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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Greetings from Grand Cayman island, the future home to hurricane Paloma (got his big toe in here already!).

When I got up this morning, and heard the winds howling, I thought it unlikely we'd get off the island before the storm closed things down. Turns out I was (at least mostly) right.

The group all had switched flights to those leaving at either 9:30 or 10:30 this morning. As it turned out, not quite enough :-(. Going outside around 5:45, I found Jason and Michael (MTJO). Micheal and I had planned to leave for the airport around 6:00. I told Jason I thought we should be leaving ASAP, and I think he and Cheryl took my advice (if only I had! Michael was ready to roll too, but waited for me, which ended up costing him a flight!). Coming out of one of the other rooms, I saw tail lights driving away that I think and hope were Jason and Cheryl. If so, they got out, and were the only of the Searaiders who got to leave the island before the hurricane.

Michael and I headed for the airport (normally a half hour drive) over 3 hours before our flight. After a huge traffic jam and a huge line inside the airport, around the time we were to depart we were told the plane was "closed". Meanwhile, Britt and Todd were still in the traffic jam, and so were a convoy of Ty, Whse, Thor, JMoors and Kathy. They called on my cell phone, and we let them know their flight (and now ours too) were a no go.

Since MTJO and I had turned in our rental cars and could not rent one ("we rent no cars now..."). So we were at the mercy of the Cayman DOT folk dealing with the stranded travelers.

The rest of the Searaiders made their way back to Compass Point where they are now (Michael is on the phone with them now, it hasdn't been cut off yet). We were put up and bussed by the Camanian DOT in a very nice beach front (! NOT the best of places to be maybe?!) condo (still unsure if we're being billed, or American Airlines is, or if it's gratis.....).

And so we await the storm. Should hit at it's strongest around midnight. We're flying home on Sunday.

I hope and am pretty certain we'll alright with this, the Compass Point folks are likely to get hit a little harder (we're in the 7 Mile Beach area, they are on the East End). But the Levoy's were the smartest, getting out when they should have!

More reports as power permits (expect interruption of water and power, possibly cell service in addition to the wind/water etc.). I'm using my Sprint data card for internet, and have NO IDEA what the international roaming rates are going to run me (I have a guess it'll involve a couple appendages ;-)). Wish us luck, but hey! Can't keep the Searaider's down!
 

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Sounds awful... Hang in there, mate!

Leif
 

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Guys, Cheryle and I were the lucky ones. We left Compass Point at 06:00 and only arrived at the airport by the skin of our teeth. We really did not think that our plane would arrive, or take-off once it arrived. At one point, the power at the airport went out, and we went on generator. Very Scary. Delta flew down 2 empty planes from Atlanta to pick up a big group. Our plane was supposed to leave at 09:45. The people at the airport said that once our plane arrived, it had to circle the airport for 30mins just waiting for a window of opportunity to get on the ground. We finally took-off at 10:20, and they closed the airport at 11am. We arrived back home safely in TN just a short time ago.

Cheryle and my prayers are with the rest of the SeaRaiders to weather the storm safely, and be able to arrive back at their respective homes in the very near future. We feel like we cheated Paloma a bit, and are thinking of you VERY frequently during this dangerous time.

BE SAFE SEARAIDERS!!!!!!!!

P.S. If you look at the image below, the eye of the storm is about to pass almost DIRECTLY over where we were staying at Compass Point:-x:-x:-(
 

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Sustained winds are now 120 mph....and its a Cat 3

Here's the latest from the National Hurricane Center

Pray for our friends' safe return...

DANGEROUS MAJOR HURRICANE PALOMA CONTINUING TO STRENGTHEN AS IT
SLOWLY APPROACHES GRAND CAYMAN...

A HURRICANE WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR THE CAYMAN ISLANDS.
PREPARATIONS TO PROTECT LIFE AND PROPERTY SHOULD BE RUSHED TO
COMPLETION.

A HURRICANE WARNING IS ALSO IN EFFECT FOR THE CUBAN PROVINCES OF
SANCTI SPIRITUS...CIEGO DE AVILA...CAMAGUEY AND LAS TUNAS. A
HURRICANE WARNING MEANS THAT HURRICANE CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED
WITHIN THE WARNING AREA WITHIN THE NEXT 24 HOURS. PREPARATIONS TO
PROTECT LIFE AND PROPERTY SHOULD BE RUSHED TO COMPLETION.

A TROPICAL STORM WARNING AND A HURRICANE WATCH ARE IN EFFECT FOR
THE CUBAN PROVINCE OF GRANMA. A HURRICANE WATCH MEANS THAT
HURRICANE CONDITIONS ARE POSSIBLE WITHIN THE WATCH AREA...GENERALLY
WITHIN 36 HOURS. A TROPICAL STORM WARNING MEANS THAT TROPICAL
STORM CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED WITHIN THE WARNING AREA WITHIN THE
NEXT 24 HOURS.

INTERESTS ELSEWHERE IN CUBA AND THE CENTRAL BAHAMAS SHOULD
CLOSELY MONITOR THE PROGRESS OF PALOMA.

FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA...PLEASE MONITOR
PRODUCTS ISSUED BY YOUR LOCAL WEATHER OFFICE.

AT 700 PM EST...0000Z...THE CENTER OF HURRICANE PALOMA WAS LOCATED
NEAR LATITUDE 18.9 NORTH...LONGITUDE 81.1 WEST OR ABOUT 30 MILES...
50 KM...SOUTH OF THE EASTERN END OF GRAND CAYMAN AND ABOUT 275
MILES...440 KM...SOUTHWEST OF CAMAGUEY CUBA.

PALOMA IS MOVING TOWARD THE NORTH-NORTHEAST NEAR 6 MPH...9 KM/HR. A
GRADUAL TURN TOWARD THE NORTHEAST IS FORECAST TO OCCUR OVERNIGHT AND
THAT GENERAL MOTION IS EXPECTED FOR THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS. ON THE
FORECAST TRACK...THE CENTER OF PALOMA WILL PASS NEAR GRAND CAYMAN
TONIGHT...BE NEAR CAYMAN BRAC SATURDAY MORNING...AND BE APPROACHING
THE COAST OF CENTRAL CUBA LATE SATURDAY.

DATA FROM AN AIR FORCE RESERVE UNIT HURRICANE HUNTER AIRCRAFT
INDICATE THAT MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS HAVE INCREASED TO NEAR 115
MPH...185 KM/HR...WITH HIGHER GUSTS. PALOMA IS NOW A CATEGORY THREE
HURRICANE ON THE SAFFIR-SIMPSON SCALE. ADDITIONAL STRENGTHENING IS
POSSIBLE THROUGH SATURDAY MORNING. AFTERWARD...GRADUAL WEAKENING
IS EXPECTED TO BEGIN BY LATE SATURDAY.

HURRICANE FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 25 MILES...35 KM...FROM
THE CENTER...AND TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 120
MILES...195 KM. DURING THE PAST HOUR...SEVERAL REPORTS OF SUSTAINED
WINDS NEAR 60 MPH...97 KM/HR...WITH GUSTS TO NEAR 80 MPH...130
KM/HR...HAVE BEEN RECEIVED FROM AMATEUR/HAM RADIO OPERATORS ON
GRAND CAYMAN.

THE LATEST MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE AS ESTIMATED FROM AIR FORCE
RESERVE HURRICANE HUNTER AIRCRAFT DATA IS 962 MB...28.41 INCHES.

STORM SURGE FLOODING OF 5 TO 7 FEET ABOVE NORMAL TIDE LEVELS...
ACCOMPANIED BY LARGE AND DANGEROUS BATTERING WAVES...IS EXPECTED
NEAR THE CENTER OF PALOMA IN THE CAYMAN ISLANDS. STORM SURGE
FLOODING OF 8 TO 12 FEET IS EXPECTED NEAR AND TO THE EAST OF WHERE
THE CENTER OF PALOMA MAKES LANDFALL ALONG THE SOUTH COAST OF CUBA.

PALOMA IS EXPECTED TO PRODUCE TOTAL RAINFALL ACCUMULATIONS OF 5 TO
10 INCHES OVER THE CAYMAN ISLANDS AND CENTRAL AND EASTERN CUBA WITH
ISOLATED MAXIMUM TOTALS OF 15 INCHES POSSIBLE. FLASH FLOOD AND
MUDSLIDES ARE ALSO POSSIBLE...ESPECIALLY IN HIGHER TERRAIN.

REPEATING THE 700 PM EST POSITION...18.9 N...81.1 W. MOVEMENT
TOWARD...NORTH-NORTHEAST NEAR 6 MPH. MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...115
MPH. MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...962 MB.

THE NEXT ADVISORY WILL BE ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER
 

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Checking in here from the East End. So far so good, we still have power but they've turned off the water on this end of the island.

Like T bone said, the traffic toward Georgetown was unreal. Once we saw that we couldn't make the flight, we headed back here to Ocean Frontiers. All stores along the way had closed, making obtaining supplies such as food and water, impossible. Fortunately we were able to get the keys to all of our old rooms, and raided what was left of everyone's groceries(thanks Jason for the soup and cereal;-)). We then filled the trash cans from the room with water from the swimming pool, so we can wash and flush the toilet.

Right now winds are sustained @ 54 mph w/ gusts up to 77 mph where we are. The storm is now a category 3 w/ winds around 115 at the strongest part of the storm and headed toward the East End. We've checked the batteries on all of our dive lights, and all computer,camera, and cellphone batteries have been topped off.

Not sure how long power will last, and there is talk of the government shutting down power on the East End, but we're hoping for the best. Searaider 2008 has turned out to be one heck of an adventure, with definitely an interesting twist. Was it worth it? You bet your a**:-d

So before the juice goes bye-bye, I'll leave you with a few shots....

TUSA 1000T @ 112 fsw



On the way home.....

 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Checking in from 7 mile beach, all is okay here. Wind is brutal, but that's outside, we're inside. Very fortunate, we still have power and water (both surprising as we'd heard on the radio earlier to expect both shut down). The bus even found a small shop and got us inside to get a few supplies (I'd insisted to the DOT man that we needed supplies.... and the rest on the bus seemed to agree ;-)).

For the East enders, if you've still got power, a good source of info is K Rock on 96.5 FM. Local on the island, was getting info from them enroute to the airport this morning. A bonus is (IMO) great music!

As to a spectacular end to a great adventure, I coudln't agree more. Proof? Ty, if you start the sign up for next years Searaider rally right now, I'm in! :-!
 

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Guys, Thanks for the info. I really didn't sleep much last night worrying about you and hoping that everything is ok. A person cannot get a sense how serious the situation is unless they were in it yesterday morning. Thanks again for the update, and when possible, I will be looking for another.
 

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Just to give you guys a update. We all survived out here on the east end, the storm was pretty dam impressive 80 mile and hour winds tend to blow things around a little bit:). Everyone is having a bite to eat and chatting about the experience. We didn't lose power but we still have no running water. The Nauti-cat sunk sometime last night but other than that and a few things blown around Ocean Frontiers came through in good shape. John, Kathy, Todd, and Britt are getting out tonight at 5 ish and Ty, Gavin and I are scheduled for a 2pm flight tomorrow. Keep you guys posted as things happen. Randy
 

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Just to give you guys a update. We all survived out here on the east end, the storm was pretty dam impressive 80 mile and hour winds tend to blow things around a little bit:). Everyone is having a bite to eat and chatting about the experience. We didn't lose power but we still have no running water. The Nauti-cat sunk sometime last night but other than that and a few things blown around Ocean Frontiers came through in good shape. John, Kathy, Todd, and Britt are getting out tonight at 5 ish and Ty, Gavin and I are scheduled for a 2pm flight tomorrow. Keep you guys posted as things happen. Randy
Thanks for the update Randy. I have been checking the forum every 15 minutes looking for news. I am glad that everyone is safe|>|>|>

That SUCKS to hear about the Nauti-cat. That was a great diveboat.:-:)-:)-:)-(
 
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