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Hurricane Irma
FtMyersTom - 9/12/2017 8:17 PM
Category: General
Replies: 9

We evacuated our home in Ft Myers last Thursday and are in Kissimmee. We just got power back here this afternoon. Reports from Ft Myers are good as far as our home not being damaged. Hurricane Irma weakened as it hit SW Florida with Marco and Naples taking the brunt of the storm. However the keys we love did not fair as well. There is a door to door search being done as 10k of the 80k residents did not leave. A peak wind of 120mph in Big Pine and 15ft surge was reported in middle keys. Our keys have been dramatically changed and will take years to get back to normal. They depend on tourism and those dollars will not come now. I was just in Marathon a couple weeks ago. The Facebook reports from our dive shop friends is encouraging as they did not loose lives but the boats and structures are a different story. Please pass your thoughts to our friends in the keys and hope the reports of losses beyond monetary are few. Sadly I fear our reefs will also suffer especially the shallow ones. I was just in Marathon a couple weeks ago and they took a direct hit. We will live to dive another day and that is what is most important. FtMyersTom doing well in Kissimmee...BTW when we evacuated I took my dive gear ;-)
BillParker - 9/12/2017 10:50 PM
Ft Myers had a close call. For awhile it looked like my cousin was going to lose everything.
LatitudeAdjustment - 9/13/2017 6:43 AM
Both my kids checked in and are okay, don’t even need my RV for power.

In the Key’s Capt. Gary reported that Conch Republic’s boat is okay. There was a FB post that Ocean Divers boats are okay but like Tom said the surge probably stripped the shallow reefs and the wrecks will have been rearranged :(
Eric_R - 9/13/2017 7:17 AM
Hoping everyone affected by this storm a speedy recovery.
Smithsgold - 9/13/2017 10:06 AM
Glad your ok
FtMyersTom - 9/13/2017 2:49 PM
Thanks and yes the Facebook posts are encouraging. We have a trip planned for November to our friends condo in Tavernier. We fully intend on going no matter if I can dive or not. I usually dive with FKDC and they say there boats made it as well. I will dive if I can to provide my dollars to help no matter the conditions. We will eat every meal at any restaurant that is open. Most of the keys are mom and pop type motels/restaurants and they will need every dollar they can get to survive the coming winter tourist season that will be in jeopardy. Rep Marco Rubio said this morning the orange crop damage will take up to 5 years to recover. Sadly it goes far beyond our front door.

Also with our problems forgot to pass on our thoughts to Houston. We got the one two punch. My wife has family there and all is good with them. Her aunt called and welcomed us into the hurricane club. She has lived in Houston for 25 years.

NHC said hurricane season was back on track this year but... DAMN!!!! They said Irma was only the 2nd storm that was born where it was and traveled the length of the Atlantic into the Caribbean almost in a straight line without the normal curve north or south.
sdweller - 9/21/2017 3:50 PM
We have been out diving the reefs of Key Largo the last couple days. Reefs look fine...sand in between coral heads has dredged out as always happens with storms, some fans down, but other than that fine.

The visibility, which was very bad obviously a few days after, has cleared out and it was beautiful yesterday, we had a couple very good dives.

Lower Keys very bad, and they will take awhile to come back. There are several places you can donate to to help them and it is appreciated greatly.

The upper Keys are taking divers now, all power back, restaurants open. Other than some low areas that sustained water intrusion, hotels, dive shops, etc ready to go now.

The best way to help the keys is to book trips! Here is link to the shop I work for...and link to Key Largo Tourist site for any other books you might want to consider!
FtMyersTom - 9/22/2017 9:50 AM
That’s great news! My wife uses Facebook and she told me Rainbow Reef posted the same good news you did here. We have a trip planned for November and have been telling people the best way to help is go down and spend money. We usually bring a lot of food but this trip we will eat at locally owned restaurants the entire time. I hope Key Largo Fisheries is okay, I buy all my fresh fish there and eat at back yard café. I hope the fast approaching stone crab season goes well. Also CRF posted on Facebook there building made it but haven’t read yet how the coral nursery faired. I will contact them to see if they need any help in fixing that up. If I can get down earlier I will.
sdweller - 9/22/2017 10:58 AM
The Key Largo Fisheries/fishermen are out already, so fresh seafood is in or will be soon!

Thank you very much Tom, the Keys appreciates your great attitude!
FtMyersTom - 9/22/2017 12:25 PM
and thanks to all in the keys. We consider the keys our backyard and a main reason we moved from Ohio to Ft Myers. About 45 of my 134 logged dives are in the keys from Key Largo to Key West. I completed the wreck trek in 2014 and almost did a 2nd time. I have dove the Spiegel Grove 10X and Vandenberg 8X. I was just in Marathon a couple weeks before the storm. In 2015 came down and dove with CRF crew and got the coral restoration cert.

We love all the keys and have spent time on most of them including Big Pine. We wish everyone all the best going forward and will see ya soon!