UPDATE #4 – 90 DAYS POST IRMA
December 6th marked 90 days post Irma. Becoming displaced, losing my home, business and income is one of the hardest things I have ever had to come to terms with. Time moves painfully slowly and since leaving the devastation behind and knowing how lucky I am to have had that choice has been hard on the psyche. The Islanders need so much and are still living in terribly harsh conditions, with hundreds of people still living without the basic necessities; power, water and the roofs over their heads. Most people are unemployed since tourism was the largest employment opportunity.
If you are able, please make a donation. Here are several links to help get the BVI’s back up and running
The Tourist Season
The first cruise ship of the season docked in Road Town December 6th, with 1,300 passengers. The BVI government released a video of an interview with the ships captain and our Premier. Several safari tours were seen out and about around the Island which is great news considering how bad the roads are still.
The Disney Cruise Line has decided the Island is still too devastated and dangerous for them to stop. They have re-routed all cruises through end of March to Saint Maarten. Apparently their recovery efforts have been faster.
Many of the Charter Companies are back up and running this month. The message is still the same. Our waters are blue, the beaches are beautiful and the beverages are cold. And of course, sailing to the different Islands is still as good as ever. If you are looking to support the BVI’s, I encourage you to take a vacation through one of the charter companies or the luxury ‘all inclusive’ charters, to which your every whim is catered. You can bring supplies and drop them off for distribution to the many on ground organizations bringing relief efforts to the locals.
We have finally heard from the Insurance company yesterday, 90 days after Irma, and they are officially writing off Restless Spirit. I have tried everything possible to work toward finding a way to keep and repair her, but it is beyond my abilities. My only hope is she finds a buyer who will restore her to her former glory, rather than being stripped down for valuables.
UPDATE #3 Week 10 post Irma
Week 10 and we are still waiting to hear from the Insurance.
I have been trying to figure out creative ways to repair the old Restless Spirit. Our friends who helped return Maggie to me from St Croix have been working with the Government and a salvage company to help clear the island of the broken boats, galvanized steel roof tops, cars, etc. They may have room on a barge to get RS to the States where I can find qualified professionals to work on her.
My friends who worked for Gunboat and who is now working with Croswait Composites put me in touch with their boat builder/general manager, John, to get his professional opinion on what is the best move for us regarding the boat. He has basically told me to walk away from her as I could run out of money trying to repair her, especially incurring the costs of transporting her to the States and then to NC plus paying customs etc before we even begin to repair her.
I told Maggie the new update when she returned from school and she was heartbroken. My poor girl cried over the potential loss of Restless Spirit, which made me cry even more. Moving on to Plan D (or I may be on plan Z by now) John gave me the contact for a boat builder in St Croix to see if they may be able to help repair our old girl, so we are waiting to hear from them.
We are renewing all our licenses and permits which are due. This will put us in a great position to get fully operational as soon as we are able to make solid plans.
We are getting a lot of inquiries for day sail charters from guests off the cruise ships. We have not heard the official word of when the ships will be returning on schedule. If all boats are returning in January, then it may make more sense to buy a new boat and get back down there and working. If they are not returning until mid 2018, then we may try to move forward with Restless Spirit. Everything is up in the air as we are solely reliant on tourists returning in droves to make our business a success.
We are settling into our new life in North Carolina. Maggie started Kindergarten and overall is very happy with life. I am blessed to have such an easygoing, happy, resilient, extroverted child. She is making new friends and meeting our new neighbors. She has caught up with her old friends at the Outer Banks, NC and of course, her beloved Aiden.
The end of the first day of Kindergarten with Jacob
Maggie and Aiden at the park
I am enjoying catching up with good friends. We have been here for two weeks and I miss our Island life so much. I can’t wait to get back but am enjoying all the benefits that come with living in the USA
UPDATE#2 – Week 8 post Irma
Here we are 8 weeks later and we are still awaiting for news on Restless Spirit. Our contact at the insurance seems sure she will be a CTL (Constructive Total Loss), but we have to wait for the claims department to let us know. We are still hopeful that we will be able to repair her and get her back up and running.
Packing up our belongings was made more difficult due to the massive landslide that occurred by our driveway. It took several days of hard manual labor, with our neighbors help, to clear enough of the road to get our car out so we could get to the grocery store and collect drinking water. We were unable to get the car back down due to the precarious state of the road. This meant walking box after box up a very steep hill to store our belongings at my neighbors house (see the yellow house at the top of the picture!). We were not able to locate any storage units that were not being used. Most of the storage units were rented out to locals first.
Clearing away enough of the landslide to retrieve our cars
Maggie and I left Island on October 31st with the help of the Kenny Chesney Love City Foundation. I was running into problems trying to get our pets off Island and these guys were able to help us! We will be forever grateful. Not only did they help us and our dogs and cat, but we rode with 25 other dogs and cats from the St John Humane Society to start new lives through adoption.
On the ferry to St Thomas to catch our flight.
Loading up the smaller cats and dogs onto the seats.
Since we have essentially lost our business, along with our boat, we are basing ourselves in NC for the short term to put Maggie into Kindergarten. We are staying with our dear friends who are our family.
The Island finally opened back up to tourists November 1st and it is a great step forward. However, living conditions are still very challenging, for most of the Islanders are still without power, water and access to affordable food.
Life after Hurricanes Irma and Maria
Thank you for everyone’s concerns and well wishes since Huricanes Irma and Maria. Capt Jeff, Maggie and I are safe and we were all on Island during these two massive Category 5 hurricanes. Irma was the largest storm ever recorded in the Atlantic ocean, with winds of 185 mph and recorded gusts of 225mph. The devastation was on par with an apocalyptic event. Then, thirteen days later, Maria comes by and the eye was approximately 50 miles from Tortola. This hurricane was one of the fastest recorded going from a Cat 1 to Cat 5 in 24 hours.
I made the decision to evacuate Maggie to friends in NC via St Croix. Since Maria grew so large and quickly, it was unfortunate that her flight was cancelled and she had to stay with her host family through Maria. Her second Cat 5 direct hit. She ended up staying on St Croix with the Hawkins family for 12 days until I was able to bring her home through the help of a humanitarian aid team, Angel Flights, who flew me to St Croix on their Cessna to get her.
Maggie, co-pilot, flying us home
We did everything possible to keep her safe. She was chained into her slip on 7 separate pylons at Village Cay Marina during Irma and was lifted up onto the dock. Part of the concrete finger slip on her starboard side is no longer there.
She endured a beating and I hope she is not out of the game. My plan is to get her up and running as soon as possible, but we are still waiting on the insurance.
Adventure Charters is NOT closing its doors. I am determined to get up and running as fast as I can to continue to offer the best ‘all inclusive’ day sails in the BVI’s. We do not know what the immediate future holds for this upcoming season as there is a lot of work to do to put this Island back in working order to get it back to International safety standards for tourists. The Government seems to be giving it priority as the tourist industry is its backbone and lifeline. Being on Island, we are able to see the daily progress, from cleaning up all the tree limbs, galvanized roofs and debris and are determined to help rebuild our resilient community.
I took the liberty of refunding every deposit through April next year since we are truly in limbo with the season and the boat repairs. I don’t want to hold onto your deposits until we get closer to the dates, as it is likely a lot of cruise ships are already focusing on new routes for the immediate future, and many villas and hotels are extensively damaged. If you wish to reschedule/book for the later part of the season, please feel free to contact me via email and I will take your new reservation without a deposit.
Face book/Trip Advisor
Although it may be several months before we can continue our day sail business, if you have sailed with us and have not yet written a review, this is a great time. This will not only be helpful to us to keep moving up the ratings, but also extremely helpful to the tourism in the British Virgin Islands. Please consider writing a Trip Advisor review by clicking this link. This gesture will go a long ways in helping my little company limp along.
Again, thank you for your continued support and I will continue to post updates to the face book page and here for your information.