Hurricane Irma is breaking up over the southeastern United States, and Cayman was spared the full force of the deadly storm’s fury.
While many on our shores are counting blessings after the near-miss, the destruction we see elsewhere in Irma’s wake is a reminder of the power of nature; a lesson many in Cayman learned 13 years ago during hurricane Ivan.
From more than 200 miles away, hurricane Irma still had plenty of power to put on quite the show Saturday for the many who gathered at West Bay’s Northwest Point dock.
Dangerous, scary, and terrifying are the three words young Abbie Del Campo chose to describe the spectacle of gusty winds and crashing waves before her.
For others, the beauty of nature is best observed from a distance.
“It’s beautiful when it’s like this, you look at it and it’s beautiful to see all the waves, whatever, but let me tell you something, don’t get near it,” said Mike Gooding.
He told Cayman 27 his experience 13 years ago during hurricane Ivan left him forever changed.
“It’s an indelible something that’s within you now, that when you see this, you realise the power of nature, no matter how good you think you are, no matter how powerful you think you are, no way,” said Mr. Gooding.
The winds began to howl, the rains came down, and eventually when Ivan’s wrath reached its crescendo. The concrete building in which he sought refuge began to come apart.
“Let me tell you, I had to be running from room to room to room, and eventually, I had nowhere else to run. The bedrooms, the ceilings, the roof, everything starting to fall apart, and there we were,” said Mr. Gooding. “We really couldn’t do anything.”
In the calm of the storm’s eye, Mr. Gooding saaid he and a friend were able to – as improbable as it sounds – get the roof back on the house.
“We got it back on just before the next round came, and let me tell you that’s what saved us. That was an experience, I would never want go through that again,” said Mr. Gooding.
With Ivan 13 years in the rear-view mirror, the memories remain fresh. He said for his grandchildren, it’s a valuable opportunity for them to witness the power of mother nature for themselves.
“That’s why I brought them here, to teach them, to show them what nature can be like, and we don’t take it for granted, we’ve got to be thankful, that we are really blessed and I really pray god that we stay blessed.”
And while Mr. Gooding counts his blessings after Irma’s near miss, his heart goes out to those who are suffering.
“It hurts to see what they had to go through, and you know it’s heartbreaking when you see the videos of what they went through, and I know what I had to go through because I’ve been through it, you understand, during Ivan. I just have to pray for them, you can’t do anymore,” said Mr. Gooding.