Wow, Jody her husband Peter, baby boy Brig, and their furry four-legged little girl, Betsy used to live aboard a 42′ sailboat based in the British Virgin Islands but unfortunately hurricane Irma made a direct hit totally destroying their boat and the island. You can follow the harrowing story on their Facebook page when Jody and the baby left her husband and their dog while he tried to save the boat and dodge the storm. It is so sad. But luckily for them the family is intact and their boat was insured. With time hopefully they can rebuild. You can read her latest blog post about what happened below and she provided many links if you wish to help the people of the Caribbean rebuild from this horrible tragedy:
From the blog Where the Coconuts Grow:
Our worst nightmare came true.
Peter, Betsy and our boat were in the BVI, in the path of a historical Category 5 direct hit from Hurricane Irma on September 6th, 2017.
(Islands outlined in purple in the photo above are the USVI. Road Town is the main city on Tortola, part of the British Virgin Islands, Northwest of the eye)
Brig and I had flown off island two days prior “just in case” while Peter stayed behind to secure our boat as well as our employer’s work boats in a mad dash to protect both our home and our livelihood.
It wasn’t until last minute that it was even an option for Brig and I to leave. Technically, Brig could not enter the U.S. without a passport. Since he was born in BVI and does not qualify for a BVI passport, we needed to wait until the US Consulate from Barbados came to visit in BVI to apply for his US passport. This only happens twice a year and we still had several weeks before the next scheduled visit. Given our circumstances with an impending life threatening storm headed for us, the US Customs and Boarder Protection at the St Thomas airport granted me special permission to let us travel with just a birth certificate for him instead. The day after we arrived in the states we applied for Brig’s passport in person and have since resolved the issue. If it wasn’t for this ridiculousness of not being able to get Brig a passport immediately after he was born, we would have either hauled our boat out of the water like we did last hurricane season and flew up to the states to visit family, or we would have sailed down to Grenada where statistically fewer hurricanes ever hit. This year, we made the best hurricane plan we could with the circumstances we were given.
Irma was only a Cat-3 when I left and we had no idea it would strengthen as much as it did. Not only did it grow to become a major Category 5 hurricane, “Irma sustained 185 mph (295 km/h) winds for 37 hours, becoming the only tropical cyclone worldwide to have had winds that speed for that long, breaking the previous record of 24 hours set by Typhoon Haiyan of 2013″ according to Wikipedia.
I watched the news on TV as the eye passed over the entire country of BVI with wind gusts reached a frightening 220 mph. When wind increases, the force is not just incremental, it’s exponential. I can’t even comprehend that… I’m so thankful I have the support of my family – but especially during those awful hours when my communication with Peter was cut off. I couldn’t even take care of myself, let alone my baby. It was absolutely torture for me to know what had just happened to St Martin hours before and that Peter was now going through the same unspeakable disaster. I was terrified for my husband’s life. Thanks to Scott and Brittany’s satellite phone, he was able to call me as soon as the storm calmed down enough for him to go outside.
During the storm, Peter and a few others hid inside a well-built home up in the Belmont neighborhood on the West End of Tortola, British Virgin Islands. The house they thought would act as a fortress ended up with blown out windows behind hurricane shutters and was stripped of it’s roof. Debris blocking the roads to the lower part of the island caused them to hike by foot over the wreckage in order to go anywhere. They had the satellite phone which they used to relay messages for me to post on our facebook page in the early days following Hurricane Irma, and they were also able to reach other survivors to let them make calls to their family and loved ones. With great effort, Peter and others that wish to remain anonymous helped facilitate several medical emergency rescues as well.
Read more at Where the Coconuts Grow
See more pics and how to help below…
HOW YOU CAN HELP:
Many of you have reached out asking how you can help *us* during this difficult time. You know who you are and we can’t thank you enough. Your kind words and generosity means more to us than you will ever know. If there is anyone else interested in how to help us directly, here are a few ways:
- Donate via the PayPal donate button at the bottom of our website (donations made from one paypal account to another incur no fees. Donations made with a credit card incur a standard fee of 2.9% + $0.30 deducted before reaching us).
- Donate via the YouCaring fundraiser that Stacy Najar set up to help us to get back on our feet. (Donations made with a credit card incur a standard fee of 2.9% + $0.30 deducted before reaching us. YouCaring has zero additional platform fees unlike sites such as gofundme). www.youcaring.com/wherethecoconutsgrow
- Use our Amazon Affiliate link at the bottom of our website! This is no additional cost to you but means a lot to us. If you click our link before making a purchase on Amazon, we get a small commission. Just save our website as a favorite in your web browser and it’s only one extra click to use our link before doing your regular Amazon shopping.
Very good friends of ours Darcy, Luuck, Stormer and Rio of the Sunkissed Soeters lost their boat and all of their belongings when Hurricane Irma made a direct hit on Sint Maarten, and unfortunately they were not insured. Like us, they are now staying with family back in the states until we can all figure out what to do next and how to get back to doing what makes us happy. https://www.gofundme.com/help-the-soeters-family
COMMUNITIES AS A WHOLE:
So many relief funds have been created in support of the islands affected by Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria. Here are just a few of the links dedicated to supporting the devastated communities as a whole:
Visit BVI RELIEF https://bvirelief.com/ to see links for multiple options for donating money and donating supplies, news, resources, gallery, and contact info.
Our good friends have also set up a relief fund to provide immediate relief on the ground right now in BVI. https://www.youcaring.com/bviimmediaterelief-943806
And another here: https://www.gofundme.com/bvi-hurrican-irma-relief-fund
Most importantly, a brilliant website was created just for people to search for loved ones and mark people as safe.
The SAFETY CHECK website is: http://www.bvisafetycheck.com/
PLEASE know that BVI is not the only area that needs help. The US media coverage has primarily focused on Florida but Barbuda, St Barts, Anguilla, St. Martin, USVI, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba, Turks and Caicos, Bahamas and Florida have ALL incurred apocalyptic damage from both Irma and Maria and left an unimaginable amount of people homeless and left with nothing. What makes it even worse is thinking of the combined damage from #Harvey, #Irma, #Jose, #Katia, #Maria #mexicoearthquake, #wildfires and so many other worldwide disasters all happening in such a short period of time. The fact that looting and civil unrest quickly spiraled out of control after these events is just heartbreaking when our world is hurting so much. Luckily most of it is now back under control. Everyone needs to come together NOW more than ever. Do what you can, however you can, to help somehow.
If you’re looking for more info on how to support other islands in the Caribbean that have been devastated, visit SailorsHelping.org
This post also has a very helpful list: https://womenwholiveonrocks.com/how-you-can-help-the-islan…/
If you want to help but aren’t able to donate, please share this post!
Our worst nightmare came true. Peter, Betsy and our boat were in the BVI, in the path of a historical Category 5 direct hit from Hurricane Irma on September 6th, 2017. (Islands outlined in purple in the photo above are the USVI. Road Town is the main city on Tortola, part of the British Virgin Islands, …