Post-Wedding Mistake #47: Leaving Our Boat in the Florida Keys (for Hurricane Irma)…

We haven’t written about it much, but let’s just say our dream wedding, underwater in Key Largo, FL, didn’t quite go as planned.  The weather made going out on the boat impossible, so we last-minute changed to have our wedding on the beach (which was, admittedly, gorgeous).  Our truck, which needed a new engine before the honeymoon, wasn’t done in time for the wedding, so we had to travel back home between the wedding and the honeymoon.  I could go on (two brand-new tires on our boat trailer blew at once, we were stopped by FWC under suspicion of being drug smugglers, the resort lost our reservation….you name it, it happened), but I’ll spare you the full details.  One day, maybe.  Long story short, we’re rescheduling our honeymoon because whatever trip we took post-wedding, it was the opposite of relaxing and celebratory.  So we’ll try again over the holidays.

But I digress.  After everything went terribly wrong on what we’re now calling our “non-honeymoon” (um, hello, is the entire swim platform SUPPOSED to fall off?  In 40 feet of water?), we decided we’d have to head back to the Keys soon to try again.  So, instead of hauling the boat all the way back up to Tampa (a 4-5 hour drive without a trailer, but an 8 hour trip while hauling such a large boat), we decided to find a storage facility to keep it in Marathon, FL, near the resort we like to visit.

Two days later, we were so proud of ourselves, having located a decent on-land storage facility that both had availability and was reasonably priced.  So, in mid-August of this year, off we went home to Tampa, taking everything valuable off the boat but leaving it parked on the Bay side of Marathon.

Fast forward a few weeks, when the whole of Florida realized that Hurricane Irma would be hitting us.  Hard.  The forecast path for the storm left us too busy worrying about our house in Tampa, and ultimately evacuating (we live in the worst possible flood zone, which puts us right near the boat ramp but is awful in a storm) to have time to go down to the Florida Keys to retrieve the boat.  And, frankly, by the time we realized how bad things were going to get, it was already too late – the Keys were evacuating, and it’s doubtful we would have made it in to get the boat.  Plus, we were facing estimates of storm surge of up to 8 to 12 feet in Tampa – so where would we take the boat?

So, after we were back from having evacuated ourselves for the storm, we started to wonder how the boat had fared.  With reports that up to 25% of the homes in the Keys were destroyed, we initially assumed that we might not even be able to locate our boat amid the debris.

However, about a week after the storm, NOAA began posting satellite imagery of the Keys, to help evacuees wondering about their homes.  And it turned out that we could see the storage facility on the images:

This isn’t the whole facility, obviously – but it is the most destroyed part.  In case you’re wondering, no, that billboard wasn’t originally collapsed on top of several boats; and yes, that Chevron sign and awning weren’t previously flat.

Regardless, to make a long story short, our boat is a little re-arranged, but basically fine.  Woo-hoo, as we’d just finished redoing it prior to the wedding.

A month after the storm, we still haven’t actually seen the boat ourselves.  Because, by the way, we’ve been in the middle of moving, and haven’t had a chance to run down to the Keys to take a look in person.

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