Hurricane Irma has absolutely devastated the Virgin Islands. Mark and I both want so much to get on a plane and get down to the Caribbean. It’s taking everything we have to stay here and do things that are actually productive. The islands can’t take us right now. There’s no where to stay. Very little water and food – and what is there should be reserved for the locals. Flying down is an insane idea.
Instead, with s/v Luna Sea on the hard in Savannah – and thankfully spared all but a little water on the ground where she’s parked, I diligently work to raise funds, organize donations and make plans to prep ourselves and our boat for the long trip down to the Caribbean. People want so much to help, yet don’t know where to even start.
Taking our boat down means that we will have a roof over our heads and self-provided food in our bellies. It means we can deliver much needed basic building materials – as well as our fairly experienced home-repair/remodeling selves. And that we can make our own water with our water maker and power with our solar. We can be our own little oasis amid the destruction. And we can become a part of the reconstruction.
I’ve heard so many stories of friends and strangers alike who’ve lost their boats to hurricane Irma. These are not just boats – these are homes, memories and sanctuaries – and in some cases, the very livelihood for the families. Where the Coconuts Grow, Mata Hari and Windtraveler have all lost their boats. Windtraveler also lost their charter business. At the time of writing this post, the status of Three Sheets is unknown -Mike and Jennifer are too busy arranging delivery of supplies and the evacuation of people to worry about their girl.
Several islands are simply destroyed. Homes are gone. Roads are impassable. Reports of looting are emerging. Water and food supplies as well as a lack of police/military presence are contributing to the unrest. We’re not talking about a little roof damage – we’re talking missing buildings, roads full of trees, vehicles and boats – total annihilation. Medical personnel are trying to provide aid. Private citizens are trying to evacuate as many people as possible. It’s completely unimaginable madness.
Stories of supplies arriving by both air and water are increasing. People are being evacuated. Donations of both cash and goods are growing and making their way to the islands. Military is arriving and putting a stop to looting and making the remaining inhabitants feel safer. There was a bit of a hang up getting donated items distributed, once they got to the islands, but that is getting sorted out. People are starting to get word that help is coming – and that provides hope. Hope is critical.
We are currently raising funds via PayPal. If you’d like to contribute, PLEASE DO. Any amount helps. I am in contact with multiple people who are organizing donations, including Sailors Helping. While we hope water/food/transportation issues are completed before we arrive sometime in November, there will be no shortage of need in the rebuilding process.
I’m compiling a list of needed rebuild/repair items, and while I expect it to change a bit as Nov 1st gets closer (our departure date), here are the basics we hope to gather:
⚓️ Large, heavy duty tarps
⚓️ Duct Tape
⚓️ Small hand tools – hammers, saws, etc
⚓️ Roofing nails, screws
⚓️ Bug spray, mosquito netting
Again – I expect this list to morph and change. I will do an updated list as the time gets closer. But if for some random, weird reason you happen to hoard any of these items (no judgements ?) let me know, and we’ll stash as many of them aboard Luna Sea as we can.
As I mentioned up there ↑ , we are planning to leave November 1st. This is totally insurance dependent. Our insurance requires us to be north of 31 degrees – roughly Brunswick, GA, until the end of hurricane season. While we are so anxious to hit the water and get busy helping, we ARE only half way thru hurricane season. So we will sit tight, provision, finish boat projects, gather supplies and money for the islands, and work with other boats to get all this stuff south.
How YOU Can Help US Help
Donate to our PayPal – I realize it’s weird to donate to our personal PayPal – but this ensures there are no fees, and 100% can be spent on post-Hurricane Irma supplies for the islands. We’re not asking for help with fuel, etc – we were already planning to head for the Caribbean. We just need help getting the needed items to take with us. Once Luna Sea is full, the remaining cash will remain in the account. The plan is to get the first delivery done, then buy more supplies in Puerto Rico. The needs will evolve, and the list will change. Cash on-hand will be critical.
Donate Needed Goods – We already have an offer of a chain saw. Do you have construction grade screws and nails? Giant, heavy duty tarps? Let me know, and we’ll get them from you and take them with us, as space allows!
Follow on FB – Check out our Facebook Page. I’m constantly sharing information, including other ways to donate and/or help the islanders. And again, please Share the information. So many sailors are working diligently – it’s impossible for me to get all of that information into a single blog post.
As with our Budget posts, I will share the details with you. I’ve gathered $450 so far, with promises of more now that Hurricane Irma has passed. (People were understandably waiting to make donations until they knew if they, too, would need to rebuild here in the States). I will post receipts and pictures. But again – check my Facebook page if you’d like to contribute to a 501c organization for the tax deduction.
And finally, Thank You. Thank you all for checking on us. For donating as soon as I posted a link to PayPal. For sharing our posts to get the word out. For sending us links to resources for others. And for helping in so many ways. It will take ALL OF US gathering together to get these beautiful islands rebuilt.