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Hurricane Irma Update: Y-Not Floats & Getting Back to Marathon

It’s been a long week since Irma hit the state of Florida and beyond – for all. Not just us.

Given the word was that it could take weeks for residents to be allowed back into the middle Keys – we opted to stay up in Alabama a few more days.

Hurricane Irma Escapees – Chris & Jim of GeeksonTour.com, Chris & Charles of CandCRVInsurance.com and Joe the Computer Guy!

We had been joined by several others evacuees at the Escapee’s Rainbow Plantation park in Summerdale – and it was honestly, quite good to be around community during this difficult time. (Check the Geek’s blog out for a great summation of the fun.)

While the miles were long, it was worth the effort to evacuate by RV. Winds in Summerdale were a touch gusty on Monday, but nothing of note.

We got word from my mom mid-week that power was back on in her neighborhood in Melbourne, so we decided it was time to head back at least that far. Knocking out the majority of the miles back the Keys.

It would give us options once the roads were back open (including storing Zephyr if needed) – even though the estimates at the time were one to four weeks. Ouch.

Definitely one of the big downsides of deciding to leave Y-Not in the Keys is that we knew returning would not be easy. But quite honestly, when we left we really only seriously considered two likely scenarios:

  1. Irma would veer off enough that we just had tropical storm conditions, thus an easier return and little damage to deal with.
  2. Irma would, frankly, destroy the Keys and Y-Not.

Taking into account that Y-Not would have a direct Cat 4 hurricane strike AND survive – really wasn’t a likely scenario. Heck, it was against most odds.

An arial shot shared later in the week.. still showing Y-Not floating.

Up until Thursday, we only had a couple lower resolution arial photos showing Y-Not still in her slip, which left us with lots of hope… but many unanswered questions.

Well my friends – we’ve now had multiple on-the-ground reports (huge thanks to all who have helped us get in contact with people on the ground!).

Y-Not did not only survive…

.. she seems to be unscathed?!?!?!!?

Remember I said it would take a miracle and half, and everything going precisely right?

I don’t know what we’ve done right in the world to deserve this… but there is no visible damage.  It’s like she had a protective bubble over her (we’d like to think all of your positive thoughts combined made that happen.. thank you!).

She’s floating, not taking on water, no broken windows, no visible cracks. Maybe there’s a bent cleat.  Even the dinghy looks great (remember, we intentionally deflated it to act as a rear fender.)

A friend of a friend went aboard yesterday who reports no immediately detectable water damage inside either. Bilges were dry. Generator started right up, and ACs running to start getting humidity under control. We will have full systems to test and of course props & rudders to check for possible bends if they hit anything.

But so far… it’s news beyond anything we ever anticipated, and doesn’t quite seem real yet.

And heck yes are we ever so grateful (*wipes tears from eyes*). 

This morning, the emergency operations down in the Keys have decided to open up the roads to residents up to the 7-mile bridge. And tomorrow morning, all the way to Key West.

Which means with our letter of residency from the marina – we should hopefully soon be able to get to Y-Not ourselves.


So why I am posting this, instead of driving down NOW?

Several reasons, which include..

  1. Many residents don’t have the feedback we do on their homes & businesses – and have been waiting anxiously to return. It will be chaos for a bit with just one road down and a backed-up check station. We’ll let them get there before we add to the traffic. We’re anxious to return of course, but we have no immediate actions we need to take to further protect Y-Not. We are already well ahead of so many.
  2. We’ve offered Y-Not up as temporary housing to the person who helped so much with getting word back to us – and we want to keep that available to him, as his home is in pretty bad shape.
  3. We have resources here in Melbourne, and can more effectively smartly provision before rushing down. Once more are on the ground, the needs will be much more apparent – and we can help bring in stuff.
  4. We’re hearing residency is being firmly enforced, and we want a little more confirmation we have everything we need to prove we were living on the boat in the Keys when we left – so we don’t get turned away.
  5. We need to find arrangements for Kiki – taking her down into the conditions reported would not be advisable. We are working that out now.
  6. We are two weeks behind on work already. Once we’re down there – connectivity, resources and time will be severely limited. So we’re going to use this time now to catch up and front load on work for our Mobile Internet Resource Center.

We still also have decisions to make, such as do we bring the bus down (plenty of parking at the marina, and Zephyr is fully self contained) to have as back-up housing, and able to offer others? (That’s a rhetorical question for ourselves that we’ll figure out.)

We don’t anticipate we’ll be sitting on our butts in sweet air conditioning for too long, and will likely be in the Keys by early to mid week.

And we are regularly coordinating with our friend Randy (marina manager) who is also waiting things out a few more days as he heads back to the area. His staff is already ahead of him, and we trust Y-Not has plenty of folks keeping an eye on her for us.


Keys Devastation – Please Support the Causes of your Choice

Don’t let our miracle fool you – the story is unfortuantely not the same for most of the Keys.

Only 60 of the 216 boats in the Boot Key Harbor mooring field are still on their balls – most are washed up into mangroves or onshore. Many boats around the area, even in our own marina, are stacked on top of each other.  Many of those boats were the ONLY homes of fellow cruisers.

Overlay of the Boot Key Harbor mooring field map to the post-Irma fly over. So sad how many open balls there are 🙁   Credit: Shannan Lynes, from the Boot Key Harbor Cruisers FB Group.

Houses and business are devastated, and many have lost everything.

We’re understandably having pings of survivor’s guilt with our own good fortune. And our wallets are already opening up to organizations gearing up to offer relief. Our time will be given up once we’re down there too.

We also encourage YOU to help out as you can and where you can. Whether that be donations or volunteering your own time. Chose the organizations and relief efforts that most call you, and please please please support them.

Once we’re down there, we’ll try to scope out who is doing what and report back on some specific organizations.

Thoughts and prayers are of course meaningful (and have gotten us this far), but what people need now are resources to rebuild. And there’s a lot of rebuilding to be done in Florida, the islands, Texas and fire struck areas out west.

Video Version of this Post:

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29 Comments - Still Plenty of Room for Yours!

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  1. So happy to hear of your good fortune. We worried about your boat as if it were our own. We love you guys and look forward to every video and post. It is so refreshing that you don’t beg for money like most YouTubers. Thanks for sharing your blessed life.

  2. Wonderful news, glad things look good so far. Sad that others are in such distress. I’ve been reading blogs that didn’t have such a good ending as yours and it’s nice you are giving back, helping your neighbors as you are able. I hope the story continues to be positive for most, including a speedy clean up of the area and a return to some normalcy.

  3. When you have ideas of organizations to donate too I will be interested in seeing that list.

    Glad all worked out for you and Y-Not…

  4. Great news from your part of the country. Everything here on The Tenn Tom is calm. We hear new voices of transit boats making their way south to Mobile. Good Luck, John

  5. Great news guys! Good deal! Happy to see Y-Not made it through ok. You might consider purchasing lottery tickets with that kind of luck?

  6. So very, very glad to hear your good news. And so inspiring that you’re reaching out to help others, even in the midst of the challenges that you still face. Blessings to you. Let us know what you discover about relief efforts — we want to donate to them.

  7. We too, had luck on Matlacha Island West of Cape Coral. Our trailer home came thru perfectly and no surge ! So happy for luck. Prayers for those less fortunate. Following you guys for years. We just got off the road 2 years ago after 6 years off motorhoming.

  8. So good to see that Y-not seems to be safe and sound. Be safe in your travels back to the Keys. Rest assured that those of us who watch you videos and read your blogs keep you in our thoughts and prayers and will do our very best to ease the suffering of those who lost so much.

  9. So happy to hear the great news! I know this must be such a load off of your minds. I cannot imagine the turmoil you guys went through waiting to hear word. I will be following along when you guys get to the keys to see how best I can provide assistance from afar. {Hugs}

  10. Flat out amazing! I am just so thrilled for you and so sad for those not as fortunate. I can’t even imagine your joy! Here’s to Y-Not, may she ever have smooth sailing!

  11. So happy to hear this report from the ground! You two are very supported from Above. Must be your generous great hearts and your willingness to help others. Great Karma. Continued Blessings to you and all you help.

  12. Such wonderful news about Y-Not, so amazing that she survived unscathed (or so it appears). And how generous of you to allow someone to use her as a temporary home. You are good peeps indeed, and karma is coming back to you…I really believe this!

  13. So good to hear Y-Not has survived, but more importantly that you both came through unscathed. Everyone we personally know (not many!) in Florida is ok. Good luck with the busy weeks ahead.

  14. So glad to hear the very positive sounding news on Y-Not, and cool of the two of you thinking about those that have not yet found out about their homes, or boats too. Housing for you friend of a friend (Assume a new friend to you too now!), is such a win/win. And the possibility of The Bus Helping others is a nice gesture. That one I suspect would have lots of logistical problems, and hopefully with FEMA and the Conch Republic (I’m a true Conch, born at Navy Hospital in Key West!) kicking into gear – temporary housing will be made available relatively rapidly…

    Enough. And ongoing best wishes to you, Florida and my fell Conch’s in the Key’s:)!

  15. Such wonderful news, and welcome news after all the sad, heartbreaking stories. You have made a withdrawal from your karma bank, after so many deposits to it by continuing to inform those of us who cannot afford to contribute to the cause.
    Looking forward to the next chapter in this fascinating life story you two generously share.

  16. I am glad Y not survived, it is sad so many boats had trouble at the Marina your docked at. I think you are folks who need a clapping session, as you have decided not to add to the traffic Chaos down in the Keys

  17. This is fantastic news guys! I have been following you for a good while, and have shared your angst in this stressful situation. I have been so inspired by your selfless reactions and love how your hearts go out in support of others. All the best to you. Thank you for sharing.

  18. I’m so, so happy for you both and I can’t even imagine the relief you’re feeling. YEA! You have a lot of friends and thanks for keeping us posted.

  19. Phew! A collective sigh of relief can be heard around the RVing/vandweller world.

    Please, do give us some info on local charities that will put donations to good use.

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