We were able to speak with Sidney yesterday as he was over in Freeport trying to gather supplies and tools. Given the situation he sounded good and optimistic. It is still very much chaos there and securing supplies and tools has been difficult, as has been getting back and forth between Freeport and Crown Haven. There is no power or water yet at either location and most likely will not be for quite some time. Things are still very fresh and it's too early to have a grasp of the overall situation. The shock factor is real, but they seem to be doing well given what has happened to them. The magnitude of the work ahead is monumental, but Sidney is already making plans on how to upgrade and better the lodge.
The airport at Treasure Cay is open, but the bridge between Great Abaco and Little Abaco has been washed out. When needed, Sid has been paying for the odd ferry or boat ride to get back and forth between the two islands .
Sidney said they feel lucky as it could have been much worse considering how badly things are all around them. Thankfully the lodge was built well and had a few feet of elevation under it which helped keep it standing. There is extensive roof damage and about 2+ feet of flooding throughout the lodge which will require a lot of work to fix this damage. All doors and a few windows need replacing. The boats survived and are accounted for, but the motors may have some damage, and the boats did receive some fiberglass damage. He was able to get his truck started, but not the van. So the silver lining is that all is fixable. But not without some major hurdles, one being sufficient funds
Some folks have asked about the mangroves and vegetation. Sid said that generally speaking the taller/upper vegetation is all stripped clean or snapped off, BUT the lower vegetation along the water's edge survived as it was under water from the storm surge for the most part and protected from the full brunt of the wind/storm.
He did confirm that given the recent move to Little Abaco and work they have needed to do to the lodge, they did NOT have insurance on the lodge or boats. It was just too expensive. Which is the case with most Bahamian owned businesses from what I have heard. So your contributions will make a truly major difference for them and their families.
Again he is optimistic that with some time and hard work he will be able to get things back up and running in the coming months. He figured even if you could get things in order for some later fall trips, he was unsure if guests would be able to get to the lodge conveniently, BUT this is an unknown as of now. If there is a will there is a way. Stay tuned on this front. I will be reaching out to everyone that had fall trips scheduled to discuss each trip accordingly.
Barring the conditions or unforeseen issues locally or regionally he felt confident to say that all late winter and spring trips would be a go! Which is great news!
So considering everything, we are feeling good and looking forward to rolling up our sleeves in the coming weeks/months to get things on track again. We do know that the fishing is going to be great when we can get back out there with them! This will all be achieved thanks to YOU and your very gracious and generous contributions!
Thank you all so very much! Stay tuned for further updates.