When we first heard that Dorian had struck the Bahamas we were on our passage down the Jersey coast. My Uncle Ken messaged me, but we didn’t have great internet service at the time so we weren’t fully aware of the magnitude of what was happening. We were shocked, and I was in tears, when we saw the pictures the next day. Even though we had only spent about six weeks in the Abacos last winter, we were enchanted by its beauty and friendly residents.
We’ve been talking over the past few months about wanting to get a bit more connected with a community by staying in one spot for a while – in the states and in the Bahamas – and we had decided to spend at least a few weeks on a mooring in Hope Town this winter. As of now it looks like that plan will have to be put on hold.
But what about the rest of the Bahamas? Most people watching the news probably think that “the Bahamas” are devastated. We would have thought the same thing before going there last winter, but we knew that Dorian spared the vast majority of the islands. Nevertheless, we debated whether we should go to the Bahamas at all this winter. To me it sort of felt like vacationing in San Diego if Los Angeles was lying in ruins from a cataclysmic earthquake. Jeff pointed out that our tourism dollars are now more important than ever (even if they do represent a tiny drop in the bucket), and as the days have passed various Bahamian organizations have been delivering that same message.
So we are definitely going, although I’m still not sure how that cognitive dissonance will end up resolving itself (we met a woman in Rock Hall yesterday who is also going this winter with her husband on their boat, and shared the same concern). We were originally planning to spend the winter in the Exumas before heading north through Eleuthera and the Abacos, and that won’t change except for perhaps the Abacos part. At this point well meaning and good-intentioned amateurs would likely be more of a hindrance than a help. But we’ll see how things develop.
In the meantime our hearts go out to the wonderful people we were so lucky to meet, who were unfailingly warm and welcoming. The happy participants and crowds at the Junkanoo in Marsh Harbor, and the kind woman who explained to us how the competition would work while we stood in front of her church (now flooded). The funny, soccer-obsessed owner of Abacom where we bought enough DVD’s to keep us entertained for hours during a two-day blow (status unknown). The talkative taxi driver in Marsh Harbor who told us they hadn’t been hit by a hurricane in decades. The cashier at Maxwell’s (damaged) that complimented my tattoo before we swapped tattoo stories. The friendly shopkeepers of Sid’s (heavily damaged) with the fantastic bread at Green Turtle Cay, who laughed with us as we bought all of the Hill brand Chocolate Cookies that they had in stock – you have to buy them when you find them! The young lady with the beautiful smile at the fuel dock in Hope Town (heavily damaged) who patiently tallied up our water purchases ten gallons at a time as we brought our jerry jugs back and forth, back and forth one afternoon. The funny bartender at the Hope Town Harbor Lodge (heavily damaged) where we ate fantastic conch fritters.
The places may be damaged or gone, but we hope that the people, at least, are alive and safe.