As I write this we are flying home from a week in San Francisco and a visit with our son Christopher. It has been a very long time since our last visit to the “other” coast and being there brought back many memories.
It’s been a week since my last post although there’s been plenty to write about. However, with all the destruction caused by two back to back hurricanes in as many weeks, somehow putting up a post didn’t seem quite right.
So, here I go anyway as Irma continues to churn her way west toward Florida with an expected landfall in the US, perhaps in the Florida Keys on Saturday. The expected destruction in Florida will just be the latest installment in what is the unfolding catastrophe of Irma that has already brought untold havoc to the Eastern Caribbean, especially to St Martin and north through the British Virgin Islands. The pictures that are beginning to surface of the very places that Brenda and I visited earlier this year are now unrecognizable and a sobering reminder of the power of nature, especially to those of us that make our home aboard for much of the year.
Many photos and videos have surfaced, especially on Facebook and in spite of my best efforts, I was only able to identify one or two places that were recognizable as so many buildings have been completely destroyed. This short video is of the Bitter End Yacht Club resort.It’s hard to believe that the images in the video are of the same place we visited last winter. This is what it looked like when we were there. Everything was in perfect order and a sobering reminder of just how fragile life can be. These hillside bungalows are nearly gone. I hope that it won’t be long before cruisers and charterers will once again be able to enjoy sunsets from these beautiful beaches. It’s going to be a long time until these communities and countries will be back to normal and it may even get worse before recovery can begin as yet another storm, Jose, is headed their way and due to arrive in just a few days.
The Salty Dawg Sailing Association, SDSA, is just beginning to consider options on what to do in the wake of all this destruction. Some of our members are anxious to get there to help in the recovery efforts and some may choose to sit this season out with them hope that things will be back to normal next season.
Others are considering different areas for possible landfall, perhaps in Puerto Rico, less effected than other areas, and some considering a run to destinations further south below Irma’s path such as Antigua. As a side note, I spoke to the owner of the hotel, The Admiral’s Inn, in Nelson’s Dockyard Antigua and he told me that they were not really affected by the storm, a far different picture than just a few hundred miles west in the BVI’s
One way or the other, the pull to head south for the season is strong for many if the details remain a bit unclear.
Surely, in the next few weeks plans will firm up for many as surely as work progresses on their boats as they continue to plan for a winter afloat.
I do have my work cut out for myself as well as there is still plenty to do to get Pandora ready for a long trip south.
In the mean time, I’ll be speaking with my crew, both those who will help me bring Pandora to Hampton and those planning the run south to the islands to keep them informed on plans as they firm up.
However, there is one thing for sure, that the power of nature is awe inspiring and that those of us that venture to sea in small boats must never forget just how small we are.