Dear Friends of Bitter End,
When I last communicated, Lauren and I had set up camp in the southeast corner of Puerto Rico at Las Palmas to continue with Virgin Gorda humanitarian relief and recovery efforts and to begin planning Bitter End’s revival. Las Palmas is a key base for the “Puerto Rican Navy” that has been so committed to Virgin Gorda in Irma’s aftermath. Unfortunately, we forgot to disable the hurricane magnets and after a week in which we were able to make two productive visits to North Sound and the Valley as well as coordinate a number of evacuations, we found Maria bearing down on us. Two of the evacuees, Ingrid and Peter from Saba Rock along with their two dogs and two cats, were our campmates and provided invaluable help in coping with Maria and her horrendous aftermath.
Not only has Maria devastated Puerto Rico and created a humanitarian crisis whose scale and impact on American citizens may be unprecedented, she also has destroyed the lifeline that was so important to Virgin Gordians in the days following Irma. Now, our Puerto Rican Navy friends whose energy, empathy and generosity has been so valuable to Virgin Gorda, find themselves without power, water, fuel and communications for the foreseeable future. Lauren, Ingrid, Peter and I were able to fly back to the mainland last Tuesday. We did not want to remain and unnecessarily add to the depletion of scarce resources that are critical to the Puerto Rican people, themselves.
Once more, we will regroup and continue to make the best contribution possible to Virgin Gorda’s relief and recovery, part of which will include planning for Bitter End’s future.
Finally, we want to extend our heartfelt thanks to all of those who have contributed to the relief efforts and to the Bitter End community for the overwhelming support and concern during this challenging time.