Hurricane Irma devastated the British Virgin Islands on September 6th, 2017 as a Category-5 direct hit with sustained winds of 185 mph and gusts of over 220 mph. The eye of the hurricane passed over the entire country of BVI and so much more.
Peter and Jody lived aboard a sailboat in the BVI with their 3-month-old son Brig and their dog Betsy. Jody and Brig flew to the United States just two days before Hurricane Irma hit and Peter stayed behind with Betsy to secure their boat (their home and all their belongings) as best he could. Despite his efforts, it was just not enough. No amount of preparation could have prevented the damage caused by Hurricane Irma even if anyone could have known it would reach the historical strength and size it did.
Although their boat was still barely floating after Hurricane Irma, she sustained significant irreparable damage. Most, if not all, their personal belongings were damaged or destroyed. It is unknown if their boat incurred further damage from Hurricane Maria, also a Category 5 Hurricane, that passed just south of the Virgin Islands only two weeks later. In any case, Peter, Jody, Brig and Betsy evacuated their home with only what they could carry on their backs. They have no home to go back to.
Their little family is alive and safe, and that's of course what matters most. Their belongings can be replaced, but it's easier said than done. They didn't have much inside their tiny floating home but the things they had were very special. They made sure they had everything they would ever need. Friends and family had given them baby gifts for everything Brig would need for the first two years of his life. They were prepared for everything... except losing it all.
This catastrophic event not only destroyed their home but it destroyed their livelihood as well. Peter and Jody worked as Captain and First mate for a daysail company in BVI for nearly two years. The entire tourism industry has been crippled and will take a long time to rebuild. We all remain hopeful for the future of the islands, but the fact is Peter and Jody and so many others are now homeless and unemployed.
BVI is where Brig was born, where they call home, where their dog Gunner was laid to rest on a hilltop, and where their hearts will always belong. Their home, their jobs, and all their belongings are gone.
Peter and Jody have been helping to share information on relief efforts to help the islands and the people that lived there to get immediate supplies, but Peter and Jody need help too. Their boat was insured though they were told it will take a very, very long time, if ever, for their claim to be processed. Right now they are completely dependent on the generosity of friends and family during this incredibly hard time in their lives.
Peter and Jody's ultimate goal is to try to rebuild their lives and contribute to reviving the islands. To learn more about their family, to read their story, and to follow them in the future please visit their website: www.WhereTheCoconutsGrow.com
Many of you have asked how you can help. If you are able to donate to anyone affected by Hurricane Irma, please consider helping this family directly. Larger scale relief funds will help rebuild the country and provide supplies to those that can't or don't want to leave but there are many individual families that were able to evacuate that need help too. If you've appreciated anything they have posted on their blog over the last four years, consider showing your appreciation in the form of a small donation. If you aren't able to donate, please share instead!