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Island Times Blog

Virgin Islands Strong: Recovery of Our Island Home

November 17th, 2017 by Seatrek Staff |
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As many of you know, Hurricane Irma, followed by Maria, passed through the Virgin Islands this past September. Captain Monk, Boswell, and Farva recently took a trip to the BVI to check up on our property and close friends down Island. We thank Farva for his heartfelt reflection on their recent journey. #BVIStrong #SummerCampAtSea #SeaTrekBVI #HurricaneIrma

 

 

 

 

 

After seeing the posts and pictures in the news and on social media after the devastating storm Irma had moved directly through the British Virgin Islands, I didn’t know what I would find as the airplane came in for a landing. As the airplane doors opened and my first glimpse of my home away from home for the past 12 summers came into view, any apprehension that was in the back of my mind evaporated away in the familiar heat, humidity and sunny green hills. Things were looking quite the same as always.

 

“Though Irma has done so much damage to the structures and land of the BVI it has not broken the heart of its people.”

 

SeaTrek’s recent trip down to the BVI was a pleasant deviation from how my time is usually spent down in the Islands. Our main purpose in coming was to check out our property after the storm, as well as meet up with many residents of the BVI who have become like family to us over these many years. The main warehouse at Port Purcell came through completely unscathed, thanks in part to the Government of the BVI who helped clean in that area following the flooding of the Aug 7th  rainstorm. Unfortunately, the warehouse at Pockwood Pond did not fare as well. Thanks to the herculean effort of Dale Nibbs, we were well-prepared for what we would find there. With the roof blown clean off, and the sheet rock walls blown almost completely down, it was quite the mess that Monk, Boswell, and I came upon. After extricating our poor fast boats out of the rubble, removing the frogs and draining their ponds that had formed, it was time to clean the warehouse proper.

 

 

 

 

 

The rest of the day consisted clearing out rubble, loading the waste into the back of our trusty pickup Mindy, who had survive the storm mostly intact, and disposing of the trash in the proper areas. Irma had also damaged some pipes so we were unable to get the water running to start washing, but after a trip to the local hardware store and a quick plumbing job by Capt. Monk, we got down to one of our favorite activities, cleaning fast boats. After giving the boats a good wash down and getting the help of some local youths to pressure clean the last of the grime off the floor, we packed everything back into the warehouse. Now sporting a new roof, the Pockwood warehouse will await our return next June to start off another adventurous SeaTrek summer in the BVIs.

 

Our time wasn’t all spent cleaning. We made sure to get in touch with many of those who have helped us out over the years – Dale, Alberto, and Frank – how they were doing and learn more of how life had been since the storm. Over the course of dinner with Dale and his lovely wife Brenda, she told a firsthand account of the storm. Telling us how as the calm of the eye passed over the BVI, many residents ventured out to check on friends and neighbors helping to relocate those whose homes had become too dangerous to stay in before the other side of the eye wall hit. Alberto talked to us about his work since the storm, cleaning up debris, helping to install generators to bring power back, and repairing what he can with the limited supplies he has on hand. As always Frank, our taxi driver, was in good spirits even after losing two vehicles to the storm. He is currently planning a trip stateside to purchase a new van to get his business back up before vacation season kicks back into full swing. While the experience of Irma will be something that no one will ever forget, the upbeat spirit and determination that we felt shows that no matter what, life is still being lived to the fullest.

 

 

The rest of our visit was spent exploring around the islands checking out some of our favorite hang out spots for both on and off program. We enjoyed meals at many of our favorite restaurants, breakfast at the French Deli, Lunch at Pusser’s.  The opportunity even arose to head over to Leverick Bay Resort, which while even under heavy renovations following the storm, was open for lunch allowing us to get a favorite local dish of mine, the chicken roti.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

During our travels around, we spotted crews working to replenish power to homes, and clearing out the felled flora of the island allowing the already green and spouting new growth the space it needed. Clean up is ongoing around the island but hasn’t stopped the life flow around the islands. Kids were heading off to school in the morning, stores open for business, even boats out on charter. Though Irma has done so much damage to the structures and land of the BVI, it has not broken the heart of its people, who no matter what will strive and adapt to whatever hardships they face. The British Virgin Islands still is, and will continue to be, a second home to me and many of us at SeaTrek – one that we joyously anticipate returning to next summer and many more to come.

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