In the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, which swept through the northern Bahama Abaco island chain in September, there has been a huge outpouring of support for the devastated islanders and their home islands. But logistics are still extremely difficult for those who want to give aid, donate time and labor and work hard to get the Abacos back on its feet.
Man-O-War Cay, an island just east of Marsh Harbour that is a famous cruising destination, suffered the same direct hit that destroyed Abaco, with the loss of many homes, roofs blown off, businesses destroyed and life disrupted. Luckily, there was no loss of life. For the aid workers, there are no shore-side facilities to house them and very little of the basics of life to sustain them. So, the call has gone out to the boating community to invite skilled and dedicated boat owners to sail to the island and live aboard their boats during the rebuilding phase.
Speaking to Travis Blaine, co-owner of Mack Sails, we got a picture of the current state of the islands. Travis owns a home on Man-O-War and has been there several times following the hurricane to asses damage and make repairs. He lost his roof and the house was saturated with rain but otherwise, the structure is sound. Most of the others were not so lucky. Many of his friends and neighbors lost everything and are only now starting to pick up the pieces.
Here are the guidelines for those who are interested in sailing to Man-O-War to help with the rebuilding process:
Guidelines and Requirements for Man-O-War Volunteer Boaters
Current Assessment/ Needs. MOW is in the early phases of recovery. We are still drying-in homes and businesses and removing mountains of debris. This is expected to continue for several months. We are not part of the normal winter cruising grounds, you may have experienced in the past. We are looking for working boaters who have enjoyed the beautiful waters of the Bahamas and culture of the island and want to give back to the incredible people of the these islands. Volunteers wishing to come to Man-O-War Cay on boats must be SELF-SUFFICIENT and prepared to work.
Duration/ Schedule. We are looking for boaters to stay a minimum of 1-week. Longer is better. Volunteers are expected to WORK A MINIMUM of 6 hrs/day, 5-6 days/week, our normal work day starts at 7 am and finishes about 5.
BOATS MUST BE APPROVED before arrival so we can control numbers and assure access. The harbor at Man-O-War has a number of sunken boats and heavy barge and ferry traffic, so space is limited. There are NO MOORING BALLS. At the moment we have NO DINGHY DOCK, (we will find a place for you to land) so we plan for one of the first tasks will be to construct one.
Services Provided. This is not the MOW of the past, there are no docks and services are very limited services. We expect you to live aboard and work on island during the day. We offer lunch and dinner at the Hibiscus restaurant for working volunteers, or you can cook onboard. We can provide a limited amount of gas or diesel for volunteers and we have fuel for sale. We do have a grocery store and coffee shop. Bring spare fuel and water containers for refills
Food and Supplies. Similar to your other trips to the Bahamas, load up before coming over – food, water, supplies…. If you can bring over frozen meats to donate to the Hibiscus restaurant, it would be appreciated.
Projects. Currently, we are occupied with debris removal and putting tarps on damaged roofs and we expect these efforts to continue for some time. No special tools required, hammer, saw, cordless tools may come in handy.
Volunteers must be in good health with NO MEDICAL CONDITIONS. We have limited medical facility on island.
Volunteers with SPECIAL SKILLS, such as plumbing, electrical, carpentry, roofing, mechanics or operation of heavy equipment are particularly welcome.
To apply to come, send the following information to firstname.lastname@example.org: