year 1933 had the most named storms in one year. - There have been 63 hurricanes since 1851 in the Atlantic, 22 of them major storms of Category 3 or higher. - 5 Category 3 storms have hit the Texas Coast in the past 38 years. - The two best systems in recent years for accurately predicting the path of storms are the TVCN which is an average of all the models in use, and EGRI which is the model used by Europe which has been the most accurate each year since 2008. The accuracy of each of the half dozen models used by various agencies changes from year to year as the models are updated. - The GFDC model has been updated since last hurricane season and professionals in the field say this year it is one to watch. - Historically the predictions of where a storm will make landfall that are made one day before the storm arrives are off by 50 miles. - Predictions made two days before a storm makes landfall are off by 70 miles. - Airplanes which fly through a hurricane fly in an X pattern that takes them through the eye of the storm twice. They drop a censor that takes two minutes to hit the water. - Different airplanes fly through storms at different altitudes - 10,000 feet, 50,000 feet, and a new NASA drone which flies at 60,000 feet. - Ground friction slows down storm winds. Hurricane

On The Hook Running to the Rigs

European Tour

It has been a wild journey to get to Europe, but boy was it worth it! Since arriving I have learned so much and been exposed to so much culture and history. The trip started off with a ten hour flight to Frankfurt that was filled with crying babies, airplane food, short naps, and the German language. After another flight to Rome we started off journey off with a bang by visiting the collosuem. I was amazed to see this structure that has remained standing after centuries of weathering and after being stripped of all it’s metal and marble supports and decorations. After our trip to the coliseum we had our first dinner in Italy followed by authentic Italian gelato! We only have twenty days to submerge ourselves into these two amazing countries of Italy and Greece so we were up early the next morning and off to the catacombs of San Callisto.

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winds at the top of a twenty-story building may be 120 mph while ground winds are 90 mph. The highest winds in a hurricane are at 1500 feet. - Hurricane forecasters rarely are right when predicting the intensity of a storm. The problem is that current technology can’t measure the density of thunder storms in the center of a storm. To do that would require an accurate resolution down to a scale 1/2 mile wide while current sensors can only measure in a swath six miles wide. Scientists believe it will be at least twenty years before the new technology will be available. There has been no improvement in predicting the density of a storm in twenty years. So when storm watchers predict a storm will be a Category 3 or 4 several days before it hits landfall that is an educated guess at best. - The slower a storm moves before landfall and immediately after landfall the more flooding there will be inland. - A Category 3 storm moving at 15 mph would put 10feet of water on The Island. That is the amount of surge tide Hurricane Celia put on The Island. - A slow-moving Category 4 storm would put 11 feet of water on The Island. - A Category 5 storm - at any speed - would put 17 feet of water on The Island. - Hurricane Ike pushed a surge tide of 20 feet onto Galveston Island. - Flooding is the most intense in the upper right quadrant of a storm but the amount of flooding when a storm makes landfall is not determined by the storm’s category but by the topography of the land where it hits, how long the storm was at sea, and how fast it is moving when it hits land. - The back of bays and river basins are particularly subject to heavy flooding as the water is pushed into tight corridors by the high winds. - Predictions on storm surge begin to get very accurate within 48 hours of the surge making landfall. - New public storm advisories are released every two hours as a storm nears landfall. - Once the winds in a storm reach 34 knots a new prediction on its course is put out by the National Hurricane Center every six hours - at 10 o’clock and 4 o’clock around the clock. - When a Hurricane Watch is put out it means a hurricane will hit the coast within 48 hours. Once a Watch is issued a new prediction will be put out every three hours. - When the National Hurricane Center puts out a “cone” showing the possible path of a hurricane while the storm is still in the Carribean there is a 75 percent chance the eye of the storm will hit land within the boundry of the cone. - If a storm coming out of the Carribean into the Gulf of Mexico cuts across the Yucatan Penensula it greatly reduces the storm surge if the storm hits the Texas Coast. - When a storm hits land the highest gusting winds will be about the same speed as the sustained winds while the storm is at sea. This is due to a reduction in winds due to ground friction. - On average over time the second storm of the season has not appeared until mid-August. August through October is the most active part of the season in the Atlantic. In many years there have been only two named storms by the middle of August but more than twenty named storms by the end of the season. - Only once every two years is there a named storm in June. - When mixing a Hurricane during a hurricane the ice will swirl in a counter-clockwise direction in Texas and clockwise in the rest of the United States. (We made that

It’s difficult for most of us to ditch work on short notice and round up enough bodies to share the fuel bill for a good offshore run. Those mid-size twin engine rigs are getting pretty expensive to run with just a couple people splitting the bill. I’m finding many smaller fuel efficient inshore boats venturing far offshore. Now, I’m not talking about a quick run to the inshore rigs in the trusty bay boat; I’m talking about shallow boats running 20 to 30 miles out. While I understand the motivation behind this, I have to question the quality of the judgment these folks are using. There was a time when venturing any distance offshore with a single smoker on the stern was unheard of. Few were brave enough to chance our unpredictable seas in a small single engine 2-stroke vessel. These days though, outboards are just as reliable as the family truck or sedan. This has made many fishermen confident enough to take their shallow running inshore rigs, offshore fishing. The issue isn’t outboard reliability anymore, its vessel survivability. As we have all experienced at one time or another, offshore winds and current kick up in the afternoon, sometimes quite suddenly. This can make the ride home a bit sporty. In smaller vessels, it can be downright dangerous. Third Coast Chop I‘ve run a handful of offshore calls in recent weeks involving swamped inshore boats on the verge of sinking. One in particular went something like this; A couple guys decided to take advantage of one of our famous mid-week half day windows. They broke the jetties on a Thursday morning in their trusty Blue Wave and headed towards their favorite spot 25 miles out, all the while laughing at the rest of the rats just heading into work. The seas were calm with a 2-3 ft swell and no wind chop, life was GOOD! They made good time to their favorite Rig and spent the better part of the day catching fish and a good buzz. When 4:00 finally rolled around they decided it was time to head in. By this point the wind had picked up and the ever present third coast chop returned with a vengeance. As they untied from the rig and turned to head in, a small breaker climbed over the stern and dumped about 10 gallons of water in the cockpit. No worries, it’s a self bailing cockpit and all that water would drain shortly….. right? The fisherman found if they went too slow their stern got swamped from chop but going too fast caused them to bang violently and take water over the bow. After a while, they noticed the boat wasn’t draining all the water coming in. Upon further inspection, they found trash stuck in one of the scuppers. They stopped for a moment to clear it out and another small breaker came over the stern. By this point, the water was deep enough in the stern to put the batteries in jeopardy. The seawater created a short and killed the engine battery, causing the outboard to die. (Most modern outboards require a minimum battery voltage to run the fuel and ignition system.) It was at this point they realized they had a problem. They were dead in the water, there was no cell phone reception and the seas were getting worse…..Oh yeah, it was getting dark too. Luckily, they did have a handheld vhf so they called the coastguard for help. The coasties called us and gave an approximate position. It was approximate because the boat batteries were shot and the GPS, no longer worked. Fortunately, they were near a well known rig and finding them turned out to be fairly straight forward. Arriving

on scene, I found two very concerned fishermen with life vests on, sitting in a Blue Wave full of seawater. Cans and other debris were floating about the cockpit of the boat. In short order I had them back in the safety of Packery channel. They both vowed never to do THAT again. Watch Offshore Conditions

n this situation, the only causalities were a couple bad batteries, two trim pumps that needed pickling and two bruised egos. Needless to say, they were lucky. Other calls of similar nature have required dive gear and lift bags to salvage the boat. So far no one has been seriously hurt, but we all know how quickly this can change. The moral to the story is this; yes, modern outboards are quite reliable and capable of going on extended offshore runs. Yes, smaller bay/ shallow water vessels are capable of making these trips as well. However, these smaller vessels are not designed to take on poor offshore conditions. Low gunwales and flatter hulls don’t handle the chop well. Given the right conditions, things can go south quickly. I’m not saying don’t go at all, just pick your weather windows wisely and know your boat’s limitations. As funny as it is to see grown men wearing those orange horse collar life vests, I’d hate for anyone to lose their boat or get hurt. Remember…..Keep the water on the outside!

Underworld Bachelor & Bachelorette Gifts Menswear Small - 5x Costumes: Halloween, Mardi Gras, etc. Dog Costumes Incense Candles Lotions Glowing Neon LED Novelty Items Socks Shoe Shines Fun Classy Practical Island Shop 315 S. Alister, suite 106 (Across from IGA Grocery store) Port Aransas

Island Moon Newspaper  

July 1, 2011 page 13

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