September 10, 2017
We were in the Keys as we were starting to remodeling our condo. We had driven down Friday, Sept. 1st and Saturday the 2nd. Sunday through Monday (Labor day) we moved all the furniture and kitchen items to the bedrooms so the cabinets, appliances and tile could be removed, moved and hooked up the TV and internet in the bedroom, installed a lock on the sliding door to the bedroom so Lynn could inter from either side, and I removed all my items from my boat shed as it was getting old, and wanted it thrown away before any strong winds.
It was a nice trip although I was leaving Lynn for 6 or more weeks to be our general contractor and flying back Tuesday night Sept. 5th. It was the calm before the storm, and we were watching Irma's path hoping it would turn or lessen. By Monday evacuations were being posted for a lot of Florida and mandatory evacuation orders for the Keys. By Tuesday we heard of some roads starting to get jammed with traffic, some gas stations were running out of gas, bottled water was sold out in the stores and propane was also not available.
We agreed Lynn would leave the keys and she was debating options like staying with friends in Miami or she booked a hotel in Orlando for a few day. As I left I was feeling apprehensive and telling Lynn she should head out Wednesday instead of Thursday as she was planning. She also checked airfares but they were mostly sold out, a few extremely expensive flights or gone by the time you tired to book them. The hurricane was predicted for Saturday or Sunday but a lot of Florida had gotten evacuation orders and most the residents of our condo had already left the keys. Hearing about traffic jams, and gas shortages sooner than later seemed smart. Lynn made the decision to leave Wednesday and stop to see her friend Michelle in Delray Beach. After getting there she heard how much the roads were taking hours to go short distances and after an invite, decided to stay with Michelle and Scott to ride out the storm. Irma was predicted to go up the East coast but went more South and West and Went up the West Coast of Florida. Irma was so strong and wide though it covered most the state.
Our buildings did not sustain damage. The hammocks on the other hand lost a lot of trees. At least one window was broken and one walkway broken up by downed trees. The main tiki had minor damage. After the storm you could not access Sanctuary by car due to all the downed trees and there was no power for one week due to all the downed power lines. The Sanctuary board hired a tree company for the next two weeks to send in 4-20 men at a time to cut, repair trees if possible and remove trees that were down and would not survive. The requirements were that they have a arborist, a crane to move debris, could start soon, they would clear downed trees in 60 feet from the drives to help with regrowth and the landscape view and brace or trim any trees that would have a chance to survive and would move the debris to US1 where it would be picked up by FEMA. There were only two companies to quality and respond and the winning contract cost was $108,000 (or about $2,850 per unit by a special assessment), the second bid was over 200K.
Lynn ended up staying in Delray Beach with Michelle, Scott and their other family members for eight days as they also lost power and had winds of around 100 miles per hour in their area for a day. Luckily Scott had gotten a generator a day before and after the storm was able to run fans, run a refrigerator and charge phones. It was Lynn's first experience with hurricane winds howling. At least we were able to keep touch and she also communicated with her Facebook friends.
After finding out Sanctuary was not safe to return to and may not have power for a while, we made plans for me to fly to Orlando and Lynn met me so we could drive back to Michigan. I flew in Friday, Sept. 15th and we drove back Sat. & Sunday. Not too long later and earlier than expected Sanctuary got power back.
Lynn had given a key to the tiler who was able to start removing the tile Wed. Sept. 20th. and by the weekend the tile was removed. The week of the 25th the new tile was to start going in and Lynn had scheduled to have the cabinets 10/6, appliance 10/11 and workers return at the appropriate times to continue putting the kitchen back together. So, as I type this 9/24 we are planning on driving her mini-van back down Friday, Sept. 29th & 30th, with me flying back home Sunday, Oct. 1st. Hopefully the tile and kitchen will be back together by Oct. 12th then the next step of a template made 10/13 for fabricating our Peacock granite countertops, window shelf and backsplash. It takes 2-3 weeks for fabricating and installing so it might be done by Nov.