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Yachts rally resources for Hurricane Joaquin relief in the Bahamas

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UPDATED POST OCT. 31, 2015

By Lucy Chabot Reed and Dorie Cox

Capt. Garry Schenck is surprised how much a few simple changes in his life have made a difference. His career is back on track, he’s rebuilding a relationship with his grown daughter, and he was a servant of God as he recently delivered food, water and clothing to the southern Bahamas badly hit by Hurricane Joaquin the last week in September.

“I was in church Sunday — I almost didn’t make it but I was there — and a woman was asking for donations for the relief effort,” Capt. Schenck said the week after the storm. “Then she said she’d worry about how to get them there later.”

In retelling the story, he raised his hand.

“I can help with that,” he recalled saying. “I’m leaving Saturday morning.”

Capt. Schenck was called just a few days before to take over a weeklong trip for some guests out of Emerald Bay. Capt. John LaNeve of Four Buoys yacht management couldn’t make the trip and asked Capt. Schenck to fill in on the 74-foot Stephens M/Y Tamaroa.

When Schenck called him for the OK to bring some relief supplies to the islands, Capt. LaNeve didn’t even let him finish asking before giving the go-ahead, as long as the supplies could be stowed safely and there would be no damage to the interior.

So Capt. Schenck put out the word for donations. Bahia Mar Yachting Center donated a slip where he docked to collect and stow them, and Bay Street Marina in Nassau donated a slip for offloading.

He took as much stuff as he could safely fit and helped connect people with other boats heading over at later dates.

Long Island, Crooked Island, Acklins and San Salvador suffered the worst of the damage when the then-Category 4 Hurricane Joaquin stalled over the area and dumped rain for hours. Storm surge also caused flooding in much of the area. Weather.com reported that about 85 percent of the homes in one settlement on Crooked Island were destroyed.

Nassau, Harbour Island and Freeport fared well, said Jacqueline Callender, dockmaster at Bay Street Marina with Peter Maurys.

“But if you can remember what Katrina did to New Orleans, that’s what it’s like on Long Island,” she said. “People lost everything.”

The quickness with which the storm developed caught many in the Bahamas off guard, she said. And on islands where communication isn’t the greatest, many were poorly informed.

“But it was mostly structural,” Callender said, noting that there were no deaths reported in the Bahamas. “We bleed, but we will heal.”

The Red Cross has asked for supplies for babies and children, especially diapers, baby wipes and clothing, as well as insect repellant, disinfectant, bedding and feminine hygiene products.

Callender said anyone coming to help with hurricane relief can have free dockage. The marina can handle yachts up to 300 feet with a draft no more than 14 feet. (For details, e-mail Callender at jacqueline@baystreetmarina.com.)

Other yachts have been gathering supplies on their own. Capt. Todd Likins of M/Y Just Enough left West Palm Beach on Oct. 10 overflowing with donations.

“This is a guerrilla way to do it, but it triggers action,” Likins said by phone in Florida. “Every little bit helps, every shirt, every tarp. But it is just a drop in the bucket.”

Likins hopes media coverage and conversations will motivate future donations such as fully loaded barges and water-making equipment. He said people need to keep donating for at least six months, and that any boat going to the Bahamas should take supplies.

“We yachts have the ability to do this, we have the transport and we are self-contained,” Likins said. “We all deal with the Bahamas, but the parts that were hit are the ones we don’t go to. But these islands are still part of the country.”

“We have all gotten so much from the Bahamas,” Schenck said. “That helps make this the yachting capital of the world. Let’s pay it forward.”

It seems to be working. At press time, Schenck said Callender told him that almost every boat that has arrived into Bay Street Marina has offloaded relief supplies.

For more information or to make donations, contact:

  • YachtAid Global orchestrates the delivery of disaster relief through yachts that can take aboard supplies for transport.
  • HeadKnowles is a Bahamian group that manages relief efforts and will later rebuild homes in the islands.
  • Eagles Wings foundation was founded in 1999 during the Bahamian relief efforts after Hurricane Floyd and continues to help hard-hit areas.
  • Search Facebook.com for Stop Off & Drop Off for Bahamas or call +1 239-572-0887.  Capt. Barbara Evans, Carey Chen and Capt. Ed Thompson suggest vessels re-positioning in the Bahamas take rebuilding supplies with them to stop off and drop off.

Lucy Chabot Reed and Dorie Cox are editors at The Triton. Comments are welcome at editorial@the-triton.com.

ORIGINAL POST OCT. 6, 2015

Donations needed for hurricane relief in Bahamas

Capt. Garry Schenck is surprised how much a few simple changes in his life have made a difference. His career is back on track, he’s rebuilding a relationship with his grown daughter, and come Saturday, he’ll be a servant of God as he delivers food, water and clothing to the southern Bahamas badly hit by Hurricane Joaquin on Saturday.

“I was in church Sunday — I almost didn’t make it but I was there — and a woman was asking for donations for the relief effort,” Capt. Schenck said. “Then she said she’d worry about how to get them there later.”

In retelling the story, he raised his hand.

“I can help with that,” he recalled saying. “I’m leaving Saturday morning.”

Capt. Schenck was called just a few days before to take over a weeklong trip for some guests out of Emerald Bay. Capt. John LaNeve of Four Buoys yacht management couldn’t make the trip and asked Capt. Schenck to fill in on the 74-foot Stephens M/Y Tamaroa.

When Schenck called him for the OK, Capt. LaNeve didn’t even let him finish asking before giving the go-ahead, as long as the supplies could be stowed safely and there would be no damage to the interior.

So now Capt. Schenck is putting out the word for donations. Bahia Mar Yachting Center has donated a slip Friday so he can dock in a convenient place to collect and stow them, and Bay Street Marina in Nassau has donated a slip Saturday so he can offload them.

Bahamas relief mission.

Bahamas relief mission.

“I’ll take as much stuff as I can safely fit,” he said. “And if there’s more, we need to find some other boats heading over.” He’s focused on non-perishable food, water and clothing. “If we get lucky, we might find some generators, extension cords, flashlights and batteries.”

Long Island, Crooked Island, Acklins and San Salvador suffered the worst of the damage when the then-Category 4 Hurricane Joaquin stalled over the area and dumped rain for hours. Storm surge also caused flooding in much of the area. Weather.com reported that about 85 percent of the homes in one settlement on Crooked Island were destroyed.

Nassau, Harbour Island and Freeport fared well, said Jacqueline Callender, dockmaster at Bay Street Marina with Peter Maurys.

“But if you can remember what Katrina did to New Orleans, that’s what it’s like on Long Island,” she said. “People lost everything.”

The quickness with which the storm developed caught many in the Bahamas off guard, she said. And on islands where communication isn’t the greatest, many were poorly informed.

“But it was mostly structural,” Callender said, noting that there were no deaths reported in the Bahamas. “We bleed, but we will heal.”

The Red Cross has asked for supplies for babies and children, especially diapers, baby wipes and clothing, as well as insect repellant, disinfectant, bedding and feminine hygiene products.

“I thank Garry so much for getting the word out there,” Callender said. “They really need everything.”

Wenzel Rolle, Jeremy Beller and Capt. Garry Schenck load donated supplies for Hurricane Joaquin relief effort in the Bahamas. (Oct. 9 at Bahia Mar Marina Ft. Lauderdale). PHOTO/DORIE COX

Wenzel Rolle, Jeremy Beller and Capt. Garry Schenck load donated supplies for Hurricane Joaquin relief effort in the Bahamas. (Oct. 9 at Bahia Mar Marina Ft. Lauderdale). PHOTO/DORIE COX

Callender said anyone coming to help with hurricane relief can have free dockage. The marina can handle yachts up to 300 feet with a draft no more than 14 feet. (For details, e-mail Callender at jacqueline@baystreetmarina.com.)

“We have all gotten so much from the Bahamas. That helps make this the yachting capital of the world,” Capt. Schenck said from Ft. Lauderdale. “Let’s pay it forward.”

While this weekend’s trip will help some people, it’s really just another piece of his life that is changing for the better.

“I’ve grown up,” he said. “I put down the drink and went back to church, and God put this boat in my path. I’m 50; it’s time.”

For more information or to make donations, contact Capt. Schenck at captgarrys@yahoo.com or +1 954-232-5772.

Capt. Todd Likins of the 140-foot M/Y Just Enough is also planning a trip this weekend to bring relief supplies. He is in Rybovich this week and welcomes donations. Contact him at captainjustenough@gmail.com.

Lucy Chabot Reed is editor of The Triton. Comments are welcome below.

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6 thoughts on “Yachts rally resources for Hurricane Joaquin relief in the Bahamas

  1. CAPTAIN Brian Fulford

    I feel very sorry for the people who in the Bahamas have suffered with hurricane damage ..a real shame …..Unfortunatly with the monies charged to us when we decide to go to any of the BAHAMAS ISLANDS we are charged not a entering fee to be there that’s a reasonable amount ..but a huge amount . up to 400/500/600 dollars to clear in … yet when a Bahamian vessel visits the USA there is no charges ??? how do my fellow boaters who have worked hard to eventually buy a boat feel perhaps there Government should cough up there fees to help the local needy …. plus of course fuel charges .. Thank you for letting me make a comment .. Yours Sincerely Capt Brian Fulford …… Ocean MASTER

  2. Moses Daxon

    During this emergency the fees for entering are waived for humanitarian efforts.

  3. Moses Daxon

    thanks to all who help to trnsport Bahamian Relief to the damaged islands of southern bahamas.
    Modrd F. Daxon

  4. Capt. David Carswell

    I am a semi-retired yacht captain (Master 200 Ton) in South Florida, currently located in Hobe Sound. Given the opportunity, I would like to give something back to the people of the Bahamas.
    I would like to donate my skills in an effort to attempt to pay back my friends in the Bahamas for sharing their great country with me and so many of my guests that I have introduced to the Bahamas.
    I am approaching 60 years old and though I am not dead, my abilities do have some limitations. I am able and willing to stand a watch on any vessel providing assistance.
    Capt. David Carswell
    captdavec1@yahoo.com

  5. Sereta Gregory

    So glad we are collecting items for those in need in the Eastern Bahamas…this FBO is also collecting nonperishables, clothing and toiletries:

    Odyssey Aviation
    Attn: Hurricane Relief
    1535 S Perimeter Road
    Hangar 36A
    Fort Lauderdale FL 33309

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