Irma was one of the biggest hurricanes that ever hit the United States. Key Lime Sailing Club and Cottages in bay side Key Largo was damaged by the strong winds that felled the fences and trees destroying roofs of some of our cottages. Here is the video of KLSC during Irma. The storm also sucked out the water of the Buttonwood Sound, leaving the boats anchored there stranded on solid ground for some time. We have posted some photos of this phenomenon on our Facebook page. Here are more photos.

Florida Bay without Water

The ocean side of Key Largo took more damage as the surge flooded the streets and canals, some boats can be seen breaking loose and hitting trees and houses. We have videos of Key Largo in the ocean side during Irma as well.

After the storm, it became apparent that Key Largo was spared from the brunt of the devastation that Irma brought. The water came back from the bay smoothly. Key Lime Sailing Club fared considerably well despite needing massive cleaning and repairs, and all of the sailboats in our fleet survived with just minimal damages.

However, South Dade Marina, our sailboat and kayak marina in Florida City, was not so fortunate. During Irma,  the place was under 3.5 feet of water that covered the land and docks. About 40% of our docks were destroyed, boats are left sunken and thrown about, and parts of the building destroyed.  Here are photos of South Dade Marina after Irma.

South Dade Marina after Irma

The Middle and Lower Keys are terribly damaged. Residents who fleed before the storm came back and saw the extent of the devastation. Families lost their homes, livelihood, and some people lost their lives. Until now, emergency personnel and volunteers are going down there to help. Electricity and water have just started to get restored.

For us, the rest of the week was spent cleaning up and repairing Key Lime Sailing Club and Cottages. Thanks to our dedicated staff and volunteers, we made huge progress and seven of the cottages are now online. Just after the storm past, we have provided cottages for first responders, one cottage supporting a lady with no house, and one cottage supporting a very kind family of 5 that lost their houseboat in the hurricane. We now are accepting  reservations for guests. Here are photos of parts of KLSC after the clean up.

Key Lime Sailing Club after Irma Clean Up

Currently we are in the process of recovery and rebuilding. We haven’t started cleaning up South Dade Marina yet. And we are short of resources after all that has happened. To raise funds for the recovery effort, Paul is auctioning off his property in Tennessee on Sept 28th. It is an absolute auction starting BID $1, Paul paid $275,000 around 20 years ago. Please see more info at http://vanmassey.com/?p=2411. Paul’s son Johnny has also set up a GoFundme page to cover some costs in rebuilding South Dade Marina. Please check out the page and help spread the word. We have a nice reward system as a gift to the donors that will help us out.

We would like to thank our guests, friends, and people that are volunteering and offered to volunteered to help us before, during, and after the storm. You have our deepest gratitude and we wish there is something we can do for you in return. Our prayers are with the Lower Keys.

It is amazing that during times of such tragedy, it brings out the best of people. We witnessed heroic rescues, heartwarming charity activities, and many simple scenes of neighbors, authorities, and volunteers helping those people in need. This just shows that it will take more than Irma to break our spirit. We will recover from this tragedy stronger than ever.