As I sit in the gazebo of the Outer Edge Grill in Clarencetown, Long Island in the Bahamas admiring the various shades of turquoise water and the hint of a turquoise hue in the sky from the extensive shallow banks to the west I can’t help but wonder what I was thinking when a couple weeks ago I mentioned to Chrissy that we could just sail directly from Puerto Rico to North Carolina.
The outer Bahamian Islands really are stunning and have little in resemblance to their capital, Nassau. The people here are extremely helpful and friendly, the atmosphere definitely laid back and we haven’t found nicer beaches or clearer water anywhere in our travels so far.
Now step back a few months to last fall when we were working our way along the East River next to Manhattan. Mom had just confirmed she would fly into visit the next morning and Chrissy’s parents were in the process of booking their travel plans. Then we picked up our email weather forecast to learn that hurricane Joaquin was moving up the east coast. Our weather forecaster noted that the relative positions of high and low pressure systems in our region were eerily similar to those that had pulled Hurricane Sandy into the Hudson River basin causing major destruction just a couple years before. Not very uplifting news to find out you’ve just spent 5+ days of straight travel from Cape Breton to potentially put yourself directly in the path of the storm.
We contemplated options of back tracking into Long Island sound or moving as far up the Hudson River as possible, estimating how much time we would need to do so once the projected path was clearer. In the end we were fortunate as a couple days later it became clear that it was not likely to impact us with anything more than moderate rain as it made landfall at the Cheasapeake Bay area instead. The US east coast experienced some flooding but otherwise, nothing major. Long Island in the Bahamas, where the storm was when we first learned about it, were not so lucky.
For Long Island, the hurricane decided to stall with the eye just to the east of the island (I believe), so instead of them facing the harsh winds and building seas a typical 10 or 12 hour period as the hurricane tracks along, they instead were subjected to powerful North West winds for much longer , resulting in even bigger seas and more wind, which decimated their fishing fleet that runs on the western side of the island, among other damages.
Having been here last winter, on the surface things look fairly familiar in Clarencetown, but we went for a walk today and noted the number of roofs that are still in the process of being repaired, including the government packing house that deals with the incoming shipments to Clarencetown. On one road the electrical wires along the south side of the road in the bushes baffled me as poor infrastructure until I realized all the poles on the opposing side of the road had been recently installed and the wire I’d seen in the bushes was the pre-hurricane wire. Apparently one of the small grocery shops (only one within walking distance) is no longer, so while we aren’t in desperate need of anything we will now be waiting for a few day when we head to Cat island to look for some fresh provisions.
As I write this I am somewhat surprised at how little the almighty google turns up about the devastation or the rebuild. The attention of the media, and the general public being rather short. Seemingly even shorter than my own short attention span.
Fortunately from our first glimpse it looks like they are on the road to recovery, but in our travels we have encountered areas that have been devastated by a natural disaster, only to have all their attention overshadowed by another somewhere else a week or two later when they still need the support. These countries don’t have the government stability nor the resources that we have in Canada.
For the sake of Fort McMurray, and the families that have lost everything, I hope the devastation there ins’t soon overshadowed. After our 4 days at sea it already seemed that the media coverage was in exponential decline when I tried to find out the latest. And the families still weren’t able to head home at that time to find out for themselves how much they may have lost.
On a more uplifting tone, we returned to the sand flats just south of the anchorage shortly after the tide started to flood.
Chrissy took the chance to enjoy relaxing in the sand.
And Magnus, who although he loves the water, much prefers to wade in shallow water than swim which made fetch extra enjoyable for him.
And I’d be lying if I said a view like this from the cockpit gets tiring.
Embrace every day. You never know when things might change.