In the nearly ten weeks since Hurricane Dorian, we’ve talked a lot about the helpers. And rightfully so.
Hundreds of relief workers and volunteers have put their lives on hold to come to the Bahamas to feed storm victims, raise sunken vessels and muck out buildings.
Thousands of kind donors have contributed funds, food, clothing, vehicles, construction materials and more. And the Bahamian people are incredibly grateful for this support.
But on Friday night, Tom’s news report – shot while we were in Abaco in late October – was about Bahamians. In this case, the residents of Green Turtle Cay who are working tirelessly to rebuild their homes and lives.
Until the 1970s and 80s, few Green Turtle Cay residents had home telephones. Most had to walk to the hilltop telephone station to place calls.
Later, the VHF radio provided a vital communications link for local residents. What it lacked in privacy, I’m told it made up for in entertainment value.
Thankfully, over the past few decades, communications in Abaco have improved significantly. Not only have land lines become common, but the quality of cell service and Internet rivals that in the U.S. and Canada.
But then came Dorian. And now we’ve gone back – quite
literally — to the drawing board.
A lot of blog readers have emailed to ask how the Green Turtle Cay Ferries fared during Dorian.
Prior to the storm, GTC Ferries had four vessels in operation: Bolo, Bolo II, Bolo III and Bolo IV.
With Dorian churning toward the island, the ferry company hauled Bolo and Bolo IV from the water and secured them on the hard at the boat yard. They tied up Bolo III in Black Sound and moored Bolo II deep in nearby Munjack Creek.
Today makes two years since we lost Eric Sawyer so unexpectedly. His passing was a shock then and it’s still difficult to accept.
I wanted to take a few minutes to remember him (if I close my eyes, I can still hear his laugh) and to send love to his parents, Brian and Caroline, his sister Michelle and her family, his brothers Ronel, Peter and Richard, and his thousands of friends in the Bahamas and around the world.
When Tom and I arrived on Green Turtle Cay last week, we were prepared for what we would meet. We’d seen the images and heard stories of the destruction Hurricane Dorian had visited upon this little island.
What I wasn’t expecting was how beautiful New Plymouth still is. Bruised and battered? Definitely. Still in need of help? Absolutely.
But, as the saying goes, true beauty comes from inside, from the heart. And the heart of Green Turtle Cay is bigger and stronger than ever.
Though some of our young people have left Green Turtle Cay post-Dorian, many remain. And on Thursday evening, local residents took a few hours away from the ongoing recovery effort to stage a fun Halloween event for the town’s children.
Late last night, Tom and I arrived back in L.A. after a week in Abaco. Witnessing the destruction wrought by Dorian was heartbreaking. Even having seen it first hand, I have trouble believing it’s real.
Some of you may know that Tom’s a foreign correspondent for Canada’s CTV National News. When he took a week off work so that we could get to Green Turtle Cay and check on Fish Hooks, he planned to shoot some video for me to use here on the blog.
In the end, however, the journalist in him took over, and he put together the following news story, which aired nationally in Canada this past Tuesday.
Over the past six weeks, Tom and I have received so many kind calls, emails, texts, Facebook and Whatsapp messages and more, inquiring about our little house by the ferry and how it fared during Hurricane Dorian. Until now, however, I just didn’t feel ready to talk about it.
Early on Sunday, September 1, as Dorian barreled northwest along the coast of Abaco toward Green Turtle Cay, we began hearing how severely Hope Town and Marsh Harbour had been hit. At that point, Tom and I made peace with the fact that Fish Hooks would likely be destroyed.
This terrific video was posted yesterday on YouTube by a member of Team M/V Adventure. Team M/V Adventure helped set up the Adventure Cafe, which has been feeding the folks of Green Turtle Cay as they attempt to rebuild their town and their lives after Hurricane Dorian.
I just did a rough tally, and over the past 14 years, I’ve shot more than 115,000 photos on Green Turtle Cay. And yet, in watching this video, there were entire street scenes that I didn’t immediately recognize. The amount of damage and destruction our little island has sustained is absolutely heartbreaking.
Once again, I’m incredibly grateful to Bruce Pinder of Da Salty Pig Adventures in Spanish Wells for permitting me to share these photos with you.
Like the other Abaco Cays, Guana Cay was devastated by Hurricane Dorian. To help our Guana friends recover and rebuild, please consider:
Contributing to the Guana Fire and Rescue GoFundMe page. Funds raised through this effort will be allocated by Guana Fire and Rescue to the people of Guana Cay.
Contributing to the Guana Cay GoFundMe page set up by Katie Hoog, girlfriend of Guana Cay’s Ricky Sands. Funds are being used to purchase survival supplies, evacuation helicopters and boats, temporary housing, medical supplies and building materials.