Monday, November 05, 2007

Adventures in Exuma

It's a little island that nobody in the news takes notice of. Homes get flooded and no one sends help. No media flock to the island. The residents just pull together and get through it. I'm talking about Great Exuma in the Bahamas and the wide spread flooding caused by tropical storm Noel. In rained hard for 63 straight hours. It dumped more than 50 inches of rain. (Don't hold me to these figures. I'm going by what I was told. I don't know if any official records are kept.) The local DJ drowned while trying to get to work. I didn't see CNN, FOX, Red Cross, or anyone with pumps, food or anything.

I arrived Friday afternoon. The rain had finally stopped sometime Thursday. My fiance was a nervous wreck when he greeted me at the airport.
This is the main road. This picture was taken Sunday morning. It was still impassable. He drove through this Friday. He was determined to pick me up from the airport. The water washed over the hood of this Dodge. He thought he was going to ruin his company truck and miss my flight. But, he loves me dearly and "come hell or high water" he was there. But, he knew better than to try the lake again. I get to the airport and he is trying desperately to find an alternate route.

Now, there are only a few paved roads in Exuma. The main road runs the length of the island which is approximately 20 miles, maybe. There were several sections that were more than 6 feet deep. Some friends of ours sunk his brand new dually and they had to be rescued by a passing tractor trailer (w/o a trailer). They stood on the fifth wheel with water lapping at their shins and watched as a Ford Explorer floated by.

Anyways, I knew that the island was flooded in parts but until I arrived I didn't know how bad. I met a lady on the plan who had her vacation plans changed mid-stream. Her flight to Nassau was delayed for four days so she decided to visit friends in Exuma. They couldn't get to the airport to pick her up. She was traveling alone in an unfamiliar place so I volunteer our services. So, my Sweetie is all stressed out and I arrive announcing that we are giving some stranger a ride.

Luckily, the residents had worked together and created an alternate route to town. First, we went through this little puddle.
Then through part of this one. We turn right just before the telephone pole.
Through, this brand new road.
Through this neighborhood. This picture was actually taken Sunday when I was returning to the airport. Friday, the water was half-way up the car. You can see the watermarks on the house.
Oh no, now we have to go down a hill and make a left. It looked pretty steep from where we were but it turned out not to be so bad.

Our poor "passenger". She was grateful beyond words but she was scared. We dropped her off at the local grocery store to wait on her ride. There were other people waiting too. The ones who weren't lucky enough to have someone brave the flooded roads for them had to catch the local semis and big trucks to get through. I'm sure this impressed the folks spending thousands of dollars to stay at the Four Seasons. Instead of their usual vans, Lincolns or limos, they had their guest take the trucks and the school buses. The trucks would get them through to the buses waiting on the other side of the flooded areas.

We had riders in the back of the truck all weekend. It was wonderful how everyone helped each other.

I'll have more pictures and stories tomorrow. I have a great story about our dive trip.