Hurricane Ian Wrap-up

Once again, we were pretty lucky.  It’s been two weeks since Hurricane Ian blew through and while we didn’t get through it unscathed, we sustained relatively minimal damage. Please support whatever organizations you are aware of that are supporting the Florida communities that got substantial damage from the storm.

Preparing for the Storm: Turtle Team

There were still three turtle nests in the ground as the storm rolled in: two were scheduled for inventories on Thursday morning, and one would need to have the cage and stakes removed.  Since there was no school for the storm, Ian Mortimer was on hand to help us inventory one nest.  The wind was kicking up already! Our last nest had been investigated by coyotes and was at 55 days, so we had placed some things that move and flutter to try to keep the coyotes away.  All that needed to be removed so it didn’t become ocean trash!  When we marked the location, there were 32 steps to the nest.  By the next morning, before the storm had really moved in, the nest was basically gone with a few unhatched eggs in the tideline.

What we learned from Previous Evacuations

In truth, I should have read this post (Click the photo of the storm cloud or the button below) and followed my own advice, but I forgot I had put all this together.  It’s a summation of the lessons we learned from evacuations and what to do in advance of a storm.

More on Previous Hurricanes

Other Preparations

Our staff put up shutters on the community buildings, and owners moved golf carts from the causeway to higher ground. Lori took the nature center animals home.

At our house, we filled water bottles and secured the items under the house, as well as bringing in porch furniture.  I took the swinging bird feeders down but lashed a tray feeder and a hummingbird feeder to the deck railing! 

As the wind picked up, we had plenty of warning that the ferry would stop running at 6:30, and if anyone was planning to evacuate, now was the time.

Time to Start Baking

Harriet McCleod had a lucky tradition with some magical cookies that we covered more than 10 years ago in this post.

Once, she was out of the country during Hurricane Season, and I became the keeper of the recipe.  It’s a responsibility I take seriously, and they’ve become a delicious part of hurricane prep around here.


Trying to decide whether to stay for a storm is actually hard, and each family has to evaluate their own circumstances.  For this one we stayed, but if the storm had come in south of us (where it was predicted to) and we were in the northeast quadrant, it might not have been as easy a recovery.


Dewees Island lost power shortly after the winds picked up on Friday Morning and didn’t get it back until Sunday night.  Some folks had generators running… we had just purchased a jackery battery that powered our wifi, tv, and computers for a while, and even powered our freezer for a while once we charged it back up in town.  Our friends ordered a similar item from Ecoflow~ the chief difference between these is the portability of the jackery, which makes the price higher.

Power Bricks

It turns out that my old anker is about 10 years old and took a while to charge: we also learned that they make smaller solar chargers which are working well as power bricks for smaller devices.


As the storm moved on, for a few moments we had a pretty solid rainbow.

Post Storm Photos

Below are a bunch of photos Reggie took right after the storm.  It’s taken me a while to get these up, but if you haven’t had a chance to get here these might be helpful. The front beach took a solid erosion hit, but the berm held on the outside, with a little scarping on the inside. 

One of the reasons it took a while to get power back is that the pole that connects us to Capers Island went down.  We were walking on the beach the day after the storm and realized the extent of the damage.  Luckily, the folks from Dominion Energy were able to cap it off and restore power by Sunday night.

Exploring the beach with the camaraderie of neighbors is always fun!

Beach Erosion in the Center

The section of beach between Marshmallow Walk and Ancient Dunes seemed the hardest hit, with ancient mud banks exposed and ocean washovers into the seasonal wetlands behind the dune lines.

Marshmallow Walk
looking north from Ancient Dunes
beach erosion
North From Ancient Dunes
Ancient Dunes
Lots 21-25 Gazebo
Ancient Dunes

Natures Treasures and Resilience

Sometimes it’s fun to check the tideline to see what the storm brought in.  If you subscribe to posts from Nature Walks with Judy (shameless plug alert) you will have already been introduced to the flat-clawed hermit crabs that washed in with the storm.

There were countless beautiful shells on the beach, butterflies sipped nectar from the wildflowers, the mama alligator protected her babies, and a shrimp boat splashed through the waves of sunrise.

Cleaning Up

All throughout the storms and the challenges, we remain grateful for the neighbors and friends that we connect with throughout the process. For those that shelter with us or check on us, for those who check in from afar, and for the hardworking staff that showed up on a weekend to get the roads clear to drive.