Flashback Friday: Hurricane Michelle

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Hurricane Michelle didn’t come too close to the Cayman Islands, but we got big waves. I was living in an apartment about 100 feet from the sea and the waves started coming up to the porch. I was trying to nail some plywood into the concrete to cover my sliding glass door, when a huge wave came up. It was easily neck or head high to me, standing on the porch.. I was kind of in the corner of the porch, and as the wave wrapped around me, I put my back against the wall and tried to dig my fingernails into the concrete and not get swept out to sea. I was moving towards the two foot dropoff at the edge of the porch when the water started going down. My feet hit the floor again and I looked to my right and saw a waist high river of water coming out of my apartment where the sliding glass door was. I saw a cardboard box flow out the river. I was getting ready to grab it when I see the nose of my kayak start to come out the door. (I had put it inside because of the hurricane) My dog Ditto was standing on the kayak. I let the box go and grabbed the kayak instead.

My apartment and everything in it was smashed. The bed was smashed, the bookshelves were smashed to splinters. All my books and my computer was destroyed, as were a lot of my CDs. My tool box had saltwater in it, and I didn’t know it for a few days and the tools were ruined.

The cardboard box that floated away had, among other things, my dive log in it, and it was there I lost track of my number of dives. That logbook was number 19, of my scuba log books I had filled up diving at that time. Anyone who knows me knows I log all my dives, and I always have.

In the apartment, you could see how the wave¬† came in at an angle, bounced off the wall, hit the kitchen, lifted the refrigerator. (I found my underwater camera UNDER the fridge). Then it went in the bathroom and you could see like a whirlpool pattern in the wreckage. The glass dinner table was in a million pieces and the wave busted the window unit air conditioner out if it’s hole in the concrete wall. All the windows were broken and the window frames were ripped out of the concrete. There was glass everywhere, and if it had happened at night when I was asleep, I probably would not have survived.

It washed the tiles off the floor.

Hurricane Michelle is the hurricane that broke open the Turtle Farm. Before the big wave, all my neighbors and I were picking up turtles and putting them in the bathtubs. It was a nice, sunny day. Huge giant sea turtles were crashing ashore in the waves, breaking their shells. These big ones were so big that only one would fit in the bed of a full sized pick up truck.

I had insurance, but got ripped off bad. For Hurricane Ivan, I had much less damage but I was ready for the insurance sucker punch to the stomach and I didn’t get cheated, like everyone else did. (All the insurance companies blatantly ripped everyone off and then changed their names after Ivan)

I was the only one who stayed in the apartments. But things kept getting worse. The landlord was fixing all the apartments except mine. There was no tile on my floor, just black glue. Ditto was getting sick, and slowly getting covered in glue.

One Saturday, I couldn’t take it any more. I went to my office at work, made a cup of coffee and sat down with the paper in the cool air conditioning. I found one apartment, made one phone call, went and looked, and moved into the apartment. I stayed there six years, and it was the apartment I had before I moved into this house.

And that’s my Flashback Friday. Have a good weekend!!!!

9 thoughts on “Flashback Friday: Hurricane Michelle

  1. So sorry you had to go through all of this…..however, I think you missed your calling in life Mark, you should have been a writer….although a tragic story, this was wonderfully written. Keep it up!

  2. Wow what an experience. I think that would be one I’d rather forget. Glad you and Ditto were OK. Lordy we are so lucky over here we just have boring floods. Have a fabulous Friday.
    Best wishes Molly
    PS thank you for telling your wife about us. We will be following her picture blog which we liked very much.

  3. Thats wild! As long as I’ve known you and I never knew your went thru such a horrific experience. As sad as it was to lose your dive logs, I’m glad you grabbed the kayak with Ditto in it! Sounds like you are pretty lucky to have made it out of that alive!

  4. What a coincidence, I was just looking at my Hurricane Michelle photos this week. My parents house had way more damage from Michelle that it did from Ivan too. I also remembered your bunch of problems especially that tool box!

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