Sept 24, 2017 – Post Irma

Finally made it back on Thursday 21st 11 days post Irma.  First few days after Irma hit were nerve racking from not knowing what happened. Only a few scattered reports but with no cell service or internet we had no specific news about our home and boat and the initial reports were bad. NOAA posted some post Irma pics about 4 days after which showed that our roof was still intact, the boat looked like it had been tossed onto the seawall and broke or twisted. We could not tell if the storm surge had gotten inside our just remodeled 1st floor. By day five we finally made contact with someone who could personally check it out and send pics. Vicki found someone on Facebook that was shooting drone footage and he gave us our first look. From his pics it did not appear that water got inside and the boat seemed okay just barely on the seawall. We were very lucky as a lot of people lost everything.

With some help from a friend who lives in Marathon we got the boat winched off the seawall. Using the leverage from two ratchet straps and a manual override on the lift control we got the boat dropped in the water and repositioned on the lift. Now that the boat was safe I continued with the clean-up.

Saturday afternoon I needed a break and wanted to take the boat out to make sure it shifted and drove correctly. Slow cruise 1 mile past shore and then put it on plane to check it out.  There was a lot of gulf weeds and debris.  Everything sounded and felt okay so went up to check out upper controls. Steering had a lot of play in it.  Climb back down and I notice steering fluid on deck and now no steering at helm.  Limp back in with a storm building just off shore. Got to dock and a strong cross wind made backing into the lift a challenge with no steering. Next day trip to West marine and Home Depot I got the leak fixed and ready for sea trial again.  Mission was to give the boat a shakedown but I also brought a couple rods and bait along. Boat ran great and seas were flat calm. It was like snorkeling but on the boat. The beautiful water was mesmerizing and reminded me why we love this place. Drove around enjoying the gin clear water while looking for current. With no wind and no current I pick a rock and drop some chum to try for something even if small. Got some small YT, mangroves, schoolmaster and grunts. It didn’t matter because I was back on the water fishing again. Did end up with a few keepers but only put 2 in the box for dinner because I wasn’t sure about our freezer. My grill was rescued from the neighbors bushes. I took out all parts from inside and washed everything down.  There was lots of wood debris and small foam balls inside. Put it back together and it worked. So I turned it on high and put the fresh snapper skin down with a little garlic and old bay.

Second pic is the house is on east sister rock, island rental house.

Next report will be all about fishing.

There will be months of clean up and rebuilding but it is still the Keys

Thoughts and prayers for all – Stay Keys Strong