It’s as if Dorian has been balancing on the pivot point of a teeter totter. If the high pressure system to the east moves further east, Dorian will teeter north. On the other tack if the eastern high pressure moves west or remains constant, South and Central Florida may get a face lift.
Sitting on the tipping point has paralyzed the ideas swirling around my brain. Unlike writer’s block my head is full of thoughts, not devoid of them. The paralytic force holding the words back is probably for the best. Besides, I wonder, what is there to say about such a ravishing storm? Abaco, a beloved island; an island inhabited by pleasant people of modest means; an island where thousands of sailors make it their winter home, or at least a stop along the Bahama chain. The worst case is that despite our prayers, Abaco, and its surrounding cays may be no more.
The picture below shows New Hope Harbor as it was before mother nature sent Hurricane Dorian across this otherwise pristine area of the Bahamas. The harbor’s peppermint striped lighthouse reminds all who sail into its tiny harbor that they are in one of the sweetest places on earth. The harbor is a popular mooring field and anchorage. It provides good protection on nearly all sides, save the narrow opening on the north shore. Sailors who visit from near and far take advantage of the locally owned shops and eateries. Will New Hope Harbor look the same after days of thunderous waves and howling winds? Will it remain a sought after harbor?
Linda McGarry, a dearest friend, was in tears thinking about New Hope Harbor. In picture perfect form Linda and the man of her dreams exchanged vows on the bow of their friends’ catamaran. Having the candy striped lighthouse in the background was like the icing on their wedding cake. That was almost ten years ago, on April 16, 2010; a day she still hopes to revisit in the years to come.
Another friend of a friend who owned a cottage in New Hope Harbor gave a sad report. Her cottage is gone. There is a video showing the water rising above rooftops while the rain and wind persist (I regret I lost track of that particular video).
Speaking to a favorite crew, Karen Minette, from our early days racing Hobies and later J-24s, we recalled the summer we met in Abaco. A group of our sailing comrades from Melbourne, Florida converged in the crystal clear waters surrounding Abaco. Some raced between Green Turtle, Man of War and Marsh Harbor; some snorkeled. Everyone ended each day with a sundowner. Whether it was a Margarita or a chilled Kalik, the sunsets were as endearing as the gentle breeze.
Two days ago, while Abaco was helplessly awaiting her demise, a sailing comrade, Annie Gardner, posted a picture of a weather map. Clearly Abaco was being dismasted. Next to the clip she wrote, “Sickening.” I about cried. Compelled to show solidarity, I wrote something, too. My words added nothing. She said it precisely. My heart sunk.
A sailor in Vero Beach has already organized a flotilla to bring supplies to the islands. What islands? Will there be an Abaco, a Marsha Harbor, a Treasure Cay? Will sailors be able to safely navigate the insurmountable debri now endangering the great Bahama Bank?
Selfishly sitting in my loft, at 7000 feet above sea level, I stare at the iconic stationary Spanish Peaks. Perhaps this is the wake-up call I need. Perhaps my new passion will be to use my sailing skills and my boat to come to the aid of others who weathered this horrific storm.