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Old 19-10-2018, 12:19   #1
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Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: On the Ocean
Boat: Hunter 42 Passage
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Hurricane Michael Report and Relief

Hurricane Michael has proven to be one of the most devastating storms that the US Gulf Coast has seen. The storm made landfall at Mexico Beach, Fl causing destruction and flooding from Panama City east along the Gulf Coast, including Port St. Joe, Apalachicola, and other communities in the northern Gulf/ Big Bend.. The intense storm continued inland causing damage and destruction inland in the Florida
Panhandle, Alabama, and Georgia.

We we have a vacation home on Cape San Blas, which is a barrier peninsula near Mexico Beach and Port St. Joe. Since many roads were impassable or washed out, we made a “relief trip” by sailboat from our home near Pensacola, FL. Our purpose was to check on and secure our property and to see if we could assist residents, friends, and neighbors in the days following the storm. .

Damage on Cape San Blas is significant to both property and to the natural dunes and beaches. Thankfully our property suffered relatively minor damage, but that was not the case for everyone. Since we arrived by boat, we were among some of the early people to return following the storm. The local marina in neighboring Port St. Joe has been destroyed, but we were able to safely anchor in St. Joe’s Bay and dinghy ashore. We met local authorities (volunteer fire) and National Guardsmen who were first responders. Sadly, there had been some isolated reports of looting. Thankfully most people followed mandatory evacuation orders - but a few had ridden out the storm. I can report that clean-up and repairs are slowly starting on the Cape, hindered by damaged roads, and washouts through the Cape. Basic foods are getting there, but gasoline is in short supply. We were able to donate several cans that we took with us, as well as other supplies, tarps etc.
If if any members happen to be in the area and can assist the communities affected, I know this would be appreciated. I am not sure how badly the storm affected the ICW in the area, but I’m sure channels have shifted and debris will be a hazard. We sailed offshore, and fortunately had few debris sightings.

Local authorities, volunteers, and our National Guard are doing a great job. This area of the Gulf is known as “The Forgotten Coast”. I hope the residents, communities and small businesses in the area are not forgotten after the hype of this event has passed. If you can help in any way, please do; if you are thinking of trying a new cruising area next year, or taking a vacation to “ Old Florida”, please consider supporting this area in the future, as tourism is a major part of the local economy.

Neil
(originally posted on SSCA.org)
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