Replied to an email asking for pilots to fly donated Christmas presents over to Treasure Cay, Bahamas. My wife and I had been to the area last year before Dorian hit, and I was happy to be able to come back.
Took out the passenger seat and loaded the 9A down with what I could safely fit. Toys were picked up at KSPG in St Pete where they had been donated to Sol Relief.
Looking down on Treasure Cay. No roofs left intact and trees and debris everywhere.
One other plane on the ramp at Treasure Cay. The old terminal building is destroyed, as is all the other infrastructure at the airport. Just two small RV trailers for the customs people, who were very friendly. Was not charged any fees the entire trip.
I offloaded the toys, ate a picnic lunch, and took off back to Florida. Didn’t make it 20 minutes before I saw a wall of rain and the ADSB weather picture popped up. I had plenty of fuel to get to Ft Pierce as was planned, but not enough to comfortably fly all over picking my way through storm cells, especially with the 40 knot headwind, so I aborted and headed back to Treasure Cay. The forecast did not look good, with a convective line sitting right off the whole east coast of FL and standing still.
My contact with Sol Relief put me in touch with a local contact on Green Turtle Cay, where my wife and I had stayed before, and I jumped on the ferry to go meet “Big Tuna”. He set me up at a large home that had running water and a generator, where 7 other volunteers were staying. They were from a NY carpenters union and were volunteering on Green Turtle helping repair roofs. We also went for a tour around the small island to see some of the damage. Many homes will need to be completely leveled, and the others will at least need new roofs and lots of work. Power is almost exclusively from home generators at the moment. Just getting the massive amount of debris, including boats washed up on shore, cleared out will be a huge task.
Saturday morning awoke to a much better forecast, and took the 10am ferry from Green Turtle back to Treasure Cay and headed for Freeport, Grand Bahama, MYGF, to get fuel and finish my flight plan back to FL. The winds were still 40 knots on the nose so decided I’d be happier with full tanks. The large airport in Freeport is up and running with commercial flights and a tower, but I wasn’t able to get a hold of anybody at either Freeport Approach or Freeport Radio. The main terminal building is in good shape, but the FBO is just a large tent now. Customs was again easy and still no fees charged. I filed my DVFR flight plan back to KFPR, filled out my EAPIS, and called customs in Ft Pierce, and then took off into a 40 knot breeze right down the runway. Think I took off going backwards.
Landing in Ft Pierce. Once again, CBP guy told me the painter’s tape N-numbers were not allowed, and once again I played dumb and apologized. Not worth arguing. Had my first real meal in 36 hours at the airport Tiki.
Flew home to Zephyrhills staying as low as possible to avoid the winds up high, and put her back to bed.
Will definitely be back.