Just over 13 years ago, I was on the south shore of Grand Cayman, watching as the first waves from an approaching hurricane began to roll in.
Being born and raised in the Cayman Islands, I had seen a handful of hurricanes, including Gilbert in ’88 and and Mitch 10 years later.
As a kid, I remember a hurricane warning meaning time off school, rain and big surf...possibly a few downed trees.
Seeing the smile on my face in these photos, I was in no way prepared for what was to come.
The eye of Hurricane Ivan passed 21 miles SW of Grand Cayman in the early morning hours of September 12th 2004. The Category 5 storm battered the island with winds of 150 mph and gusts up to 220 mph. Waves of up to 30 feet bashed our shorelines, and there was island-wide flooding from the storm surge.
Once the storm had passed, and we were able to venture outside, what was left could only be described as a war zone. There was total devastation. Everywhere. Over 70% of the homes on the island were severely damaged, and half of the trees and cars were gone.
A day later, on September 13th 2004, the recovery efforts began. For someone who had just lost almost all of their earthly belongings, rebuilding seemed like an impossible task, and despair began to set in.
It was thanks to family, friends, neighbors, and often complete strangers, that we were able to get the emotional and financial support that we needed to rebuild. I will always be grateful for those who helped me during that period.
When all was said and done, Hurricane Ivan caused over $43 billion in damages, and claimed 92 lives in the Caribbean and Gulf.
The string of Hurricanes this year has caused record setting destruction from the Eastern Caribbean through the Gulf. For many of these communities, the rebuilding process will not be measured in days or weeks, but months and years.
In a very small way, we at S.Å.K. would like to pay it forward, and are offering a limited edition 20L DrySåk in “first aid” red.
All profits from the sale of this bag will be donated to organizations on the front lines of the relief efforts.
Please show your support, and consider ordering one.