Cyclone Carlos…and Essence of Cat

Tropical Cyclone Carlos was only a Category 1, but it gave the boats in the Darwin Harbour a hard time! Tuesday night was pretty bad…extremely strong winds had Sonofagun bouncing and tugging on its mooring lines pretty much all night. You sit up all night, unable to do anything but watch and wait and hope the old hawsers don’t fray or snap…fills you with a kind of vague, undirected dread, not knowing what may happen in the next minute, and then the next minute…

Fourteen years ago, while on the tiny island of Malapacao in Palawan—smack in the path of the wrathful Typhoon Norming, (which flattened the island, stripped the leaves off every tree, sent tables and solid timber doors flying like magic carpets through the air, made the walls of our house suck in and belly out, like it was breathing, and screwed hundred-foot coconut palms in half, like paper twists to light fires with)—I wrote in my journal, “You’re sure that the typhoon can’t get any worse, and then it does: the terror goes up another notch, and then another…”

We’ve both been through far worse cyclones than Carlos, but you never really know how severe the current cyclone (or typhoon) is, until it’s actually over. And until it’s over, you remain as tightly wound and as worried as you would be in the very biggest of cyclones—because things could turn ugly very easily. All it takes is one boat—usually unmanned, with rotten rope, or a deteriorated shackle—breaking loose from its mooring to wipe out a whole line of boats in a harbour. You pray that everyone else was as conscientious about maintaining their ropes and chains as you were!

Now that it’s over people in Darwin can strut up and down saying that Carlos was a miserable cyclone, a fart, a joke, a mere raincloud, and what was BOM thinking when it called off classes and issued all those warnings? But trying to predict what a cyclone will do next is like asking your doctor to take some tests now, and then tell you how you’re going to feel 72 hours from now. Weather systems are a prime example of Chaos at work, and if it was predicatble, it wouldn’t be called Chaos.

Anyway, it’s old news, so what am I whinging about? We pulled through this one. Cheers.
Chaos being what it is, the next cyclone could be on its way, all ready, and there’s work ahead…repairing chafed ropes and checking the chains. With a cyclone, you’re a beginner every time…doesn’t matter how many you’ve survived, the next one could be your executioner; you never know, do you?

At least the cat seemed cozy and slept through most of it, though he seemed a little seasick last ngiht, and didn’t eat much of his food, either. I like this picture, in particular…cropped it to down to the absolute essentials of cat lovableness: tip of tail, paws, nose, ears, eyes, in a nutshell.

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