Hurricane Maria pummels tropical paradise Dominica

Our two favorite islands in the Caribbean, Barbuda and Dominica, destroyed. I can only hope that all the friends we made while we were there in 2010 have survived. Dominica they say has been denuded -- no leaves, many trees toppled. Maria made a direct hit as a Category 5 hurricane. It was the most lush garden paradise, with an embarrassment of natural riches. Waterfalls, deep pools, sulfur springs, mangoes and avocados aplenty, and wonderfully gentle people. My heart bleeds for them. How will they and their families fare if people stop coming. They depend so much on tourism. This season is devastating.

My friend Marvin weathered the storm in Puerto Rico. He doesn't know if his boat has survived but from the looks of it, it will have sustained damage.* Puerto Rico is without power, and its aging infrastructure is not going to be easy to rebuild. It could be months before power is restored.

St. Croix, already housing victims evacuated from other Virgin Islands after Irma, sustained massive damage. The Virgin Islands sustained two Cat 5 Hurricanes in two weeks. They haven't begun to assess yet. It will take years to rebuild some of these places.

Turks and Caicos, still reeling from Irma, are in Maria's sights now. Then the Bahamas. All low lying. God help them.

Meanwhile, Jose is now a tropical storm and has been moving so slowly that he's creating massive seas. Waves of 15 feet and tidal surge are being reported from NC to New England. There is a model predicting that Jose and Maria could combine and turn towards Ireland next week. Let's hope not.

We have donated what we can to relief efforts in Dominica and Barbuda. Please help if you can.

*PS His boat, Quantum Star, weathered the storm well.


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