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Yes, FLAMINGO... (Cape Sable) the site of the now famous "Mosquito Horrors."
We lived at Dockside Marina in Marathon during this time, and you certainly don't want to leave your boat in a marina during a hurricane. Lots of other boats in the Harbor could break loose and do more damage to you than the hurricane winds. So during the times when we were expected to see the wrath of a hurricane, we escaped to our hurricane hole: The Little Shark River. Flamingo was our only option to reprovision if we were at Little Shark for an extended period of time (like in between hurricanes... one now gone and another one on its way!).
Hold on to your pantyhose... this section includes emails that were sent during our trips to Little Shark River and Flamingo have made the rounds and are included in THE HURRICANE CHRONICLES. I have people approach me whom I've never met... people who have read some of the emails from a friend of a friend of a cousin of a neighbor who worked with their father, who knew us when.... Whew! I tell ya, the Hurricane Chronicles, via email, has made the rounds! It all started as a chronicle of our adventures during the historic Hurricane Season of 2004 -- three major hurricanes within six weeks -- beginning with a Tropical Storm that turned into Hurricane Charley, a Category 1.... then... well, the rest is.. well, history.
We met Tony who works at Flamingo Marina, a man who once lived in Springfield, Illinois, my home town. We immediately began comparing notes of who we both knew. Delightful. Also met Tony's wife, Lee, and their son, Tony Jr. who all work there at Flamingo. What a treat. Good people! Unfortunately, they were the ONLY treat we had while there! hahaha
During the time between Hurricanes Ivan and Jeanne, we found ourselves in Little Shark River needing to re-provision. We wouldn't have time to return to Marathon and then come all the way back to Little Shark. We decided to re-provision at Flamingo... and the rest is... well.... history. You sure you're ready for all this??
If you're looking for hysterical MAIN EVENTS at Flamingo... check out:
"HURRICANE HELL & MOSQUITO MADNESS,"
an email originally sent to our dear, dear friends Peggy & Edwin Aboard m/v TIEMPO.
Another is: "Escape from the Everglades."
The emails of our horrors at Flamingo during the horrific outbreak of the so-called "Hurricane Frances Mosquitoes" made the rounds all over the internet. If you'd like permission to reprint either or both, please contact me: Charmaine@SeptemberSea.com
Also to be enjoyed is "The Hurricane Prep List."
A Sampling of Correspondence - Hurricane Charley
Looks like we might not make it back to Illinois this week as planned. We were to leave Friday morning and fly out of Ft. Lauderdale. However.... Tropical Storm Charley has the idea to become a full fledged Category 1 hurricane in the Keys by Friday. YIKES
Here's a picture of what Tropical Storm Charley looks like right now:
We are located exactly at the "i" of the word Friday. They say it might slip to the east, but that's won't help us at all. Looks like we will plan on leaving The Keys (Marathon) tomorrow and heading to our Hurricane Hole at Little Shark River. It will take us about 12 hours to get there. Lots of rope and back up supplies and we'll get through this just fine. We'll tie up to the mangroves with rope out the ying yang and wait it out. We're sure to have plenty of company, as others from here with their boats to tie up at Little Shark River as well.
We'll put our boat in the slot and tie up to the mangroves all around it. The mosquitoes there are known to
be horrible, but with the winds of the Hurricane they won't be a bother, I'm sure. Anyway, got our 100% Deet that American soldiers used in Vietnam. It works!
Somehow I'd love for Charley to go WAY east and pass us up altogether, but it sure doesn't look like it right now.
Wish us the best. Hope to be online again soon.
Bill and Charmaine Aboard s/v September Sea
Hello my Darlings!
Tropical Storm Charley, near Jamaica at this point, is on its way to the Keys, due Friday, where it is expected to become a Category 2 hurricane. We are preparing right now to leave as of noon (when the next storm update will be posted). If it doesn't change its pattern at that time, we will be on our way to our hurricane hole at Little Shark River. Chris and Yanni aboard s/v Magus will be joining us. We'll get
there and tie up to the mangroves tighter than a priest's sphincter when he's been accused of child molesting. We will be out of touch, as cell phones don't work out there in the Everglades. I suspect that by Monday we will be on our return trip back to Marathon and will be in touch as soon as phone service is up. Let's pray for the best. I know that alligators love dark meat, so I won't be doing any swimming as the eye of the hurricane passes over us. Otherwise, they're most assuredly be the makings of a new film: "Alligator Meets Alley Charmaine." (Did I tell you I grew up in the alleys of the hood?)
Love you both very, very much.
Bill and Charmaine Aboard s/v September Sea
From: Julie Becker
Date: 08/12/04 15:07:44
Subject: Just a quick hello!
Hi Charmaine & Bill, hope this email finds you both in good health. Hear that Charley might be heading your way. Just wanted to let you know Terry and I are thinking of you (which we do often!) and hope you and that beautiful boat will weather the storm ok. Take care of yourselves and let us know how you're doing when you get the chance,
From: s/v September Sea
Hey my Darlings,
It's all good down in the Florida Keys right now! WHEW! Talk about dodging a bullet. Dayam! Hurricane Charley wreaked havoc like no one would have ever thought. Category 4 monster!
Just wanted you all to know, we're fine and dandy... we're now safe and sound back in our slip at the Dockside Marina. (ALL of us are back... hahahaha; even the weird ones!).
As you know, we took off on Wednesday for our hurricane hole, the Little Shark River, located in the Everglades (oh yeah, gotta wear full mosquito armor and pray that an alligator ain't hangin around!). Unfortunately, that put us closer hurricane that was predicted to hit Marathon. It hit us, but it wasn't full force at all, just a bit of what went further north near Punta Gorda.
The hurricane hole is a labyrinth of tall, stout, mangroves meandering along the river beds, so we were snug as bugs up in there.... and bugs is right (the mosquitoes are so thick the mangroves looks black). We were hit with 70 knot winds but faired well with no problems whatsoever. We barely moved, Little September Sea was hunkered down. Bill had chained the ropes to the mangroves and we had six lines strung, three on each side of the boat. Then we put out heavy anchors fore and aft and were sitting like rocks in the river. Fantastic!
Now to keep an eye on Earl. He's moving westward down in the Caribbean... but too close to call right now. If he turns our way, we'll be heading back to the Little Shark. So we're provisioning again just in case. Which means I don't know when we'll make it home. Hurricane Season is through October, even a little bit of November. With all this activity right now, don't know what we're gonna do. We may have to wait til early November to get home. Crap!
Thanks so much for watching over us.... good vibes can work in mysterious ways. I know I did some serious knee work (praying... get your mind outta da gutter! hahaha). I Love everyone... Smooches and Hugs to everyone.
Miss you all so much. We'll get home as soon as we can. Gotta see everybody... and no... I'm not really happy about the fact that not only did I miss seeing you all... but also missed the chance to scarf down some Tom Thumb Donuts at the Illinois State Fair. Life is tough.
Chamaine (& Bill) disappointed Aboard s/v September Sea
THE HURRICANE CHRONICLES
Little did we know that the 2004 Hurricane Season would become historic.
Now, add to that, the historic, unprecedented horrific tragedies of the 2005 Hurricane Season. You can read all about our lives during these events, both before, during and after we tangled with ten hurricanes in back-to-back hurricanes seasons. The writing is often raw and salty, but the message is always the same: KNOWLEDGE, PROPER PREPARATION, & EXTREME CAUTION IS CRUCIAL FOR SURVIVAL. Read all about our experiences with two of the most devastating hurricane seasons in recorded history:
~ Hurricanes Charley, Earl, Frances, Gaston, Ivan, and Jeanne ~
~ Hurricanes Dennis, Emily, Katrina, Rita, and WICKED WILMA ~
~ Hurricanes Chris and Ernesto ~