So while out in Bermuda, I flew in Emily and the kids for a surprise weekend hangout halfway through being Writer in Residence. I was excited, kids first plane trip, using passports, and seeing an island.
They were jazzed to arrive:
We went up to see Fort St. Catherine:
We swam at a nearby beach, and then had lunch above it:
Later went to the Dockyards to watch the sun set. We couldn’t get to the beach, there was a wedding happening. But someone checked, then escorted us up onto the walls so we could watch the sun set, which was very nice of them. I love ocean sunsets:
The next day we took the kids to a Shelley Beach, a kid-friendly, shallow beach with a playground attached. The wind was picking up a little, but not too much.
Afterwards, we had a wonderful lunch with one of the writers taking my workshop and her family. I got back to teach the workshop, driving in on my scooter. People had been talking all day about a mild Tropical Depression that had become upgraded to a storm, but no one was worrying. People were still enjoying some sailing in the brisk wind as the sun dimmed.
But as I wrapped up class, people were getting phone calls. Emily called me, the owner of the apartment we were in had been by to ask us to close the storm shutters. I drove back on the scooter, and the pre-storm gusts were buffeting me around. I should have gotten a taxi. I could see the headlines “Hurricane Fever author knocked off bike by Tropical Storm!”
I got back and helped Emily lock all the storm shutters.
As the storm continued to kick up, I began to wonder if I was over reacting, but it felt like maybe I should be filling up containers with water and that I should have done hurricane prep. But no one else had been very worried, so I hadn’t. I eventually filled up a 30 gallon trashcan. Just to feel better. Because that’s what you do. I also made sure to charge up all the devices I could, and a backup battery for my iPhone, as well as the laptop (to use as a battery for the phone).
The next morning was a bit frantic, because it was Sunday, and the family was supposed to fly back. We didn’t sleep well, the winds were gusting (one taxi driver said he recorded gusts of over 100mph, I believe it) and water and leaves got pushed through the door as winds changed direction.
The cell network was down the next morning, as was power, and water, and at first we couldn’t even get a taxi to our location because of reasons like this:
I finally swapped out my SIM card and got the other network going, though promptly had to deal with AT&T INTL roaming issues. Once that was settled, I got through to Delta, where I was lectured that if I wasn’t at the airport right away, we would forfeit our tickets.
Sounded like bullshit to me, and the taxi company finally confirmed, telling me that the airport was damaged and shut down. Delta was full of it. After the flight was finally cancelled I got them on the next flight out, on a Tuesday.
We suddenly had two more days on the island. We spent the Sunday after Fay marveling with other people we ran into at how worse it was than expected. Once the trees were cut up, I got down to the grocery store for water and dry goods (they were running off generators, thank goodness).
Bermuda houses are built solid. Multiple foot thick walls, and stone roofs. Being an island out in the Atlantic, they’re ready.
With no power or water, I decided the next morning that we’d head for the one place that would have everything we needed and relax: the bigger, tourist beach. Horseshoe.
Calli and I went rock climbing, getting up to a point above the beach:
We spent a good chunk of the day there. There was some spotty wifi, that let me get some email down, and also send some texts to people. We had hamburgers and cold drinks. And we got to use the beach showers, which was great, as we didn’t have that back at the apartment.
I managed, with my laptop and backups, to eke two full days of phone use.
Later that night, the landlord got the generator up and running. Only one outlet worked with it, so:
On Tuesday, Emily and the kids were able to fly back out. The airport had power and wifi, so I spent a couple hours there recharging and catching up quickly. Via phone, the organizers who got me to come out and do this Writer in Residence thing, decided to fly me out as well. A new hurricane had been forming: Gonzalo. It was a category 3. Since the Tropical Storm had left me with no running water, and intermittent power, they figured it would be worse after a hurricane.
The workshop I’d been running, full of amazing talent, had to be compressed into that last day (I will talk more about the workshop somewhere else, as it’s not technically over). I spent over 5 hours straight meeting with each student one on one, and I’ll be conducting a Milford model style workshop with them after the hurricane, when things are picked back up.
As I left Hamilton, I saw that they’d started boarding up in town.
My thoughts are with everyone in Bermuda right now. They’re in the bullseye, and it’s a big storm. And Fay put a lot of debris out in the open that Gonzalo will be flinging around.
Stay safe guys.