I received an e-mail from my brother today; most often we are giving him a hard time when he complains that the "Cruising Life" aboard their 45' sailboat is rough (but, of course, somebody has to do it). Other times, he says it's doing maintenance in exotic places.
Where the North Star was pulled out of the water a couple months back for major maintenance, above and below the water line.
Where that Other Storm visited just before continuing on to it's current 'friends', the Jamaicans.
They are alive and well, and North Star came through unharmed, even being "up on the hard" as they call it. So it's a bit long, if you're interested in it
North Star and I are OK, both are standing with no damage from Ivan. I certainly have gained even more respect for hurricanes after experiencing Ivan. They kept predicting that it would turn northward, and they were wrong. Ivan passed right over Grenada Marine. The waves outside the reef were huge, 25' and breaking on the reef. The wind was blowing against the waves making the breakers wild. Later the whole bay filled with breakers when the wind shifted to the south. This was the first time I have been in the eye of the hurricane. We (the security guys and live aboard boaters) were sheltering in the only concrete building in the boat yard, the bathrooms and showers. Thank god it was well built. The onset was a building wind out of the north. It built up to 90 mph or so before boats started falling over but once it started it was pretty wild. Top speed was 120mph according to the airport. The big boats went over first and went one at a time...not domino effect. All told 31 or so boats ended up off their stands with various levels of damage. Lots have broken masts and rigs, a few have actual holes in the hull. When the eye arrived me and Bob on Windshadow went out and tightened up his poppets (braces holding up the boat) and them my poppets. I also fixed poppets on the three boats that could fall on
me. We ran back to the bathroom just before the wind started from the south. I went from 20 mph in the eye to 120 out of the south. This started taking roofs of the yard buildings. Tin roofs make a horrendous racket when they fly off. Walls don't sound so good either. Things were flying all over the place as we hid inside the doors and watched. The kitchen sink blew out of the restaurant with dishes in it...the dishes stayed in the sink and didn't break! One big 47' cat blew up onto it's side and stayed there until the wind shifted then it slammed down and broke the mast off. We were very lucky and nobody watching had any real damage to their boats, they all stayed upright.
Our feeling of lucky wore off the next day as we talked to the locals. So many people lost their roofs and many their whole house that it is hard to stay cheerful. Rachel the office manager showed up, she lost her roof, her mom lost her roof and so on. Cutty the cab driver who picked us up from the airport and made sure that Kay got on her plane lost his whole house. As I walked up the street to the main intersection I could see houses that I never saw before, all the trees were blown down. 30 to 40 percent of the houses were damaged. We stopped to talk to an old woman that we had visited before. She was still upbeat, still kind and caring how we made out. Her roof was gone except over one room. Judy the cook was staying at her "aunty's" house because it had a roof, her mom was staying there also. This is a 4 room house with about 8 kids and 4 adults in it. There is no power, no radio, no tv, no word from the government. One of the guards was listing to a portable radio for the news, when I asked him what station he said it's from Barbados. Grenada is totally unprepared for hurricanes. Even the ham radio operators couldn't get it together. Never the less people are pulling things back together. Families are helping families and neighbors helping neighbors. The roads are starting to open back up. I have heard that there is looting in St. Georges, the capital and largest town. None of that was going on out in the country. My heart goes out to these people, even in bad times they have a smile for you and care about what happened to you. I am heart broken at all the damage these poor people have suffered, but I have seen no tears and no anger. They will continue and things will be OK sooner or later.
I heard that all the other boat yards had virtually all of their boats knocked down. Three boats in Prickly Bay broke loose and drifted out to sea during the hurricane before the eye got here. There were people on board and nobody has heard from them. More reports come drifting in (its now day 2 after Ivan), Richie at Island Water World made out ok across the board. Nobody else working here still has a roof, several lost the whole house. Still the attitudes are good although I have heard that there is looting going on in St. George, the capital. 9 deaths have been reported so far, I am sure there will be more to come. Everything is still very chaotic here. I think I will be stuck here quite a while before I can get the boat work done and back in the water. A man with a crane could make some money, although it's still to early for insurance adjusters and surveyors. Obviously the first priority is health and safety of the public, getting water, power and housing back for the survivors. Today I organized some of the cruisers and we cleaned all the debris out of the shower and bathrooms where we spent the storm. We got buckets of river water by each bathroom for flushing so we have a better environment, it also gave us something positive to do. So far we have power at night, they run the emergency generator. This keeps my batteries charged, thank God for that.
John in Grenada
I am glad to hear he is all right. I am not glad to hear about the damages; all too familiar with that already. But then, there's that one passage in there, about John organizing some of the cruiser's and such... that's my big bro, and he makes me proud.