|Hi, everyone. I know you’ve been waiting to hear from me but lack of power was a HUGE issue until it finally returned late yesterday afternoon. The internet has also been a little weird…which is understandable considering this storm we just went through. Hurricane Irma was a monster — if anyone tells you it was not as not here. It was the scariest experience of my life.
Greetings from Paradise got started right after Hurricanes Charlie and Wilma. We sat through both of those in our Trieste condo and thought we would go elsewhere for this one….even though Bob was willing to stay here for Irma. We checked into the Ritz Tiburon on Friday….Irma came through on Sunday. At the height of the storm, the noise from the vicious winds sounded like a freight train coming straight for us. The pressure of the storm even made my ears pop. The eye of Irma came right over us and it was beyond terrifying. We could hear things cracking and breaking outside — as it turns out, it was trees falling and tiles coming off of the roof of the Ritz and crashing on the lanais’ of rooms or on the ground below. We lost power and water at 9:06 pm. Fortunately, the Ritz had instructed us to fill our bathtubs with water so we could use that for flushing. The next day, the Ritz closed at noon so everyone had to leave. They will not reopen until October 1 due to damage done by Irma.
On our way home, it was like we had landed on another planet. There was no power anywhere and massive amounts of debris were everywhere. No stoplights were working. Collier County Sheriff people were trying to direct traffic at 41 and Vanderbilt Beach Road. As we turned onto Pelican Bay Boulevard, it was as though a bomb had gone off. The streets were barely passible — in many cases one lane only had to be used for both going and coming traffic. Trees were down EVERYWHERE. At the entrance to Bay Colony, all f our beautiful tall stately palms have been stripped of the fronds and stood naked in the sunlight. Bay Colony Drive was barely passible as well — trees, debris. broken and pushed over lamp posts were the rule rather an exception. The entrance to our Trieste featured a broken tree, our long hedges lining the driveway are nearly gone. one of our iron gates was ripped from its base but our condo building looked in great shape. We were without power until late yesterday afternoon. In the meantime, our Head of Maintenance and our Senior Main Desk guy were here throughout the storm and made sure we could use elevators while we were without power and on the generator. We also had water the entire time without power — and our garage had almost no water in it – amazing. What was so sobering was to look out our window toward the Bay Colony Beach Club. We could barely see the roof of it before…..now the entire building is in plain full view. It was like looking at the moon with buildings on it.
Bob and I drove around town yesterday and today. Our Bay Colony Golf Club was another war zone. The homes look in great shape but the vegetation was thrashed as were the trees. Some were just picked up by the winds and moved elsewhere. Along Pelican Bay Boulevard, worker bees were sawing and sawing to try and get the trees out of the way so cars could get by. Sidewalks have been pulled by the fallen trees. Was SHOCKED to see that the big cranes at the Mystique condo site were still there and standing!! The Glenview was so damaged that it is uninhabitable for the foreseeable future. Part of the roof was blown off the Naples Grande Hotel. Along Crayton, there is power pole bent in half. More trees down and debris everywhere. Venetian Village took a serious hit with trees that had fallen on buildings. There is still no power all along Gulfshore Boulevard. The entrances to the condos are decimated with tree damage. Going south as you approach older buildings, shutters had blown off…part of condo roofs had blown off. As we went farther south into Naples, the tree damage got worse and worse…and we could see where the Gulf had made its surge. Thank God that the storm surge was not as bad as predicted.
Oh, by the way — Publix stores opened yesterday and we could not figure out how. So we drove up there to see — the Marketplace at Pelican Bay was without power and Publix was open on generator power selling I don’t know what for cash only. The lines were incredibly long. The parking lot was so covered with debris that we could not see the asphalt.
I don’t know what else I can tell you except that Hurricane Irma was the scariest storm ever. I hope this helps you know a bit of what is going on here. I will do my best to update you as news breaks. Oh — and Bob Harden was right. We could have stayed here during the storm. No damage at all. Our Trieste is quite the fortress. Until next time —