Surviving a Cat 5 Hurricane

Hurricane Ivan, Cayman is under there somewhere

 

Having almost lost our old website more than once I have cut and pasted our Hurricane Ivan diary ensuring we don’t lose our documentation of this significant event in our lives:

Hurricane Ivan (11/9/2004)

Quoted from a Jamaican newspaper:

Grand Cayman began experiencing tropical-storm-force winds from the outer bands of category 5 Hurricane Ivan on Saturday afternoon, September 11, 2004. Hurricane-force winds set in from approximately 2:00 am Sunday morning, with the worst conditions, the 155mph sustained winds and gust of over 200mph, being felt between 6:00 and 11:00 am. As torrential rainfall lashed the island, roofs were torn from buildings, utility poles snapped and trees uprooted. Even more horrific, driven by Ivan’s monstrous winds, the sea rose 8 feet above normal levels and surged inland, flooding all that stood in its path. For more than 24 hours there was no respite from the pounding winds, rain and seas. When the last tropical-storm-force winds died down on Monday morning, shell-shocked residents began emerging to see the full impact of the devastation.

 

Following is our journal during and after hurricane Ivan:

Friday, September 10-We both worked until noon preparing for the hurricane. At 1:30 pm Ivan was to come 112 miles from us, so bad weather would becoming. Today is Eric’s birthday and ourselves, Andrew and Di gathered at Eric & Helen’s home for a celebration. Just before going to Eric & Helen’s, we checked the weather again and Ivan would now come within 104 miles. Getting closer, not good!! Had a shower this afternoon, the last one for a long time it turned out. Hurricane Ivan was close to Jamaica but not projected to hit Grand Cayman. We had an enjoyable evening and awaited the Saturday news. Hurricane preparations had begun as some felt it was headed our way and some felt it would be slowed down by Jamaica. No positive news either way.

Saturday, September 11-7:00 am we checked the NOAA website and Ivan has bounced off Jamaica headed directly west toward Grand Cayman. Storm report now shows Ivan coming within 60 miles of Grand Cayman. Now we are in trouble, hurricane winds will be coming. Ivan headed our way but no plywood to be found. We taped windows and packed up personal belongings as best we could. Wrapped up clothes, books, computer, photo albums. The day became more frantic as Ivan moved closer and more in a direct line for Grand Cayman. 3:30 pm an e-mail received from Susan’s employers, they are abandoning their seafront home……we should do the same. Ivan set to pass along the South shore and we will be the hardest hit!! 4:00 pm and our dock has collapsed under storm-force waves. 6:00 pm We have decided to abandon our home and head for safe shelter inland. Our neighbour Doug has invited us to a safe house inland built for a category 5 hurricane so we should be safe. 7:15 pm We have been making our house as safe as possible, packed up food, clothing, water and personal effects and are now headed up to Canal Point. Weather still at tropical storm levels. 8:00 pm Ivan headed straight for Cayman. We are settled in EJ Bodden’s house to wait out the storm. We still have power and watched a movie until 10:00 pm. Internet still up so we checked the latest Ivan statistics and it was ugly!! Eyewall set to pass over Cayman!! 11:30 pm Susan sent out last e-mail reports that we are OK. The storm has just begun increasing intensity.

Sunday, September 12-2:00 am The storm is full-on. Amazing howling winds and driving rain. We are awake most of the night unsure what is next. Outside is pitch black and pelting rains, can’t see what is out there. 5:00 am and things are worse. Canal rising, house flooding, winds unbelievable, like the roar of a jet engine. Brought all our belongings up from the main floor as flooding has started. 7:00 am and the storm is still full force. We still have a radio (only for 1/2 hour more). They advise Ivan is 20 miles off the South side of the island, frightening. Things are getting ugly. The house we are in is flooding up to 4 ft of water on the main level. Ceramic roof tiles are flying off the roof. Most frightening time!!!! The dog has peed and pooped all over the house and the smell is getting really bad. Cat wandering around terrified. 9:00 am Master bedroom roof collapses and water now on the top floor. We are all huddled in 2 rooms on the second floor, west side of the building. Winds are howling, house trembling….not sure what is next. We are ready to dive into a closet, not sure if that is the best place. 11:00 am The winds have slowed a little. Roof tiles still leaving and rains pelting down. The lower level of the house still flooded. 4:00 pm Winds are still howling, water level receding. We stood at the front door and winds still extremely strong…supposed to ease up by 6:00 pm but who really knows. We have all been up all night and hope for some sleep tonight. 8:00 pm We are sitting around drinking and wondering why the winds are still so strong. None of us can leave yet, we had hoped to only be gone from home 24 hours. Managed to have a Spam sandwich for dinner. Have not eaten today, no way to cook food. 10:00 pm Headed to bed to try and get some sleep. Winds howled all night long again.

Monday, September 13 Survival Day 1-6:00 am and Blair decided to take a bike and ride to Winterhaven to survey the damage. The rest of us got up and saw that all our vehicles were flooded and useless. 9:00 am Blair arrived back with news of total devastation. Winterhaven mostly demolished. Doug’s place gone, Polly’s damaged and ours not too bad….liveable for now. 10:30 am Blair and I have arranged a ride away from Canal Point to Winterhaven. Blair says’s OK to sleep in, so we head home. Drive home is surreal, like a movie. Total devastation everywhere, amazing. It took 1 hour to make it to Winterhaven, roads really bad and most are impassable. Sand, water and debris everywhere. Doug, Violeta and Johnathan arrive shortly after us on bikes. Doug is devastated at the damage…he has nothing left!!! They leave soon to go back to Canal Point. 12:30 pm We managed to get a cell phone call out to Bruce Kerr to tell everyone that we are alive and well. Amazing that we got a line out!!!! Afternoon: We have spent hours cleaning up our place….but at least we have a place. Ken and Gailya (Susan’s employers) stopped by to see if we were OK and we agreed to meet up tomorrow. They are leaving a security guard next door at Lois’s house to deter looters. It has started already. We started BBQing what was in our freezer before it rots. Had lobster for dinner, but nothing else.

Tuesday, September 13 Survival Day 2-7:00 am Ken and Gailya are next door and want us to come along for a ride to see all the devastation along South Sound road and to discuss future plans to rebuild. Their home is destroyed. Ken has many ideas and Susan is not quite ready to deal with this. For the first time, we saw friends……Andrew and Di were by the roadside. They have lost everything!!! Mariners Cove was washed across the road, all 44 units in the complex are gone. They spent the storm with Eric & Helen at East End in a safe house with approx 35 others, this after first heading to the Hyatt, getting a room and then being told to leave since Hyatt was not safe. Susan got out to talk to Di and broke down…..the first friends we have seen and it was an emotional time getting news of other friends. Next Blair and I discussed our plans and decided that Susan should go with Ken & Gailya to view the damage around the island and Ken’s business’ while Blair went on a bicycle to check on boats and the Grand Caymanian Resort. Boats are OK but Grand Caymanian devastated. Susan drove around all morning with Ken & Gailya visiting various business locations and discussing rebuilding plans. Susan is still employed so we can stay on the island. 1:00 pm Susan home and working on clean-up efforts. Blair home also beginning home repairs. Food supplies OK, water supplies OK, no toilet facilities at all. No shower since Friday!! Saw David today, he and Lesley are OK, also heard news of many other friends and co-workers who are all OK. Some have lost all and some are OK. Everyone is surviving one day at a time.

Wednesday, September 15 Survival Day 3-6:00 am Got up early to try and make a call to Canada. Reached Susan’s Mum to tell her we are OK. Island devastated but so far all is OK for us. Next Blair called his Mum to tell her we are OK. It was great to talk to family and tell them not to worry. They cannot imagine what it is like and how we are living. Susan spent the day at home cleaning etc, getting documents ready for insurance and making videos of all damages. Blair headed off to get gas. We have Ken’s truck since we have lost both our vehicles. 2:00pm We headed off to meet Jennifer (Susan’s co-worker) to discuss rebuilding the company accounting system. We did not make it because on the way we saw Doug unloading a casket from a hearse. We stopped so Blair could help and then stayed for the service. Extremely sad time!!!! Doug lost his son in a car accident 5 days before the hurricane then lost his home to Ivan and was now burying his son. So much for one person to bear! There are no communications on the island and no way to tell his hundreds of friends about the service. We feel so sorry for him and all he has gone through in one week. 4:00 pm Finally made it home and headed to the sea to clean up and have a good wash. No shower since Friday, this sucks!!! I hate camping and this is what we have, no power, no water, no toilets. Blair is constantly hauling buckets of water up from the cistern so we can wash dishes and also get the saltwater off ourselves. 6:00 pm After cleaning ourselves up, dinner preps began. Today we threw out all the fridge and freezer food, guess we are now on canned goods. Tonight we had extra food so gave some to Peter, our next-door neighbour. Tonight was potatoes and onions with chicken. Good to have a reasonable meal. No fresh veggies or dairy for a week now. Until we have power we cannot keep anything cold. Peter came over for a visit and some wine, we are missing social contact. 9:00 pm Set up a mattress on the living room floor to sleep, bedroom much too hot.

Thursday, September 16 Survival Day 4-8:00 am Clean up continues. Doug came by to pick up more of his stuff. He is leaving on a plane to Toronto at 2:00 pm and offered Susan a seat, not sure why I am not going!!!! Getting tired of no bathing facilities, using a pail as a toilet and no fresh food. It’s 85 F in the house and only 8:30 am!!!!! 10:30 am Blair continues to work tirelessly around the place trying to make life easier. He is scouring the area for any useful items specifically plywood to board up the holes in our eaves and dining room ceiling. 5:00 pm The day has been spent scavenging for anything useful. Kass told us to take anything useful from her unit #7 so we have more towels, dishes and pots which will come in handy for our rental unit. Blair set up 2 clotheslines on the deck and Susan rinsed clothes out most of the day. We still have lots of water in the cistern to clean. Nice to be able to wash some clothes before they turn mouldy. Get a lot done today!! No word from anyone at work. Blair checked the garage of unit #7 and all our stuff in there is OK. After a quick bath in the sea, we are making dinner. All BBQ food now.

Friday, September 17 Survival Day 5-6:00 am Up early and continued clean up. Had cereal and water for breakfast. 8:00 am Went out to check on insurance offices and nobody open yet. Went to CDL (Susan’s workplace) and determined not much to do there yet. Went to Cayman Corporate Center where we have a temporary office set up, no-one there though. 10:00 am Susan back home to start cleaning up our downstairs apartment while Blair went to see if Divers Down (his employer) has any functioning vehicles…..none! Blair saw our friend Brent today and he wants Blair to come and work for him in construction. 1:00 pm Susan went to CCC to work with Jen and Gayl to review systems up and running. Looking good….all backup data recovered. Next we drove Jen and Gayl home to West Bay, went to the yacht club along the way to see the damages and saw Scotty. He is leaving so Blair may have his truck tomorrow. After leaving Jen’s we tried insurance company again but closed. Next back to CDL to check-in. Gailya will get in touch with Susan tomorrow re what work is needed. 4:30 pm Back home and time for our daily bath in the sea….feels good. Had a nice hot meal on the BBQ for dinner.

Saturday, September 18 Survival Day 6-6:30 am up and going early. Had coffee for the first time today. Found instant coffee in Doug’s supplies donated to us before he left. Next we drove up to Silver Sands to get Scotty’s truck. We now have 2 vehicles. Susan checked on her car and no luck starting. Next stop was Eric’s but he was not home. Susan then stopped by David & Lesley’s. They are on a 6:00 pm flight to Guernsey for approx 3 months’ time. No choice, David’s work is there for now and not here, but they will be back. Their apartment in Treasure Island had only 1 ft of water and is liveable for now. 9:00 am Susan got home and headed right out again with Peter to join the lineups at the grocery store. We stood in line for 1 1/2 hours to be allowed in to shop. $150 maximum with limits on water, bread and milk. 12:30 pm When Susan got home from shopping Blair had been working hard around the strata grounds but had to leave and get Scotty from the airport….no seats off the island today….he’ll try again tomorrow. We can keep his truck for now. Peter bought a rotisserie chicken at the store and offered to share it with us for lunch. Susan cooked up some rice and a wonderful lunch was enjoyed. 3:00 pm Blair headed out to get gas from the boats to use in the vehicles since there is no gasoline available yet on the island. All the gas stations were destroyed and are unable to pump gas. Susan continued the never-ending cleanup. 6:00 pm Had a small dinner tonight after our big lunch with Peter. Nights are early since we have no lights to stay up by.

Sunday, September 19 Survival Day 7-7:00 am Coffee again this morning, what a treat. 10:30 am Headed out to meet Brent & Tracey. Caught up on lots of news and Blair talked to Brent about working for him part-time. Tracey said Gary and Barb are in Guernsey but does not know for how long. Drove Tracey to Jolene’s and tried to get the key to Gary’s car but no luck. Hope to get the key tomorrow. Had to give back Scotty’s truck since he still cannot get off the island so we are back to borrowing a truck from Ken & Gailya. At least we have one vehicle, but we are trying to get our own. 2:00 pm and finally home. Had a quick lunch before continuing the clean-up of the rental unit. Starting to look OK. Had to shovel out a fair bit of sand. 4:00 pm Andy K (a co-worker of Blair’s) stopped by for a visit. Had not seen him since before the hurricane. All of us are OK and in our own homes…great news. His wife Denise is a doctor and has worked 4 straight days at the hospital. 5:00 pm Clean up time in the sea before cooking dinner. Peter came over to cook his dinner also. 8:45 pm Off to bed since not much else to do.

Monday, September 20 Survival Day 8-8:00 am After having coffee and a muffin Brent picked Blair up to work for the day. 10:00 am Gailya picked Susan up for work. Went to CCC where Susan did the payroll for September. Felt good to be useful. We have heard more stories about hurricane Ivan…. the 6th worst hurricane in recorded history; 70 tornados on the island during the hurricane; 2 eyes; eyewall 11 miles wide; storm over 400 miles across. All of which just confirms how bad it really was and still is here. 2:30 pm Susan back home. No car so more clean-up done. Rained really hard so Susan took the opportunity and had a nice cold shower on the porch. CCC has lights and water….actually used a flushing toilet today and had running water in the sink. Funny how much this impressed me today!!! Pleasures we took for granted before. CDL has running water so it will not be too long before Susan can get in and clean up her desk. 5:30 pm Blair home, he now has the use of Gary’s sportscar until we can arrange something else. Hope to get Scotty’s truck tomorrow since he finally got off the island yesterday. Susan need’s to get around to the insurance companies.

Tuesday, September 21 Survival Day 9-7:30 am Blair picked up for work. 9:00 am Susan picked up for work. 2:30 pm Ken took Susan around running errands one of which was the insurance company for Winterhaven strata. Susan was able to complete the claim form and get the process started. Adjuster coming by tomorrow hopefully. 4:00 Both home so headed up to get Scotty’s truck. We now have 2 vehicles so Susan re-learned to drive standard and has Gary’s sports car. Not so tough as there are no hills here. 5:30 pm Finally home and headed to the sea for a bath before enjoying dinner which Blair has brought home from Castaways, a restaurant now open down the road. Can’t beat the food for $5 and no cooking!!!! We seem to be in bed early every night since candles heat up the house so we have no lights to read by. Some lucky people at work have water and power already…..makes me even sadder knowing that we are still days away from having either. Getting very tired of wearing dirty clothes and being smelly, hot and sweaty. ūüôĀ

Wednesday, September 22 Survival Day 10-6:30 am Up and going early. Blair at work all day, Susan back and forth between home, the insurance company, CDL, CCC. Lots of running around today. 5:00 pm Blair home, cooked dinner on the BBQand off to bed early. More places are starting to open each day to get hot meals…maybe tomorrow we can go out!!!!

Thursday, September 23 Survival Day 11-6:30 am Another day. Blair off to work. Susan went to Ken and Gailya’s top see insurance adjuster. He will come to Winterhaven next. 8:30 am Insurance adjuster arrived and we spent 2 hours reviewing building damages to all 8 units. Hopefully some further answers this week. 11:00 am Headed up to Canal Point to get the exact address of Susan’s car for the insurance adjuster. Stopped by to see Eric but still not there. Next off to CDL then CCC then back to CDL where clean up continues. 5:00 pm Went to Cristina’s house for a shower..first one in 13 days!!!! Felt amazing. Once cleaned up we went to Fidel’s Pub for a drink and then Castaways for dinner. Many folks out, good to see people again.

Friday, September 24 Survival Day 12-6:30 am Another workday. Blair working for Brent all day and Susan at CCC working with Minerva on accounting. 2:00 pm Susan went to the grocery store, only a 15 min wait to get in today. Hard to buy too much with no fridge to put things in and no stove to cook on!!! Susan next drove to Eric’s and he is still not there. Called Brent and he advised Eric left on Wednesday because his father had died. How very sad and one more blow in these hard times. 5:00 pm Both home, had a nice dinner with fresh meat from the grocery. Blas (a co-worker of Susan’s) dropped off a generator from Ken for us to use. Yahoooooo, some power. All we can plugin is the fridge, one light and a fan, but it is an improvement. Unfortunately too noisy to run at night so still no relief from the heat.

Saturday, September 25 Survival Day 13-6:30 am Up early with the sun as always. Today we both worked around our home. Moved all our stuff out of #7 garage and into #5 rental unit. Lots of mould on the furniture which needed to be cleaned off with bleach. We’ll have to wait and see if that works. Blair cut the bottom 2 ft of brand new drywall out of #5 since the mould was starting to spread up the walls. What a sad thing to have to do since it was just installed only 4 weeks ago. All those hours we spent painting only to start over again!!! 1:30 pm We took some scuba lesson books over to Cristina’s for the Red Cross volunteers who are getting certified by Blair next week. Since we were there we both had a shower, very nice!!! After Cristina’s it was more errands. Ran into Charley from Otis Air and he put us in his book to come and check on our a/c units and quote for new ones. Stopped into Tony’s Toys to see about a replacement car for Susan and looks like he may have an Accord coming in early November. Next off to see if the Divers Down jeep is ready for Blair. After much running around getting tires fixed, getting spare tires and changing tires Blair now has a jeep to run around in. Good timing since we hear Barb will be back on Wednesday and we’ll have to give back their car. 5:30 pm Finally back home. Blair filthy after crawling around under jeeps changing tires and Susan hot and sweaty….so much for our shower earlier. Blair’s arm is injured from the jeep hood falling on it. Luckily we had semi-frozen ice packs in the freezer which helped take the swelling down. It looks painful!!! 7:00 pm Enjoyed a nice dinner and quiet evening. Susan had a small breakdown. Everything just getting tiresome and wearing. Just so tired of being hot, sweaty and dirty all the time. No clean clothes, no fresh food etc etc. It just all adds up. We still have no idea when we will have water or power. Feeling really low tonight!!!!

Sunday, September 26 Survival Day 14-6:30 am Up with the sun. Blair off to run errands, get tires for the jeep, get scuba equipment for lessons tomorrow. Susan worked around the house on clean-up. Nothing fun in our life anymore, always cleaning up. 5:00 pm The day was spent cleaning and cutting out more drywall from #5. A fair amount of mould everywhere. Next Blair got a chainsaw from Ken and began yard clean up. Worked hard for 3 hours cutting up all the fallen trees in what is left of our parking lot. 7:00 pm Have had our bath in the sea, cooked dinner and now reading by the lamp from the generator. We run power twice a day to have the fridge cool and enjoy a fan for a while. We are discussing going to a hotel for a few nights to get a break from the heat and lack of services at our home. To have a toilet, shower and a/c would be a welcome break about now, but there are no hotels functioning yet. Every hotel on this island has sustained sufficient damage that they cannot even open yet. Of course, no tourists are allowed on the island but the hotels are needed to house workers brought in to help the recovery process.

Monday, September 27 Survival Day 15-Blair worked with Divers Down some today and also at home. We decided that doing going out doing construction work was not a good idea since there was too much to do around our own home and strata. Susan spent the day at CCC working on a computer with John of Cayman Data Systems, one of our sister companies. 5:30 pm Home, cooked dinner and relaxed on the porch. A nice breeze tonight for a change, it has been so still after Ivan. Police arrested yet more looters next door, still it goes on!!!!

Tuesday, September 28 Survival Day 16-One more day in the aftermath of Ivan. Both of us had busy workdays. Susan did not get home until after 6:00 pm so after a quick clean up we headed to the Brasserie for dinner. Seemed weird because the restaurant is untouched; full of happy normal-looking people and we had a fabulous meal. Just did not seem to fit in with our daily life. Susan moved work locations today from the roof of CCC to CBM where they have power and water and virtually no damage from the hurricane. CDL is now up and running there temporarily which is great for Susan to have an office to go to each day. Susan finally had internet access and was able to send out our first e-mail to everyone advising we are doing OK. Felt good to be in contact with everyone again. There were many messages for us of good wishes and concern for our welfare. Nice to know everyone is concerned about us……feels good!!!!

Wednesday, September 29 Survival Day 17-Blair spent the day working at Winterhaven and meeting Brent to get a repair estimate. Susan had a busy day at work with year-end being September 30th. Susan also got to spend more time doing e-mails to family and friends. Andrew and Di who went to Calgary 4 days after the hurricane have offered us their car until they return. Blair had to go out East End to pick up their car which was not a great trip with much of the roads missing, however we now have a decent vehicle to get around in since the sports car was given back to Barb who arrived on the island today. She and Gary left before the hurricane and have missed all the action. I hear their place is totally ruined and they too have lost everything.

Thursday, September 30 Survival Day 18-Busy day as usual. In addition to working at Winterhaven Blair was lucky enough to get out scuba diving today with the Red Cross students. They went North and checked out the state of the wall and say it looks in really good shape. That is great news. Blair really deserved this break from all the hard work he has been doing. Enjoyed a nice dinner and an early night again.

Friday, October 1 Survival Day 19-Today was a momentous day……WE GOT WATER!!!!!!! Fortunately, Blair was working around home when the water truck pulled up. He then spent the next 6 1/2 hours talking to and working with them to get us water. Blair convinced them to put their repair plug in the line past our complex instead of before. Blair also made sure all our lines were clear and valves shut off which they really appreciated. After a few tense moments of finding a leak, all was OK and they gave us water. Oh my, what a treat, we both enjoyed a loooonnnng shower and the joy of flushing a toilet. What a mood lifter this has been. Once we were all cleaned up we headed out to Castaways for a celebration dinner. Had a great dinner and ran into Paul and Andy so enjoyed a nice visit with friends as well. All in all a great day and a much-needed boost to our morale.

Saturday, October 2 Survival Day 20-Up with the sun and Blair rigged up the generator to the washing machine and we did our first load of laundry in over 3 weeks. Funny how a chore became a pleasure to do!!!! 9:30 am we headed to the yacht club to go diving. Blair had students and Susan needed a mental break too. It was wonderful to be back in the water and see all the fish still there and the reef looking pretty good. Lots of sea fans and soft corals down in the shallow water though. 6:00 pm Had a nice dinner at home tonight. Heard from Eric today and said we’d stop by tomorrow. Have not seen him since before the hurricane.

Sunday, October 3 Survival Day 21-Happy 12th Wedding Anniversary to us!!!! Had a nice relaxing morning at home then took a drive out East to see the damage. Lighthouse Restaurant gone; The Edge gone; Bodden Town destroyed. A very sad sight all along the south shore of the island. A quick stop at home for lunch before heading to Eric’s for a visit. Had a nice time catching up on all his news. Talked to Barb as well today. For dinner we headed to Castaways to celebrate our anniversary. Blair’s parents offered to send us to a hotel as an anniversary gift and to have a break but we have determined that there are no hotels even operating yet.

Monday, October 4 Survival Day 22-Busy day with both of us working. A big excavator arrived at Winterhaven today to start clean up of the parking lot. Good progress made and we can see the beginnings of the restoration. Had dinner while still daylight and had an early night.

Tuesday, October 5 Survival Day 23-Blair worked all day at Winterhaven and the parking lot now cleared and looking much better. Lots of sand to be moved back to the beach. Had another early night. Susan not happy again tonight, feeling frustrated at insurance, the electrician not showing up and repair estimates too low. Not a great day today!!!

Wednesday, October 6 Survival Day 24-Blair worked hard on the rental unit today and got one bathroom up and running with a shower and toilet both functioning. Awesome!!! We got our electrical approval sticker today……now all we need is CUC to come and hook us up. Susan stopped by the grocery store and picked up a rotisserie chicken so we enjoyed a very nice dinner. Good day today!!!

Thursday, October 7 Survival Day 25-Same stuff, different day.

Friday, October 8 Survival Day 26-Blair worked hard in #5. Tilers came in and did the kitchen countertop, looks good. Arranged to meet Eric, Brent & Tracey at Hammerheads for a few drinks. We all agreed that a fun night out was in order for all of us. It was really a good time!!!

Saturday, October 9 Survival Day 27-Still no power and feeling frustrated that cleanup cannot get going fully. House always dirty and we are always hot and sweaty. The nights are sooooo hot it is unbearable sometimes. Tilers are working on #5 kitchen so we both worked around #5 all day too. Lots of progress being made. Susan had to go to work for a few hours today, got a chance to do some more e-mails. Had a nice dinner and early night.

Sunday, October 10 Survival Day 28-Very busy day for both of us working hard in #5. Drywallers came today and put up new drywall….yipppeeeee!! At 3:30 pm we picked Eric up and went for a swim in the sea. Felt great to get out swimming again, it has been quite a while. After a quick shower we went to the Brasserie where 7 of us celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving. No turkey but we celebrated anyway. It was a really fun evening with lots of laughter. We all seem to be recovering from Ivan.

Monday, October 11 Survival Day 29-One more day….tried to get paint for #5 and none available yet. Hope we can get some in time to rent the unit out. We have rented the apt to a family from Edmonton, Jay, his pregnant wife and 4-year-old daughter…..exactly the renters we were looking for before the hurricane. Jay understands our inability to get repair/building materials and will work with us if necessary to get the apt ready for his family. Awesome!!! Blair had a busy day working for Divers Down. Still no power at home and no sign of the CUC trucks!!! BBQ’d dinner and had an early night. We are still under a curfew from 10:00 pm until 5:00 am.

Tuesday, October 12 Survival Day 30-Today marks one month since the hurricane and here we are still with no electricity and sleeping on a mattress on the living room floor. We are both getting tired of living like this but must deal with it since there is no alternative. Blair got our dining room ceiling fixed today since he lucked out getting drywall at the store, looks good. Susan needed to talk to her Mum tonight since she needed cheering up. Another hot night, no breeze at all. House was 89 F after work and it does not cool down much at all during the night.

Wednesday, October 13 Survival Day 31-Another busy day for both of us. Blair had a hard day chainsawing trees so we decided to go to Castaways for dinner as a treat…..close to home and really good food.

Thursday, October 14 Survival Day 32-The days become monotonous!!! Can’t get going on cleaning or move back to our bedroom without power, too hot all the time. Blair worked on #5 today and we also went car shopping and may have found Susan a vehicle. Dinner on the BBQ and an early night as usual.

Friday, October 15 Survival Day 33-Another day. Spent a few hours at the insurance company today getting Susan’s new car insured. We decided to buy a 1996 Windom…..nice car in pretty good shape. Went to dinner tonight at Mezza with Brent, Tracey, Dave and Kate. Mezza has just opened and was crazy busy…..fun.

Saturday, October 16 Survival Day 34-We both spent the day working on #5 and it’s looking good. Starting to come together. Had an early dinner and then Eric came by for a few drinks.

Sunday, October 17 Survival Day 35-WE HAVE POWER!!!!!!!! Five weeks to the day after the hurricane. The day was spent working on #5. We were supposed to meet Eric for a swim but we were too tired to go, which was a good thing because the electric truck was next door so Blair ran over and asked them if they could hook us up. THEY SAID OK!!!!!! We were on pins and needles for an hour as they worked on the line. when they were done Blair turned on the breakers one by one and we had power. Unbelievable how happy we are!!!!! Our a/c units work since Blair had cleaned and lubed the outside equipment. WHAT A GREAT DAY TODAY!!!!! We called both our parents to share the good news and they were all happy to hear our happy voices and it looks like we are well on our way to recovery.

Saturday, October 23-It has been 5 days since we got power and our life has improved as we got back to some normal activities. Susan started running again this week, no gym’s open yet. We had a busy week dealing with 5 weeks of laundry, enjoying cooking indoors on the stove and other regular activities one does when you have electricity. Blair has worked very hard all week on #5 and great progress has been made. Little by little more supplies arrive on the island to make life easier. Susan got her car last Monday so we now have our own vehicle since most of the loaners have been returned. Power goes out fairly often for hours at a time as CUC tries to get their generators going full speed. It will be a long way to full recovery. Susan’s company still has no power so no idea when CDL can start rebuilding the offices. Blair’s company starting to get ready for tourists when they are allowed on the island, still not sure when that is.

 

Epilogue-Hurricane Ivan has been an event we shall remember for a long time. We were so very lucky to have our home intact and very little damage when all around us people lost everything. It has been an emotional time dealing with all that happened, and we are glad the most difficult times are over. It will take months and years before the island is restored. Winterhaven will take at least a year to rebuild. Now that daily living is more comfortable we can put our energy into restoring our home. Thanks must be given to all our friends and especially our families for all the kind words and emotional support given to us. Nothing could be done to help us but knowing how much everyone cared and receiving all the positive words was a great help.

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