Thursday (morning)-- October 2, 2003
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.8     Water Temperature: 61

Still no power on Sycamore Island -- no lights, no heat, no water. John Matthews reports that he had a conversation with a PEPCO employee this morning, who said that PEPCO knows about the problem and will begin working on it next Monday. Joe has rented a small generator to power his fridge, a few lights to see by, and the TV to keep the girls entertained. The phone does work -- but not the answering machine.

Joe and I put all the canoes back in their racks earlier this week and yesterday cut away the remaining limbs on the Captain's float and pushed the float back out into the river. Amazingly, it seems undamaged despite the two large limbs that crashed onto it.

Joe has been cutting the limbs of the huge Sycamore tree that lies on the lawn between the boardwalk and the canoe shed but there is a lot of limb-clearing work still to be done. Any and all volunteers are welcome.

Other than the power and the downed large Sycamore tree, the club is open for business and the weather is beautiful.

-- Tryon Wells, Captain

Thursday (afternoon)-- October 2, 2003
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.3     Water Temperature: 60

The most amazing thing just happened, as I walked out my front door I was greeted by the chirping and singing of dozens of songbirds. I was about to pick up the chain saw and start working on all the fallen trees on the island, but all those birds making all that racket stopped me in my tracks. The first and most conspicuous bird I noticed was a male cardinal, which was a little unusual for the island but there were also wrens, chickadees, titmice, two different kinds of woodpeckers, and three kinds of warblers, including a black-throated blue warbler, all really close and at eye level! I thought for sure that there must have been a snake or something else that would cause them all to act that way, but there wasn't and slowly the birds worked their way across the island and out of sight. I was puzzled at first but then I realized that they were migrants heading south ahead of the approaching cold front. I guess it's the end of September and summer is really over.

What a month it's been, (seems like I say that every month) but this one was one to remember. It started out great with warm weather and the best swimming of the year. Things soon went sour though, when the sewage treatment plant in Hagerstown shut down and dumped 80,000,000 gallons of raw sewage into Antietam creek on Sept. 3-5. Then, many more beautiful sunsets and slightly improved fishing conditions and then Isabel began to dominate the picture.

My first hurricane! I had been warned by past caretakers that hurricanes were my main threat when it came to flooding on the island, so I took heed of Isabel early. I did a lot of things by myself; brought in the chairs and grills, brought in the swim float etc. Soon the phone was ringing with concerned members warning me about hurricanes and others volunteering to help me move to higher ground. My level of panic increased with every call and the media made it clear that it was headed our way so I decided to get ready for a fifteen to twenty foot flood. Well almost ready, we decided to wait to move the really big stuff and I wanted to be sure before I took apart the kid's storage-beds. With the help of some very kind and generous members we moved everything from the shed, the screen porch and my office and kitchen. Thank you to everyone that helped, it's not easy moving sixty canoes! For those of you who couldn't make it, you missed a good time, working together toward a common goal with the electricity of Isabel in the air turned out to be a fun island activity. September is over and the island is covered with mud and debris but the air is crisp and the migrating birds are here.

I heard from Pepco today. They plan to begin the repair work on the power lines on Monday, Yea!! I'm hoping to have power by next weekend, until then remember, no running water or lights on the island. The kids and I are looking forward to living in our own house again. The river has receded and I'm busy trying to get things back to normal, looks like a busy week ahead.