The hurricane is coming tomorrow. I have found that when I try to experience a hurricane when it is actually upon us, I don’t get to see very much. Wind and rain, fog and cloud. Often you can’t see across the street.
So I went down to the harbour today. Hours before the storm, though reports indicated there would be waves. It certainly was cloudy. There are new docks at the Container terminal, and one can go out (or so it looks) almost a third of the way into the harbour. On a cement walkway which is fenced off from the terminal itself.
Had I not known a hurricane was coming, I would have noticed little change. The white caps which are always present at one of the points of the shore were longer and higher. There was a lot of stirred-up vegetation in the water, and a noticeable number of jelly fish. In an hour I saw but two sea birds, one cormorant and one seagull. One ship went out and one ship came in. There was no excessive wind, and though the clouds roiled more than usual, not by much.
As I stood standing, one of the huge trucks which move the containers came to a roaring stop behind me. I though this odd as there were no container ships at berth. The driver apparently wanted to talk.
“Are you going to jump?”
I assured him I was not.
“Well – the only people I see standing here are fishing.”
He was on a break and had time to kill. All the while listening closely to the two-way radio which exploded information from his cab, he nattered away. There had been higher and numerous white caps two hours earlier, but they had calmed. The small container ship I had seen leaving (and I wondered where it might be headed, for it was obviously a coastal vessel) was going to the islands of St-Pierre et Miquelon, a small group of islands in the North Atlantic Ocean, south of Newfoundland and Labrador. He wished the boat well. So did I.
He talked some more (commenting, for instance, about the terrific view from the cab of the gigantic cranes). But he now had to leave.
“I have to change the fours and threes into twos.”
“Pardon me?” asked I.
“For the storm tomorrow. Where we have containers on the dock stacked three and four high, we have to level all the stacks off to two high. Don’t want the wind knocking them over.”
I couldn’t tell which ship had left port, but I did note the one which scurried in. It was a Research Vessel, the Western Patriot. And damned happy (I would guess) to have made it to port.