Saturday, October 14, 2017

Hurricane Irma and Information on our Boat

We are trying to enjoy the fall activities, while still dealing with hurricane and insurance issues. Things are moving very slowly due to the massive amount of damage and the remote location.  We are being patient.

We know our fifth wheel is a total loss and are waiting for the insurance company to find a company capable of picking the pieces up and towing it away.

We are hoping to get more info on our boat today. It is stored on Venture Out property in a secured storage lot.  There are 100-150 boats in the lot, all in assigned spaces.  At least they were.  Now they are in a jumbled up mess. Some are some off their trailers, some on top of other boats and in all kinds of conditions.

It is a big mess and one boat can't be moved without the risk of damaging others.   It needed to be a coordinated well thought out operation.

With the extent of other damages, the boat lots were not the highest priority and we completely understood that.  There are still people without electricity to their lots.  Ours included since our Rv destroyed our power and water pedestals.  Many homes were destroyed or badly damaged.  I do not believe anyone escaped some sort of damage.

The other night, we got a message from the HOA president stating Sea Tow has been contracted to begin untangling the boats and that we would all be responsible to pay their fees.  Sea Tow is the company many of us use in case we breakdown offshore, they will tow you in. They were bringing in a crane and if your boat needed crane services, the cost would be $175 a FOOT!  Most boats would need some sort of crane service to right the boats or put them back on the trailers.  We weren't given any choices, or notice that this was being done and no further explanation was given.

Needless to say, we were extremely upset knowing this had all been decided for us without any input, or the opportunity to involve our insurance companies.  We were going to have  a $3000 bill to move our boat when we had insurance that would have taken care of it with no cost to us.

After a day of phone calls, and research, we found out that marine salvage was a whole new deal and could not be done by just anyone.  There was the possibility of spilled fuel and battery acid that needed to be considered.  Plus the liability of  possibility damaging another boat while trying to get your boat out.

We determined these charges were pretty much standard, and that most insurance companies would pay Sea Tow's outrageous fees. I think these charges are excessive but it was not my call and as long as Progressive pays the bill, we will not argue.  I'm sure it will be expensive picking up our trailer as well. I am sure there are boats with no insurance which would leave these ridiculous fees up to the boat owner.

We saw a post on Facebook the other day where a guy was looking for someone to pick up his car.  He had no insurance on it because he didn't use it during the summer and took the coverage off.  A lot of people do that but you always need to leave comprehensive coverage on it and this is a perfect example why.

I made a phone call to Progressive who insures both our boat and trailer and confirmed Sea Toy was one of their contractors and there should be no problem with them paying for their fees for our boat. I will feel better when I know that for sure.

I then contacted Sea Tow and Progressive and got an appraiser scheduled to inspect the boat today once it was moved away from the other boats.  They are not allowing anyone on the boat lots except employees of Sea Tow and Insurance adjusters.  We do not think our boat will be a total loss, but until the adjuster is able to inspect it, we won't know for sure.  We do not know what kind of water intrusion we got or if there was any damage to the motor.

This is an example of what Sea Tow has to deal with.

The small boat facing out in  the picture below is ours.  As it turns out, our boat had been shifted from our trailer a little bit, but our boat and trailer was on top of another trailer.  We will definitely need crane services.

 The Proline boat is ours. You can see how tight of a space it is in.  We were not able to view the motor at all.   You can see what was probably the waterline on our boat.

This is also part of our boat and the jumbled mess it is in.

This is a picture we took from above with our drone. Our boat is towards the left next to the white car with the yellow cushion and bait bucket in the front.

These were also  taken from our drone from above and a good example of what they have to deal with.

We knew it wasn't going to be an easy job to separate all these boats without damaging others.

I am also in the process of making a detailed list of every item that was in our trailer that we were not able to salvage. 

I am trying to document our Hurricane Irma adventures so I apologize for another boring disaster post.  We have been doing fun things and I have some pictures taken from our drone and of our adventures.   We are doing ok and dealing with this one step at a time.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Hurricane Irma and Damage to Our Rv

Blairsville, Ga (high 75, low 46)

In case you haven't been following my blog, you can catch up HERE

We are now back in Georgia after a very hot and tiring trip down to the Keys.  We felt we should go down to inspect our Fifth Wheel and boat, and to see if we could salvage anything. We left the beautiful mountains and the cool weather to go to the heat and destruction in the Florida Keys.

We (the cats included) were exhausted after our trip and were so glad to be back in Georgia. 

We stayed with my cousin and her wife who have a home in Key West. Thankfully they only had  minimal damage.  They had evacuated to North Carolina and just got back a day or two before we arrived.  They were generous enough to invite all of us (kitties too)  to stay with them, even though they were still trying to get their house and property back to normal after their evacuation.

The eye of the hurricane struck Cudjoe Key (where our lot is) and spared Key West from the worst damage, and was lucky to have been on the "good" side of the storm.  Key West  lost a LOT of trees and some were real heart breakers, but for the most part they did pretty well. There is a lot of clean up to be done, but they are doing their best to open back up for tourism.  Too many jobs depend on tourism and the people need to get back to work.  More and more restaurants and bars are opening up every day.  As of October 1st, Key West is officially open for tourism.  A little beaten and battered for sure, but open for business.  Cudjoe, Marathon, Big pine and the lower keys are NOT ready for tourism and it will be a while before anyone even wants to go to that part of the Keys.

We didn't do any sightseeing in Key West and only went to the places we needed to go. The heat was so overwhelming that it sapped every bit of your energy.  I remember why we don't go to the Keys in the summer.

On our drive  down from Tampa we didn't see too much damage until we left the mainland and got into the Keys. The further south in the Keys we drove, the more damage we saw.  It was bad in the upper Keys, but once you entered Marathon, it kept getting worse and worse. The hardest hit was Marathon, Big Pine, Ramrod, and Cudjoe Key.  The eye of Hurricane Irma made landfall on Cudjoe Key, but I think Big Pine Key had even worse damage than we did in Cudjoe Key.

The first days and weeks were bad for those who had not evacuated. They were not allowing anyone back into the Keys until they could inspect the bridges, and clear power lines, boats and debris off the roads. There was no power, no running water, no sewer, no hospitals, no fuel and no police, except the few that volunteered to stay.  There were a lot of emergency management folks from FEMA, the military, the insurance companies, Red Cross and many more. There were linemen from about every state in the country along with about as many tree companies from various states.  They were a huge blessing and without all their help, it would have never gotten done.  There was free water and ice being given out and even free meals. You could get medical help, tetanus shots and there were even free veterinary clinics, which of course I particularly liked.

The electric didn't come back on for days and then just a little bit at a time. The upper Keys got their power back fairly quickly, but  Cudjoe Key only got electric (and air conditioning) back yesterday, which was over three weeks after the storm!

We made a quick stop at our lot to survey the damage in person.  We needed to drop the cats off at Anne and Jan's so we couldn't stay long.  It was even more devastating than we thought to actually see it in person.  We had seen pictures, but nothing prepares you for the real thing.

This is Spanish Main Drive.  It is the road that leads into our community and the hurricane devastated the power grid.   You can tell why it took three weeks to restore the power.  

This is the underside of our fifth wheel.  The emergency responders go around to check for dead bodies and mark the homes with the orange paint. Fortunately, ours had a 0 in the bottom part of the X which indicated no one was found inside.   :)

When I first saw this picture, of the orange paint for some reason it really hit me hard and made me cry.   It made it really hit home, I guess. This is the bottom of our fifth wheel.

Since our trailer was so spread out, I guess they felt the need to paint ours twice, once on the bottom and once on the other side.  This is on the living room slide.  You can see the microwave sitting on the top. We never could figure out how it got up there, but two shell magnets were still stuck to the sides.  Those are two of the items we were able to salvage.  

You can see the travel trailer upright next to ours. It was moved a little and the hurricane anchors were pulled out of the ground, but it appears to have survived.  Of course we don't know if any water got inside.

We feel certain a tornado caused our damage because of the extensive damage to ours and not to the others around us.  Hurricanes always spin up tornadoes. One picture I took shows where our frame was actually bent apparently from the tornado.

This is the front of our fifth wheel.  It did not touch the trailer next door.  His car even seemed to be fine.

We dropped the kitties off and then Anne and Jan insisted on coming back with us to help us retrieve anything that we could. They had already spend half the day helping friends on Ramrod Key and I'm sure going back out in the heat was the last thing they wanted to do.  

One man in our community actually died from heat stroke and another was hospitalized for several days.  You could not drink enough water to make up for that heat. We all felt the effects of the heat and could easily have gotten heat stroke.

Our community is a mixed use resort with high rise homes on stilts like you see here.  Midrise, old trailers and rv lots.  There are 659 lots here and I didn't see even one without some sort of damage.  Some damage was obviously worse than others. 

We found some of our things in the debris, some water damaged, some broken and some stuff was actually good.  

If you look carefully, underneath the slide is our bent power pedestal.

This is one of the hurricane anchors Al installed before we left in June.  He rented an auger that drilled down into the very hard coral rock.  It was next to impossible to drill through and poor Al nearly killed himself doing it.   The winds pulled them right out of the ground.  The chains held though.

This post is long enough so I will stop here and come back soon with more of the story.  Yes, we did find the boat.  Sort of.

To end the post on a positive note:   Meet Mulligan.  She is Anne and Jan's pup.  She cheered us all up every day.