Showing posts with label Blackout. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Blackout. Show all posts

Friday, July 9, 2010

Out of the Frying Pan

The last entry fondly described our summer home, a boat. One of the motivations for having this “home” is to leave Florida during the hot, hurricane prone season, and be in Connecticut where there are normally cool evenings, especially on the water. So, we drove 1,250 miles to our boat and to the worst heat wave in almost ten years, reaching 100 F during the peak of the afternoon. Florida was 15 degrees cooler!

I remember several years ago when we were at our mooring overnight, astonished to watch the lights slowly dim and disappear on the shore, the last widespread blackout in the Northeast. Anticipating a repeat in this heat wave, I began to prep the boat for departure to our mooring if there was a similar loss of power.

First thing was to check our fresh water pump to access the 100 gallons of water we carry. Air was trapped in the system and the pump would not self prime, so that will need rebuilding or replacement. As a work around I cleaned out an ice container to hold fresh water for an overnight.

The generator, which is needed for systems on the boat, started up but slowly died as it overheated – probably the impeller needs replacement. Consequently the prospect of leaving the dock for an overnight faded as well. We got through the worst of the afternoon with no power problems, but as the sun set so did the power on the dock. There were lights on across the river, but not on our side. We heard everything would be back on in about four hours. OK, we can run our refrigeration off our batteries, and luckily, we had just cooked dinner so we had something to eat and we hunkered down. But in four hours we heard it would be at least several more. For the first time since our early boating years, when we were much younger and adventuresome, we tried to sleep in the 90 degree heat, the windows open, inviting a breeze that failed to visit. It was not only a hot night, it was silently still. One tiny DC fan circulated the stale air and until 4.00 am we revisited our boating past. I will have to reread my last entry to remind myself why we still do this!

Meanwhile, on more important matters, the AP just reported New cap, ships could contain Gulf leak by Monday. If this is feasible, it might be the first good news on this disaster, although I fear the damage to the Gulf will linger for generations. Lessons to be learned? Perhaps the same ones from the financial crisis: regulations are necessary as well oversight. And, the final lesson: drilling our way to energy independence is a myth. For decades we have talked about making the development of alternative energy sources a priority. The time is now.