Sep 142017

Recovery efforts continue in the Keys and throughout Florida.  I’ve been posting a lot of links to news and info about the Keys on the Twitter and FB feeds.  For all it’s warts, social media remains the best way to spread rumors, falsehoods, gossip, misinformation, scams, and fake news, and occasionally the truth.  Seriously, it has helped a lot of people find out what is going on down there.

For the moment, the Upper Keys is now allowing residents back in.  Power is being restored rather quickly, water is taking a bit longer, but at least people are able to get in and see how bad the damage is.

Key West seems to have done relatively ok.  There is a lot of damage to be sure, but not quite the catastrophe, depending on which news source one goes to.  The city is slowly cleaning up.  Power will take a while as will water and sewer.  Some internet service has been restored.  And there are some aircraft carriers offshore flying in emergency supplies.  Even a few bars have opened because, after all, it is Key West.

The middle Keys are different story.  From Cudjoe to Marathon the destruction was widespread.  My old digs at Venture Out got destroyed as did most all the campgrounds in the area.  Big Pine Key looks like it was bombed.  Parts of the highway are washed away.  It’s going to take a long while to clean up the mess.

As for fatalities, news is sketchy.  8 to 10 are confirmed dead in the Keys, no doubt there will be more.  The news is all over the place on this.  FoxNews, reports few deaths so far.  FoxBusinessNews reports enough bodies so far to fill a semi trailer.  Look, if you can’t get your lies straight, perhaps you should stick to telling the truth.

People are all over said social media trying to get in touch with friends and relatives who stayed behind.  My friend Ed, the Mermaid Hunter has not contacted us yet.  So Ed, if you happen to be reading this, give us a sign you are ok.  We would appreciate it.  

Some people mistakenly believed I was down there.  I thought seriously about having a friend down in Orlando tell everyone I was dead, throw a memorial run, and we would split the money.  Opportunity knocks at the most unusual times you know.

Anyways, as for me, this storm has changed things and not necessarily for the more better.  As I had mentioned, I was planning to return to Florida and eventually the Keys.  I had a nice boat lined up, the budget was set, then someone up here decided to fall and break a hip.  Said hip delayed the move, then a couple weeks ago, the boat was on sale again and I was all set to make a move, then I spotted the storm and decided to wait.  Now, no way would I even consider buying a boat or any vehicle in Florida.  No telling what kind of damage said boat or vehicle may have sustained.

And no, please don’t insult me in the comments about things happening or not happening for a reason.  No magic, invisible, sky wizard planned this out.  It twas not luck, nor fate, nor karma.  It’s simply the way things happened.  If anything, my minimalist mindset, and deliberately taking my time in making a decision to purchase said boat actually paid off.  By waiting and over thinking the purchase, I got away without a loss, other than the loss of the Keys as a place to live in the near future.

For the moment, and near future, the Keys and Florida are no longer an option for a place to go.  There is way too much damage, especially in the islands and no way I am going to chance it.  Life down there is about to undergo some major changes.

Everyone says the Keys will rebound and I’m sure they will, but it will not be the same.  Strict building codes will become stricter.  Flood and wind insurance will be impossible to get.  Campgrounds and marinas will have stricter rules about long term living.  Live aboards could face more restrictions on where they can stay.  The ecological damage from the storm will have a lasting effect on the waters in the Keys.  Every boat which sunk, every vehicle which flooded, had fuel, oil, and other chemicals which no doubt leaked out.  Garbage and debris from homes washed out to sea.  It’s not going to help an ecosystem which was already under duress.  Expect many new rules and regulations to come as a result.  And everyone from locals to tourists will pay more to live and visit there.  Bet the farm on it.

And anytime there is a disaster, somebody is there to profit by it.  Developers will swoop in to buy up land where people don’t want to, or cannot afford to rebuild.  HWSNBN is not doubt licking his chops right now.  Scam artists have already started, putting up fake sites for insurance claims and repairs.  While I mourn the loss of the Keys, I am glad I didn’t have any assets or property down there.  Life is going to be rough for those trying to rebuild.

So, in my case, Hawaii remains the more better option.  I have been desperately trying to find a place to live out there without much luck.  Places pop up all the time but without being there, it’s unpossible to convince a landlord I’m not some psycho killer or scam artist.  If I can at least find something temporary for a few weeks or a month I will go and see what I can find for something more permanent.  I have to get out of here soon.  The stress of the past few months really took it’s toll on me.  My health is shit, I’m overweight, and I have an extremely short temper.  It’s high time to get moving again.  I’ll let you know what happens, when it does.

Capt. Fritter