Thursday, October 19, 2017

Dominica Hurricane Relief 2017

Second truckload
Oct 7 2017
Remember when I told you about feeling helpless in terms of the hurricanes but I also mentioned that the cruisers quickly mobilized?  Here in Trinidad, that effort was headed up by Jesse James and a few key cruisers. 
Third truckload
Jesse coordinated with several churches who were gathering donations.  The cruising community combed through our bilges to see what we had – used line and sails, torches and headlamps, food and dry goods.  Sarah (sv Cape) sat each morning by the storage area to receive the goods.  Willie (sv Liahona) collected cash donations.  Jackson (mv Shadowfax) and I walked around to the various businesses here in Chaguaramas asking to put up fliers about donations and asking if they had any.  Finally, Jesse, Willie and Jackson went shopping with the cash collected and purchased as many goods as they could.  This was not an easy chore according to Jackson, taking the better part of a day – picking items out, calculating the case price, then applying the wholesale discount and adding it to the current sum to be sure they used every dollar donated.  A small team of cruisers helped unload and store the items. 
Human chain moving the supplies
Solo sailor Patrick sv Foxfire volunteered to take all the gathered items to Dominica.  His destination is actually Panama but he volunteered to take this detour to help out Dominica.  “One hell of a detour” as our cruising friend Bev (sv Aseka) put it! 
Stacking it dockside for loading
The appointed sailing day arrived and thus the gathered donations had to be loaded.  Roughly 20+ cruisers along with the yard manager of Powerboats and a few workers showed up to help move all the gathered goods.  A human chain was formed to transfer the items from the storage unit (upstairs and down) to the Powerboats pickup truck.  Then this was backed down to the dock where sv Foxfire was tied up.  Another human chain formed to then transfer the goods from truck to dock and then onto the boat.  Captain Patrick and a few key people were aboard to help organized the final storage.  Even at 42 ft, some wondered where it would all go.  The goods kept coming.  A second and then a third truckload of relief supplies. 
Bruce checking things out topside
It appeared as we loaded the supplies, that most had really worked hard to keep the donated items to “items needed” – we had canned goods, bottled water, dried goods (rice, sugar, powered milk, paper towels and toilet paper) torches (flashlights), coloring pads and crayons, diapers, feminine hygiene items and such.  I only saw one small bag of previously owned shoes and NO clothes.  Clothing is the worse thing to send.
Bryn and Jesse passing items down to Captain Patrick for storage

We all watched sv Foxfire's waterline as we loaded, expecting it to drop below the water with all the weight, but it didn’t.  She’s a proper, sturdy bluewater sailboat.  Just over an hour after we started, everyone was sweaty and hot but the supplies were all loaded.  Now all Patrick needed was fuel and he would be off.  “Fair winds captain and thank you.”
The loading crew - pic by Willie Haskins
Final note -We received word yesterday 10-9-2017 that Patrick arrived safe and sound into Prince Rupert Bay -Portsmouth.  He was able to connected with the contact person who in turn rallied is people (a church group I think) to help unload sv Foxfire.  They are grateful and will immediately distribute to those in need.  
Sarah (sv Cape) doing her best Bethany pose in her memory

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