Day 6: On Sunday, 9-24-17
It was a hot day with little to no wind. So we filled up some water jugs from a hose in town that still flowed water. Yes, for some reason that hose worked. But not for long, it too was dead the next day. At some point during the day we were invited to go to dinner that night at a friend’s house. It was nice to enjoy a glass of wine and some sense of normalcy. We talked and laughed and relaxed for a bit. It was nice. Then two guests (Kylar and Christian) stopped by from St. Martin. They had lost their boat in Hurricane Irma the week earlier and somehow meandered across PR to Cabo Rojo to work on a boat. They were offered a place to stay after the hurricane provided they work and repair a sailboat in the harbor.
While talking with them we all focused on St. Martin and the incredible situation they were in. They said they locked themselves in a bathroom for 14 hours as Hurricane Irma passed them by. The storm removed anything that was over three feet high. They said even the brick and cement buildings were leveled. It was the most horrifying experience of their lives. They then spoke about the boats in Cabo Rojo during and after Hurricane Maria. I felt anxious and wanted to leave. I really didn’t want to hear about our boat or any boat for that matter. I knew this storm destroyed everything in Cabo Rojo. They continued talking about how bad it was and then said only three boats survived.
Think about this, ninety boats at anchor and only three left standing after.
They said it again and again, that only three boats survived the second Hurricane in Cabo Rojo! I knew my boat was now gone for sure. What are the odds? That relaxed feeling I had from the wine and the hearty dinner was gone! They continued to talk about all the boats at anchor and that one boat broke free and crashed into all the other boats at anchor. That one boat caused the destruction of almost 25 boats by its self. Several boats were washed onto shore, into trees, flipped over and some are just plain missing. By the way, these are not little tiny sailboats. These are live aboard yachts.
As the conversation continued I just couldn’t take it any longer and asked the big question. Did you notice our boat “Address Unknown?” After a long pause Christian said, yes. Is that the boat with the boom tied down to the deck? The real pretty white Beneteau? My heart sunk. I just knew she was gone. What was he waiting for? Go ahead, let me have it. Shoot me in the heart. After a long pause he finally said that the three boats that survived the hurricane were a 60-foot trimaran from Norway, a 42-foot Catalina and a 36-foot Beneteau. Those were the only three!
He continued to describe the storm stating the waves were over 37 feet high with winds over 200 mph. I know sailors like to exaggerate but I honestly think he was right. When the first boat broke free from anchor that boat took all the other boats with her into the mangroves. The waves must have been epic. I wish I still surfed. Ok, maybe not this time. Somehow “Address Unknown” remained on anchor in front of the marina untouched. I honestly didn’t believe them. He said no one else could believe it either. I thought how could they remember our boat from ninety others. He must be confused. I went home that night with a since of optimism and skepticism. How could this be? They just had to be wrong.