Hurricane fallout

Shipping has understandably been interrupted by the storms that struck Florida and Puerto Rico recently, and the effects are apparently already reaching the Virgin Islands as illustrated by an animal food shortage described by the Humane Society of the BVI. It remains to be seen how the widespread damage will affect supply chains in the long term, and whether that will raise the already high cost of living here. A Beaconite believes it is more important than ever for residents to shop mindfully and try to avoid clearing out shelves.

Fort Myers

A Beaconite is thinking about hurricanes this week, again, after seeing devastating images from Fort Myers, Florida, a place she spent a month on a trip with her family only last winter. She enjoyed it, but found the beaches too crowded. That likely isn’t the case now. The images of the catastrophic damage from Hurricane Ian are shocking, but to anyone who lived through Irma in the Virgin Islands, they are also reflections of a reality they remember all too well. Someone asked her whether Fort Myers will rebuild. Her immediate reply was that of course it will, and probably sooner than you think, given it is in the mainland United States, with much readier access to materials and labour. That doesn’t mean things will ever look the same. Some houses won’t rebuild; some businesses will close forever; some residents will leave and never return. The VI has seen all of these effects. It also saw hotels and restaurants rebuild, boats come back, and tourists eventually return to a less crowded but no less enjoyable landscape, full of residents who welcomed them — and of course, their dollars, which are vital to the economy. The Beaconite predicts that by the spring, if not sooner, enough infrastructure will have been rebuilt that Fort Myers will be inviting tourists to return. She may be one of them.

New heights

A Beaconite was recently able to check something off her to-do list of adventures when she joined a morning hike at Salt Island before volunteering for the coastal cleanup that afternoon. The views atop the surprisingly steep hills were ethereal, and the sunrise made the rocky path sparkle. Being up so high showcased just how different the salt pond below was from the surrounding ocean. The day was long as she hopped from group to group, lending a hand where she could. Eventually, she joined “team hardcore” to clear some of the heavy trash from the mangroves. It was a heck of a workout that she felt in her muscles for days afterward, but she found it rewarding to again have an opportunity to give back to the community while working with devoted, high-spirited new friends.

Sad news

A Beaconite was shocked when she heard of the boat wreck in West End this week. She first heard that there was a boat crash and that many people were injured in it. Then she saw videos of people in West End at the dock in tears. In one of those videos, she noticed a woman was given medical attention while on the boat. The reporter also heard some voice notes from people involved in the accident, who explained how they were grabbing people out of the water to try to rescue them. When she heard that a little girl had been pronounced dead, she was heartbroken. She can’t imagine how the family of the little girl must feel right now, but her condolences go out to them. She was also incredibly sad while following the search and rescue operation that ultimately found the body of another woman involved. Her heart goes out to the families affected by the losses.