Friday, October 24, 2014

Escaping Hurricane Gonzalo

In the four years we have lived in Bermuda, we've been lucky to avoid any major hurricanes.

Our luck ended last week when the island was hit by back to back storms.

First, Tropical Storm Fay - with wind gusts over 100 mph.

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Then, while the island was still recovering, we watched Hurricane Gonzalo make its approach up the Atlantic Ocean.

Projections put Bermuda on a direct hit this time.  That is rare, but we weren't taking any chances. The possibility of going without power for weeks was enough motivation to purchase tickets to get the kids off the island. We figured we could manage without power, and the baby would be ok with me, but Jordan and Mina would be better off with Grandma back in the States.

We bought tickets Monday night, for a flight Friday morning. This was under the assumption that the storm would hit on Saturday.

As the week progressed, it became clear that the storm was moving faster then expected, and the Friday flight would be cancelled.  We resigned ourselves to bracing out the storm together, and hopefully getting a flight off the island when the airport re-opened.  It wasn't the storm itself we were worried about, you see.  Bermuda homes are built to withstand the hurricanes.

It was the subsequent loss of power that had us concerned.  Friends who survived Hurricane Fabian (the last big one to hit the island) warned us that power was out for almost a month!

Loss of power means not just lack of electricity.  It means no showers, toilets, refridgerated food, internet, phone, or most cooking.  Multiply those needs by two big kids stuck indoors, and there was our motivation.

We scrambled to get baby Theo a passport.

This was no easy task, as he still did not have a birth certficate.  (See earlier post about this nonsense.)  However, Jeff worked his magic and managed to convince someone at the Registrar to take pity on us and print one out.  We gathered all the important papers and made it to the American Consulate to attest to our citizenship and claim Theo's American status.

Voila!  Passport pictures obtained too!

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Then we learned that the airlines would be bringing in additional flights Wednesday and Thursday morning. With the help of American Express Travel, a new service Jeff learned about (no, they are not paying me) we managed to change Jordan and. Mina's tickets to Thursday, AND get two more for Jeff and me.

Off we go.

Escaping Gonzalo

Fashionable travel wear.

Chilling in Miami.

No direct flights to NYC - so Theo enjoys his first layover in Miami.

Staring contest with the deer

It's ok.  We perservered and were rewarded with a beautiful fall trip.  Jordan admiring the foliage and fauna.


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Baby passing with good friends while the big kids enjoyed a fall festival.

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Best part - Theo got to meet the Grandparents!  Hi Grandma B.

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And Grandma H, who hosted all of us at her home in PA.

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We were also lucky to be in town while Uncle Osman was making his annual fall east coast visit.

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Bonding, the techie-techie way.

As it turned out, the Category 3 hurricane found Bermuda well prepared. Our house withstood too much damage, and apart from a busted grill, we are ok. There is continued leaking in the basement, but what else is new.

For most people on the island, power was restored over the course of a few days. There are still some unlucky souls who do not have it back, and to date that means over 12+ days. They haven't had it restored since the first storm, so my heart really goes out to them!

I'm glad we had the unexpected trip back to the US. Fall is my favorite season of the year, and it's best appreciated in the northeast. The fall colors, the chill in the air, the mad frenzy of all things pumpkin - I love it.

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Plus we had some good bonding too.

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