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The long journey of recovery from the impact of Dorian to a new home just reached a longed for destination. The past two months were spent at Gilbert’s Resort and Marina in Key Largo where I tackled a host of projects to make my new home “Camelot” ready for some limited sailing. Once again angels appeared. I would have slacked off some, but Captain Red Miller went beyond what I had imagined with fabrications, designs, solutions and improvements that were amazing!

My goal was to move about 50 miles south of Key Largo to Marathon, FL, where there is a good harbour and a city focused on providing a well organized community for live aboard boaters. A very rare situation.

As the items were ticked off the to do list (and the to buy list and the to consider list) I picked a time for departure: Monday, February 10.This took some organizing as I needed crew and had to figure out a way to get the boat out of the cul de sac where she slumbered for a long time. Once again Red to the rescue. I joined the BoatUS vessel assistance program and was neatly pulled out of the slip with no fears about grounding or running afoul of sunken debris.

Captain Marilyn of the Good Ship “State of Mind” captured the literally first moving moments. While I felt them. What a mix of emotions, on a boat again, underway again, and back into the watery environment that had erupted so brutally in September with Dorian. And in a place of honor on the foredeck, ODAAT, One Day At A Time, the Portland Pudgy who jumped a sea wall during Dorian and was given to me by Kendal Strickland. ODI rode a cargo ship to Fort Lauderdale, and well, that’s yet another story. She’s home now.

We took on the some fuel, emptied the water tanks to keep. Camelot light for the shallow sports that dotted our route south. We stayed inside the Inter Coastal Waterway. Camelot was untested, and I really didn’t want to face face going ‘Outside’ even in the well sheltered Hawk Channel which can be boisterous even though it runs behind a barrier reef.

Finally, away, and whaat a trip it was. A steady, joyful wind was behind us, we used no sails (no sense piling her onto a shoal with sails up!).

I’d anticipated a two day trip,, we made ii in 11 hour thanks to Anthony
Kelhower’s superb piloting. Sure, we bumped a few times, carrying 5’3” of draft, inevitable, but Camelot flew like a bird. She knew she was in the best possible hands. Anthony, along with providing some of the best bean dip ever, is the owner of on On Board Rigging, and carried a tool bag ready to fix anything that might go wrong aloft. Christopher McCarthy of OCD, Obsessive Compulsive Divers could tackle anything below.

And as we rocked in the outer anchorage at Marathon, Oriana (I won’t call that beautiful star dancer Orion) literally was wrapped around the mainmast with her feet in the spreaders. Imagine, an entire constellation in a wonderful victory dance in perfect coincidence with Camerot’s rigging.

So we arrived. I’m in Marathon, trying to acclimate to a seemingly frenetic culture,. More adjusting, more changed but I blessed incredibly by the dozens of earth angels who have made it possible for me to be rocked to sleep with a sea breeze blowing on my face once again. Thank You!
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2 months ago

Wild Horses of Abaco

To all our Friends and Angels from Beauregard and me,
this is a short catchup. There still are two more chapters to come in the Dorian saga. Soon, Soon.

A three week hiatus in Boca Raton in October made me feel fit enough to come back to Abaco to help. A Big Mistake. Without a base and the situation still so desperate eventually I realized that I would be a burden, not a help. About a week on board a salvaged vessel was the clincher. The Skipper was gracious but No toilets worked. In fact one really wanted to sink us. I was fighting a UTI (I can hear several of you medicos snickering) and was whizzing in a plastic cup that be had to be dumped out a porthole near the water line which also was not far from my pillow.

Once again the arms and hearts of Heart to Heart rescued me and soon I slept on a chaise in the mansion laundry room. Blessed quiet, sleep and a nearby bathroom.

I gave up and returned to my long suffering friends i n Boca, Ed Horton and Leigh Mattern.

The day I was leaving for the ill fated return to Abaco Leigh told me old friends were looking for me and wanted to offer me their boat. What an incredible thought. It didn’t really penetrate my state of mind.

Fortunately it became a reality after the Boca return. Ed drove me Fort Lauderdale to pick up the Portland Pudgy dinghy I’d rescued and shipped from Abaco with its load of salvaged items. Including a set of pots I’d been carrying around since my first Boca stay, a gift from a dear friend of Ed and Leigh. Then we drove to Key Largo.

To make a very long and intense story short (you can see the many possible tangential stories) Beau and I currently are aboard the good ketch Camelot at Gilbert’s Marina in North Key Largo. With a big case of survivor’s guilt (and gratitude to an inscrutable Cosmos) the plan is to get the boat in shape to move farther south to a Key called Marathon which has a mooring area that welcomes liveaboards (its tough to live aboard in Florida).

So, the adventure continues. With great wonder daily at the serendipity that has placed me here, I wish all my friends at Heart to Heart (and GoFundMe supporters, and Team Rubicon) and each and every one of the you who has helped carry us forward the very merriest holidays and a New Year filled with adventure, yes, but peace too.

With great Gratitude,
Mimi and Beauregard
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4 months ago

Wild Horses of Abaco

at the preserve

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The first trip to the Preserve was filled with deep doubt and concern. Joan Kelly from Heart to Heart came with me. and it’s part of the effect of the whole experience that I cannot remember who else walked down the blocked Preserve road, who helped carry 50 lbs of dog food or who saw the beautiful sight of four happy dogs and one cat.

Tears flowed as we were greeted by Steady, Brutus, Nova and Louie and KatLean. Imagine further joy when two weeks later Kali reappeared. The crew was ok. With an amazing set of coincidences information flew around the net and Facebook and I learned about Big Dog Ranch Rescue. Jessica Roberts, Chris Webb, Juli Siegrist, Chamara Parotti, Andrea Albury, Daniel Braithwaite and others had hands in the circle that, several weeks later, saw two cats and four dogs safely airlifted to Big Fog Ranch Rescue. Louie succumbed later to severe arthritis and an immune system failure. But he was with his pack and surrounded by loving people.

I took me some time to let go but good sense finally prevailed. With lead in my stomach I’ve allowed all 5 of my friends be put up for adoption, Kali and CatLean stay together. I miss them every day, but as they all approach old age the battered preserve is no longer a safe home and the deteriorating road means regular visits are not assured.

Kali and KatLean are like Xena the Warrior Queen and her sidekick Gabriella. Steady needs room for his boundless energy and guard dog voice. Brutus needs all the love and understanding he can get. Nova needs a place to lay his head, preferably a lap. They have all been rescued from bad places, had long and comfortable lives before their forever home was torn apart. With the horror past they are once again safe, surrounded by love.

The Fence

We had nearly completed stringing new fence . Now most of the new line lies under fallen trees. The future of our two stalwart workmen remains unclear as the Haitian communities remain under threat of deportation by the Central Government. If we could have them working again we could very likely save most of the rope and have a functioning preserve again. But we need thousands of dollars to pay a National Insurance Board debt.

The Trees

It takes about 40 years for a regenerating forest to approach the beginningof maturity. It will be interesting to see how many adult trees still are alive.There is a big threat from fire as we enter the dry season. The whole of Abaco from Marsh Harbour north is a tinder box loaded with drying debris that once ignited could wipe out whatever is left of the forests.

The Containers, with water tank, still there

Our containers were badly deteriorated before the storm, yet they stood. Each one was cabled to rebar and concrete ‘deadmen’ at each corner and each corner was on a small concrete slab. Only one had moved very slightly on its slabs. With some well engineered ventilation and functioning original doors I believe there would have been minimal damage and while the noise and shaking would have been terrifying they were good shelters. Strict maintenance would be the key to prevent rust and any rot in floors.

The Tractor Messy Ferguson

We’ve not gone past the Preserve and have no idea if messy got through. If she did I bet her engine would start.

What’s next?

Nunki’s living cells remain in Texas ready to be turned into two living Abaco Island Horses. The horses’ forest can live again, good shelter can be made. Who will remember the legacy and the potential?
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4 months ago

Wild Horses of Abaco

For many days after I was invited to stay with Heart to Heart and was enveloped in the much needed warmth and security of strong walls, caring people and an assured bed at night I still had trouble sitting outside or being near the water. I never did go out to the beach. The sky, the water, the very air seemed alien and malign. The wind kept blowing for days. I felt as though I’d been transported to an alien planet, or perhaps a parallel universe. The light was all wrong. These forces had killed my boat and had tried kill me and Beau. It did not matter in the least that this was not really true, or that it was all in my imagination. My body took over and refused to allow me to get past the visceral knots that wouldn’t let me be on the porch. Fortunately this has begun to fade. ... See MoreSee Less

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4 months ago

Wild Horses of Abaco

The Treasure Cay hotel rooms, originally intended to be condos, were badly damaged. When i get back to TC next week I’ll see what is happening with them. The pics that follow show that the room I stayed in had all its windows blown out but still has its roof while the one next to me had its whole roof torn off, as were many others.. ... See MoreSee Less

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4 months ago

Wild Horses of Abaco

Scenes around the clinic, the center of Treasure Cay activities during and now after the storm. See individual photos for captions. ... See MoreSee Less

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4 months ago

Wild Horses of Abaco

Photo courtesy of Team Rubicon UK.
In Marsh Harbour the commercial fishing boat LEOPARD is across Lou Schneider's slip. Just to the north are the remains of the Conch Inn, Mango's, Snappa's, etc. All gone
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4 months ago

Wild Horses of Abaco

As one looks out from the shore side of the remains of the Tipsy Seagull the totality of the damage from Dorian is obvious. In the third photo the front of the Cafe La Florence is visible between the two brown trees in the middle distance and between the two black trees at Golden Harvest in the background. ... See MoreSee Less

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4 months ago

Wild Horses of Abaco

Our well loved and sorely missed Golden Harvest grocery store took a heavy hit, along with all the other shops in TC. All of the shop roofs are gone or badly damaged in both shopping areas. ... See MoreSee Less

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4 months ago

Wild Horses of Abaco

The original plan was to park the truck between the storage units near the TC resort. I was told to park near the clinic. That was good advice because all the vehicles parked near the storage units were damaged, some severely. Roofs blew off the garages, doors were blasted away. Flying debris crushed fenders and bodies.

Near the clinic, the truck was damaged but survived. The windshield is shattered, duct tape is holding it together. The passenger side window is gone. The capper is gone, found it over and past the dump trucks hundreds of feet away. But NOTHING that was under the capper was touched! Bits of string, cloth, the lightest things and the heaviest things remained perfectly in place.

The truck started and ran immediately. I covered the passenger window with pieces of a paraglider wing someone had left at the dinghy dock weeks before. A few days later I refined the patch with plastic that could be rolled up.

Beauregard was glad to have his trans back and a good place for a nap.

I slashed the left rear tire coming back from the preserve and had to remove the spare tire lock before the spare could be reached. The one can of Fix a Flat that I’d been able to find at the clinic left the tire 10 lbs short of full, but it held. A few days later an angel named Mark Baker showed up with a brand new tire and got it on the old rim in record time.

In the last photo the Red Ranger rolls again with a carefully covered Portland Pudgy dinghy on top. More on that laster.
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4 months ago

Wild Horses of Abaco

Initially it seemed impossible to get to the marina waterfront. after about an hour of walking carefully down dead ends, I was able to go around to condos on the far side of the marina. Not enough that Alnilam was thrown on pilings that drove half way through her, a neighboring boat was thrown on the finger pier and parr way across Alnilam. As noted, her lines were snapped. She didn’t have a chance. ... See MoreSee Less

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4 months ago

Wild Horses of Abaco

As the eye gave some small respite, the shelter filled, 250 people the first night. Sleeping upright in chairs, on the floor, in corners. we huddled as the building shook in unimaginable wind that blasted rain sideways. An attempt by several men tried to bring in some fresh air but the doors had to have furniture stacked against them so the men could keep them from blowing in. The slightest opening was a potential disaster so the doors were bullied shut again after a brief, frightening try.

Somehow the next morning while wind and rain continued, Avis Miller and some friends as if by magic (and a lot of hard heavy work) produced a hot breakfast.

And so it went. We entered the aftermath, filled with shock, grief, wounds, and disbelief.When you drive in to Treasure Cay from the highway and get to the circle, and see one building standing, one, how do you fit that into your head? And a little way past, the clinic is the only other building undamaged. Almost everything else is shattered, twisted, if not outright rubble.

The relief teams find their way around better than I do, all the landmarks are distorted or simply gone.

With guts and determination a growing group of stalwarts. held things together at the clinic. And the list of people grew each day. organized the growing flood of donations.. And then the big help arrived, list. The photos show it. Personally, though i am in the middle of it, it just doesn’t seem real. I’m in someone else’s sci fi novel and there is little control over the plot. And this is nearly two months after.

After six weeks the devastated Royal Poincianas are showing new leaves peeping out of the tips of ravaged branches. That’s so good, but this rebirth is going to take years. I hope to continue them here among strong determined people who will not quit.

Following will be collections of photos taken around Treasure Cay.
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4 months ago

Wild Horses of Abaco

Keeping Beau’s lead taut we set out to across the usually narrow and unremarkable path in front of the condos. In that formerly narrow dry walkway knee deep water was running hard, Beau had to swim. Fortunately we crossed quickly and didn’t step on or trip over any thrashing debris. Following others as they fled the rooms we headed for shelter. ... See MoreSee Less

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