Oct 102017
 

The 2017 Hurricane Season has managed to leave a large scar on the Caribbean, as many of its beautiful islands have been ravaged by two major hurricanes – Irma and Maria.  It saddens us deeply to know that so many people have lost their homes and their livelihoods.

Many of our friends have asked how they can help.  To that end, and with her permission, I am sharing a post created by the talented (and super sweet) Chrissann Nickel, founder of the website Women Who Live on Rocks.

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Every new photo I see out of the islands that have been ravaged by Hurricane Irma & Hurricane Maria sickens me. Imagining how truly terrified everyone must have been during the storm and the dire situation the survivors are in now makes my soul ache. I wish I could take that pain away from our fellow islanders. I wish I could rescue them from the hell they are living in now. I am at a loss for words. And hurricane season continues to wreak havoc. My heart breaks for all those who experienced Irma and are still there, in need of rescue and basic life services.

I happened to already be away on vacation when the storms hit and have watched this horror from afar. I, like so many others, have lost my home, most of my possessions, and the island life that I loved so much. It is a surreal feeling – knowing that when I closed up my home to leave for vacation, I was walking away from everything I know and cherish. But I am one of the lucky ones. I did not experience that storm and I am safe in the US now.

The islands you love need your help desperately.

If you are a tourist who has ever visited these islands, please help. If you are someone who has ever dreamed of living in “paradise,” please help. If you used to live on an island, please help. If you are a fellow islander, please help.

*photo via Shaun Schroeter on Facebook

People have lost their businesses, their livelihoods, their homes, and all of their worldly possessions. They are in need of food, shelter, and evacuation. The situation is immediate and dire. The widespread destruction throughout the Caribbean is unprecedented.

I have tried to compile a list of ways you can help NOW for each of the islands effected. If you have additional organizations that you think need to be shared, please add them in the comments space of this post below or in the comments of the link of this post shared on our Facebook page.

Here is what I have so far, by region:

GENERAL CARIBBEAN

Caribbean Tourism Organization

Global Giving

Sailors Helping

OXFAM

CDEMA

Center for Disaster Philanthropy

Save the Children

Direct Relief

Samaritan’s Purse

Caribbean Rotary Clubs

Help Resort Staff Throughout the Caribbean

Donate via Apple Store (How To)

Irma Aftermath

ShelterBox

All Hands Volunteers

Sandals Foundation

ARK / BWA Aide

ANGUILLA

Anguilla Go Fund Me

Help Anguilla Rebuild Now

Anguilla Help

Help Rebuild Seaside Stables Anguilla

ANTIGUA & BARBUDA

Halo Foundation – Barbuda Relief Effort

Barbuda Go Fund Me

Barbuda Recovery

Barbuda Hurricane Animals

Antigua & Barbuda Red Cross

CUBA

Help Cuban Animals

DOMINICA

Dominica Go Fund Me

UrtheRootz Mission: Rebuild Dominica

PUERTO RICO

Vieques Love

Vieques Citizens

Puerto Rico Real Time Recovery Fund

NVOAD Volunteers

Save the Children – Puerto Rico

Acacia Puerto Rico

United for Puerto Rico

Friends of Puerto Rico

ST BARTH

St. Barth Disaster Relief Fund

St. Barth Go Fund Me

Gustavia Relief Fund

ST MARTIN / ST MAARTEN

St Maarten Go Fund Me

Rebuild SXM

Dutch Sister Islands Fund

French St. Martin

Goisco

SXM Paws – Animal Relief Fund

St. Maarten Hurricane Relief

THE BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS

BVI Relief Fund

Virgin Unite Community Support Appeal

Jost Van Dyke Go Fund Me

BVI Government via Pledgeling

Three Sheets Sailing – Accepting Mailed Donations

BVI Go Fund Me

BVI Immediate Relief – You Caring

Virgin Gorda Community – You Caring

Amazon BVI Pets Wish List

JVD Strong

BVI Strong Apparel

Jost Van Dyke Preservation Society

BVI Volunteers

THE US VIRGIN ISLANDS

Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands

St. John Community Foundation

Virgin Islands Relief

Irma Relief for our Sister Islands

Love for Love City by Kenny Chesney

St. John Rescue

Art for Love City

Gifft Hill School

Tim Duncan VI Relief

USVI “Adopt a Family”

United Way USVI

My Brother’s Workshop

USVI Amazon Wish List

ReVIve the VI

St. John Go Fund Me

Patient Assist VI

USVI Recovery

Animal Evacuation

TURKS & CAICOS

Turks & Caicos Go Fund Me

Turks & Caicos You Caring

Turks & Caicos Just Giving

Friends of Beaches – Turks & Caicos

THE BAHAMAS

Bahamas Humane Society

Bahamas – You Caring

I know this is overwhelming. There are so many places that need help. But contributing literally ANYTHING that you can is what counts. And if you can keep contributing over time (add it to your monthly budget!), that would be even better. Pick one, pick several!

*photo via Brittany Meyers on Facebook

Please share this with everyone that has ever been touched by these beautiful islands – even if it’s just through a screensaver.

Additionally, keeping these islands and their people at the forefront of the media is essential. People quickly forget, but these islands will need help in the long haul. Any news coverage you are able to obtain to feature the islands in need would be incredibly helpful. Think local, think global.

Thank you for caring. The islands will come back to their glory one day. Now’s the time to point them in that direction.

Oct 312012
 

I apologize for the lack of posts this week. Like many in Hurricane Sandy’s path, we have been powerless since Monday. My thoughts are with all of those affected by Sandy. She didn’t play nice, and we will have a lot of work to do in her aftermath. Please stay safe, and for those without power- stay warm.

On another note, I’d like to send a special birthday message to my mother-in-law Connie. I regret that we didn’t get to celebrate with you today. You have a “rain check”, or rather, a “hurricane check”.

Aug 302011
 

The topic of hurricanes is fresh in my mind (unfortunately).  Irene has come and gone, and we are still cleaning up the mess that she left in her wake.

Many people ask about traveling to the Caribbean during hurricane season.  Is it safe?  Which islands are most affected?  Are there any benefits to visiting this time of year?  Of course, nobody can tell you if your future trip will be affected by a hurricane, but it helps if you know some basic facts, as well as the pros and cons.

Hurricane Season

The official Caribbean hurricane season is from June 1st through November 30th.  Some months are known to have more hurricane activity than others.  October is the most likely month for a hurricane.  The other months with the most hurricane activity are August and September.  July is the least likely month for a hurricane.

Island Geography

Did you know that some Caribbean islands lie outside of the Caribbean hurricane belt?  It’s true!  The Dutch ABC islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao do not experience hurricanes due to their southern locations (they can experience extreme tropical storms though).  There are other southern Caribbean islands where hurricanes are more rare and tend to be less severe.  These are Grenada, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago.  The Bahamas have the unfortunate distinction of being the islands hit most often by Caribbean hurricanes.

A Bonaire Sunset

A Bonaire Sunset

Hurricane Guarantees

Some travel sites, agencies and resorts offer hurricane guarantees.  Cheapcaribbean, for instance, has a complimentary Hurricane and Weather Protection Plan, which is automatically added when you book.  My best advise on this topic is to read the fine print.  Some of the resorts offer a future credit and not a full refund.  Know the policy before you book.

 My Personal Thoughts

I frequently travel to the Caribbean during hurricane season.  I actually prefer it.  Am I crazy?  Well, maybe.  But there are some very legitimate reasons why I choose to do so.

1)   Crowds (or lack thereof)

I love a deserted beach!  And while I don’t always find my desert island, I can tell you that this crowd loathing person is much happier when avoiding peak season.  Other travelers’ fear of hurricane season works to my advantage.

2)   Value/Cost

Who doesn’t want to take advantage of the lowest hotel rates and airfares?  Also, many of the islands’ tourism boards run specials to attract visitors during hurricane season.  These include items like restaurant, shopping and activity vouchers ($10 parasailing anyone?).  You may also find that many hotels throw in extras such as complimentary breakfasts.

3)   Water temperature

I don’t do well with cold.  And my definition of cold probably doesn’t match yours.  To me, cold is a water temperature below 79 F (26 C).  The warmest Caribbean water temperatures happen to coincide with hurricane season.  As long as I travel during hurricane season, I can forgo swimming with a drysuit (complete with hood and gloves).

There are some situations where I would advise thinking twice about a trip during hurricane season.  Trips that are taken to celebrate major life events such as honeymoons, anniversaries and milestone birthdays are stressful enough to plan.  Why worry about a hurricane ruining your special occasion?  I also think that destination weddings and hurricane season don’t mix, especially if multiple out of town guests are scheduled to attend your wedding.  While you may be tempted by the low costs and complimentary extras offered this time of year, this could be a recipe for disaster unless you see yourself as an Aruba (or Bonaire or Curacao) bride!

What are your thoughts on travel during hurricane season?  Worth it, or too risky?

Aug 252011
 

This week, we’re being reminded that even paradise has its pitfalls.  Hurricane Irene continues to plow through the Caribbean, causing major disruption along the way.

She pummeled the Turks and Caicos earlier this week.  Thankfully, the island was spared any major property damage, but airport and hotel shut downs have made for some unhappy travelers.

According to the National Hurricane Center, Irene is now wreaking havoc on the Abacos, a beautiful Bahamian island chain which is usually a sailor’s paradise.  She’s now a Cat 3.

Those in coastal North Carolina through the northeastern US seaboard take notice.  Irene is not stopping in the Caribbean.  She’s heading north to the Outer Banks and up through New England, and she’s being called a monster.  Throughout the US Northeast, flights have been cancelled and State of Emergency declarations have been issued.

To all of those in Irene’s path, stay safe my friends.  My thoughts are with you!

You can find up-to-the-minute updates on Irene at Weather.com and at the National Hurricane Center.