Hurricane Maria just made landfall as a Category 5 on the most beautiful and luscious island in the Caribbean...I'm dreading what we'll find in the morning; it is likely to cause the same destruction that we've seen in Sint Maartin, the BVIs, Barbuda and other islands though hopefully the mountains will block the worst.
Dominica is a relatively poor island and an independent country. But their citizens have a lot of pride. Listen to the words of Dominica's national anthem by Martin--a local who showed us around and rowed us up and down the Indian River when we visited a few months ago. Beautiful.
You can see some more of that beauty below and in a previous post 'Martinique to Dominica'
Our thoughts and prayers the last several days has been with the friends we’ve made and the places we visited over the last couple of years. Fajardo, Calebra, St. Thomas, St. John, Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Barbuda, Antigua, St. Martin, and St. Barth—all seriously damaged or completely destroyed. Who knows how much injury and loss of life.
Now we are focusing on our own preparations as we await Irma in Palm City, Florida. And we’re thinking about the many friends and other family members from Florida and all over the Southeastern U.S.
Why are we in Florida? Linda and I recently left Rascal in Curacao for our annual trek to the U.S.A. and have been staying with my sister and her family in Palm City (adjacent to Stuart, FL). We live on Rascal almost year-round except for some time to see doctors, dentists, see family, and attend to an occasional business trip. We had planned to go back to Curacao next week but then Irma...
Along with millions of others around us, we are right in the path of Hurricane Irma. We could have fled north but decided to stay put. The DeVault family has been through four hurricanes in this house—and each time have upgraded their hurricane plan so we feel very secure. We are also not in a flood plain; I think we are 45’ above sea level.
All day yesterday and today, we been working steadily to implement that plan. Anything that can fly around has been brought in the house or tied down. Lawn furniture; outdoor lighting, potted plants, exercise equipment, etc. And most importantly, (see below) metal shutters have been bolted into the walls to cover the windows and sliding glass doors (it’s dark in the house now).
We are also prepared for what may happen after the hurricane: We’ll be checking on our neighbors and they’ll be checking on us. We expect that we will be without power for one or two weeks. We expect to not have running water. We expect that we won’t be able to leave the house for a week or more as trees and debris will block the roads. We expect to miss air conditioning...
We’ll use pool water to flush toilets and bathe; we’ve stocked up on food that doesn’t need refrigeration; we’ve got plenty of drinking water; the gas tanks in our cars are filled; we have two full propane tanks for cooking on the grill (and boiling water); and happily we have medical supplies and, not uncoincidentally, the house is occupied by an MD, a nurse, and a qualified EMT!
I’m sure it will be pretty terrifying as the hurricane passes through but I’m confident we’ll be safe. The house was built after Hurricane Andrew and after they improved the building code.
We know and appreciate that we are very fortunate to be in a home like this with a family like this. They are terrific. We also know that a lot of lives are going to be changed by Irma and Harvey and maybe even Jose (following close behind.) Who knows what effect on the economy; who knows what effect on our politics or our nation. Life will be different for a lot of people.
But we’re optimistic. While it will be challenging for everyone in Irma's path, it will create a lot of opportunity to build new and meaningful lives for people ready to step out and make good things happen.
I'll post on the other side of Irma--after we get power and after we've returned to some form of normalcy or maybe after we (eventually) get back to Rascal!
Video above shows Avery DeVault (my college student niece) putting up metal shutters and a panorama of the view from the back of the house (yesterday.)
The good news since my last post is that Irma turned north (as it is supposed to do!) and Rascal--in Curaçao--is well out of harm's way. The bad news? Looking more and more like Miami will take a direct hit from a Category 4 or 5 hurricane (after pummeling the BVI's, USVI's, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and Cuba, among other islands.) All the 'spaghetti' models like this one below (showing probable courses) end up averaging a direct hit on Miami that will continue north through the heart of Florida. Could change for the better tomorrow. Hope against hope that all the computer modeling by tomorrow will follow that lonesome orange track (the one most easterly) out to sea!
Rick and Linda Grimes bought a sailboat and left the U S of A for the Caribbean in 2015.