Information From On The Ground

The below comes to us from Julie who was on Treasure Cay during the storm. She was recently evacuated and is safe.


Hi all,

I’m sending a group email to anyone I have an email for. Please forward to anyone else.

I just got out. Treasure Cay is gone! It’s like a nuclear bomb went off. The pictures you see on the TV don’t show anything and the enormity of it is beyond anything I’ve ever seen before. Many of the single story homes that survived got water inside as the surge was insane. Even the most solid, secured ones had some kind of breach. Many houses just exploded. Every boat, however well secured or on a lift, disappeared. The marina has disappeared and all the boats were destroyed. So many people are homeless and, all houses, even if they have survived, are going to be broken into and lived in, stuff taken etc. but many people have nothing, so they are welcome! Treasure Cay ceases to exist as it has nothing infrastructure, no water, electricity and no way of doing repairs etc., It’s going to take years to come back. Marsh Harbour and TC got the worst of it and it went on forever. My cell phone isn’t working, so I’m on my iPad and I took most pictures on my phone. Will try to send some I took on my iPad separately.

There are unbelievable stories and we have a few too. Both our houses and Condo survived, but the Condo, where we all ended up, breached when the front door exploded open. Of course I had bunkers set up, and we were all able to secure ourselves in different places. I had just finished showing everyone all the safe places as 5 new people had just arrived during the eye. When the pressure released we barricaded the front door. It was a much bigger story than that and when I get over the shock I’ll describe how we each survived. I ended up on my own as I was trying to release pressure and I had to get three dogs onto the bathroom. The bath had exploded up in the air and all the insulation was everywhere, so I replaced the bath to its original place and distracted myself by cleaning up the insulation. Then I opened a bottle of champagne and sat in the bath. Unfortunately the wall and door to the bedroom was swaying so badly I knew I had to barricade the door to the bedroom, but not close it. I pulled a huge chest of drawers across it, took the king mattress off the bed and then pushed the bed against it. I then went back to the bathroom to another sip of champagne and my dogs. The two guys were finally able to secure the front door otherwise that’s where I would have had to have stayed for the whole time.

My other friends moved from the cottage during the eye, as the cottage was literally swaying. Even the condo was shaking. As it happened our cottage ended up being hardly damaged. In addition to Ginger I had Ken and Sheila Chaplin ( Joy Chaplin’s brother) and their 96 year old father and two other friends. We were in contact by VHF with Joy and Mike Robus, who had to move from Mariners during the eye to Turtle view.

Tichka and Jack, my friends from Coopers Town who were staying at Helmut’s house, spent 15 hours on Galleon Bay Drive in Helmut’s car, during the worst part of the storm. They had with them 3 large dogs, a guy with Pancreatic Cancer, his wife and 4 year old son. Helmut’s home was destroyed and they were trying to get to BBC. They got stuck in the mud. Unbelievable, but they survived. They moved to be with us at the cottage with their two dogs, so I’ve been with them since Tuesday night.

Peter has gone back to TC today with our plane to try and get them, and more people, out to Nassau and the US. There is a lot of bureaucratic stuff going on and you have to get a permit. They are not letting private planes get in easily with supplies and to take people out and many US pilots are so frustrated that have given up and won’t fly. You can get out on Bahamas Air eventually, but they won’t take dogs and we all have dogs. They had relays of Bahamas Air flights yesterday. TC airport is the only one open and it was orderly and calm when I got out, but so sad with hundreds of people waiting and cars abandoned everywhere. Ginger and three dogs came with me around 5pm yesterday. Chante, my vet, has Romeo as he got desperately ill the week before Dorian hit, and I sent him out to Freeport. My daughter says they are safe. I had to get Ginger out, and the Chaplin’s 96 year old father, as a matter of urgency.

Every home breached in some way. Some just exploded! Even if a house has survived looters are breaking in. Salty Towers survived totally intact except for water on the floor, but people broke in from the beach and trashed it looking for money etc., ( not food or water) there’s no way of securing and they will be back, so just left it wide open. I’ve let go of all the material things and am hoping to get someone who needs a home to live in our places. Josler was there helping us and I’ve offered his mom and him our condo, but he got her out to Nassau.

We are all in shock and traumatized. I’m desperately worried about everyone I know and love. Peter, who was in CA ( I told him to stay there as he was more use to me as I might need to be rescued) and my family, have been desperate as I lost contact just before the eye. Peter turned up in TC yesterday, like a knight in shining armor, just like I knew he would. He has moved mountains and been in touch with so many people.

My heart is broken. Abaco was my home! I feel so guilty that I was one of the few fortunate ones that could leave and had a place to go. Leaving that airport and seeing all the people was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.

I’m sorry I have no good news about your homes and the future of TC; but people have died, they are homeless and desperate. It doesn’t matter if your house survived, think of it as gone.

Love, Julie

Matt Kennicott