If there’s a lesson to take from the devastation and damage caused by Hurricane Dorian in 2019 it’s this—good things can come from bad things. Now of course, I’m not saying it was a good thing that a bad thing (the destruction of areas of the Abacos in the Bahamas) happened.
But after seeing the outpouring of support, and seeing the owners of the Abaco Club, Baker’s Bay Golf & Ocean Club, Tropic Ocean Airways, Walker’s Cay and many other business pour their hearts, souls, and considerable resources into helping the people of the Abacos get back on their feet (and in their homes), the Abacos are getting better every day. And better still, the bonds of community, friendship and love between the various resorts and other companies that were affected, and the local people who work there are even stronger than ever.
The bonds are stronger simply because people like David Southworth, the founder of Southworth Development, an affiliate of which owns the Abaco Club, and Joseph Deitch, the chairman of Southworth Development, dedicated significant resources and helped raise millions of dollars to help the locals as soon as the hurricane passed. In fact, Deitch matched the first $1 million their Abaco-Winding Bay Relief Fund raised.
“You prepare for the worst and hope for the best,” said David Southworth after the hurricane. “In this case, it was nothing short of a miracle that all the club’s staff members survived. That’s the thing we’re most grateful for. The club itself was lucky to have been spared the very worst of Dorian. But without our staff, The Abaco Club is just some really nice homes and a beach.”
“We’re very optimistic about the future of Abaco—and the future of The Abaco Club,” he continues. “There’s a reason why people who come here fall in love with this place—many reasons, actually. And none of them have changed. We’re just grateful to be playing a role in the renaissance taking place, and to be helping the people of Abaco create the kind of future they deserve.”
Meanwhile, the logistical support and critical supplies that Rob Ceravolo, (the ex-Navy aviator and founder of Tropic Ocean Airways that operates a large fleet of luxury seaplanes to destinations all over the Bahamas and the Caribbean) was able to air-lift in right after the hurricane passed was a life saver. Since his fleet of planes can land on the water, he was able to get aid in (and people out) way before the airports had been cleared.
And by partnering up with the maritime logistics badasses (and ex-Navy SEALS) at Blue Tide Marine, their coordinated recovery efforts happened with calm, military precision and effectiveness.
Carl Allen, the owner of Allen Exploration, Walker’s Cay and a fleet of yachts (including his 181-foot support vessel Axis) was another first responder that made a huge impact in the aftermath.
“We arrived on Little Grand Cay five days after the hurricane hit,” he says. “And the people looked like ghosts. Thankfully no one died. Our local caretaker over at Walker’s said he’d been through some bad hurricanes. But nothing like Dorian. He thought he was a goner.” During the early days of the recovery efforts, Allen’s yacht fleet transported and unloaded well over 50 tons of material and equipment. Axis’s captain Les Anan reports delivering everything from generators, construction materials, tools, medical supplies and food in those early days.
And since Baker’s Bay Discovery Land Company’s ultra-exclusive residential resort community was one of the hardest hit, the Baker’s Bay management team set up a recovery fund to directly assist with the immediate disaster relief for their employees and families. Donations have directly helped over 1,000 Bahamian citizens and the company is currently providing support and developing grants and providing for essential needs such as water, food, shelter, education and healthcare through the Discovery Land Foundation.
And this might sound weird in light of the human impact of the destruction that Dorian caused but the best, and most longest lasting help we can provide to the people of the Abacos is to go back! Going on vacation may never be more important (or help more people including yourself)!