Key West and Beyond...

East coast represent! Remember be vague on spots!

Re: Key West and Beyond...

Postby Hookin » August 16th, 2017, 9:06 am

Some nice fish and pictures. Congrat!
Alex
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Re: Key West and Beyond...

Postby Westbury » September 8th, 2017, 6:46 am

JP
praying for you guys in South Florida!
Stay safe and hope Irma makes a hard turn out to sea.
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Re: Key West and Beyond...

Postby dam » September 8th, 2017, 12:12 pm

Once this blows over, I hope you can get us a report on how the diving is after a big storm/hurricane and how long it takes for the fish to "recover". Best of luck and stay safe!
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Re: Key West and Beyond...

Postby Westbury » September 9th, 2017, 7:58 am

I rode out hurricane Andrew in Miami back in '92.
We went diving in the middle keys 2 days later and IIRC, the diving was pretty good
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Re: Key West and Beyond...

Postby kathy » September 9th, 2017, 6:46 pm

Thinking of all of you keys residents right now, hope you and your family and friends are able to be somewhere safe over the next couple days.
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Re: Key West and Beyond...

Postby Donzi Paul » September 10th, 2017, 6:42 am

Prayers for you and family Castronova that you weather the hurricane.

All the best. Don
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Re: Key West and Beyond...

Postby castronova » September 16th, 2017, 9:41 pm

Hey everyone, my family and I are in good health. My wife gave birth in Orlando as we had to evacuate due to the hospital closure. Good thing we did. The keys are in bad shape, a war zone would describe it best. When I get some time to breathe tomorrow I'll write a little more and post some photos. I appreciate all the prayers and thoughts.
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Re: Key West and Beyond...

Postby Donzi Paul » September 17th, 2017, 4:28 pm

Congregants on the baby.

Cheers, Don :greetings-clappingorange: :obscene-drinkingcheers: :obscene-drinkingcheers:
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Re: Key West and Beyond...

Postby dctrjayyy » September 18th, 2017, 12:13 pm

congrats
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Re: Key West and Beyond...

Postby castronova » September 19th, 2017, 6:53 am

Thanks again everyone.

I am just getting internet and only at work. This is the short of the story.

2 weeks ago Irma was barreling down on the east coast. It was "for sure" going up the east side of Florida. It was too close to call here for the NHC so the evacuated the Keys anyways. Mainly because it takes us so long to get out on our one road. Because of the mandatory evacuation the hospital was forced to close. I couldn't possibly type all the thought processes that went through my families minds or that brain function of what is a "conch." My wife DID NOT want to leave. The hospital closing made that a pretty easy convincing. Her dad and brother stayed, my parents stayed. They both have modern multi story homes built to 150 mph building code. Anywho... a lot of people stayed.

My wife and I went to visit a friend in St. Pete beach since the storm was headed to the east coast. Within the 7 hour drive the predicted path switched to the West coast of Florida. I am dead serious when I tell you within 6 minutes of us arriving in St. Pete beach they evacuated the area. Holy Moly.

We moved to another friends in the St. Pete area and they were going to head out too the next morning. So we then moved to a big house in Tampa where my wifes best friend was staying with family. We stayed there one night. The next morning we found out that my mother-in-law, sister and brother-in-law were evacuating and heading to Orlando. We decided it would be best to get away from anywhere that the power could be knocked out at the local hospital. So we went to meet them and drove across the state.

We arrived in Orlando mid-day. We put our stuff in the families room, showered, and got ready for dinner. The hotel has a very nice sushi restaurant and we decided we'd try and go early and get a table. We showed up and surprise to us it was somewhat empty. We got a table for all 14 of us together. We ordered some food, the service was slow. Just as some salads and apps came out I got my first beer. I poured the beer in a glass and my himachi kama arrived. I haven't had that in a long time and was so excited. My wife had went to the restroom. I saw her walking back and took a bite of the hamachi. Insane good! Went to follow it with my beer and my wife whispers, "my water just broke." :eek:

I thought this was something I would be able to prepare for. Like, it's the day, lets get ready and go to the hospital all calm and collected. Nope, fucking fire drill!!! What an absolute crazy rush of emotions and shit storm of getting our packed bags to the hospital.

To try and keep this short, our son was born the next day at 11:34am Sunday September 10th as Hurricane Irma swept over Key West and the Keys. He weighed 6 lb. 9 oz. and his name is John Solomon Castro. He is the 4th John Castro although we all have different middle names.

Had he not been born I would have been in Orlando for an extra week with my pregnant wife. Since he was born and my City was in shambles I had to opportunity to come back. It was not an easy decision but she had her sister, mom, and two teenage nieces to help. They had no problem with me leaving. For those of you who don't know I manage the City's Sewer, Stormwater, and Solid Waste operations. This includes the Wastewater Treatment Plant. My mind was torn in half with my baby sitting there but the power was gone in the entire keys and the backup generator had been taken out by the storm at the plant. I headed home on Tuesday the 12th late in the day after we were released. Today, 9/19 my wife and son will be back home with me in Key West. The City is stabilizing.

The Keys got hit very hard by this storm. We got pretty lucky in Key West, small islands just 15 to 30 miles up the chain from us got destroyed. As in, entire houses completely torn from their foundations. I lost 4 mango trees with the other 2 being torn in half. We stood one back up and we'll see if the other 2 that are hurt survive as well. One fell and took out my gutter, I lost about 40' of fencing (which was cheap and I wanted gone anyways), and probably half the shingles on my roof. All in all, I call it a win.

Here's a few pictures for making it through my story.

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Re: Key West and Beyond...

Postby kathy » September 20th, 2017, 9:42 am

Oh my gosh, where to even begin!

First congratulations, amidst everything, on the new baby and keeping your family safe.
What a crazy crazy story. I feel like when your kiddo is old enough, he will ask you to tell that story again and again. I am glad you all are back safe on your island now and can rebuild and introduce the little guy to his home.

My heart is broken for the middle keys. I lived for a while on Geiger Key and had friends up on Cudjoe and Big Pine. There are so many sweet old houses and tropical, overgrown neighborhoods back on those islands. And also so many homes that are very fragile - trailers and trailer parks. I imagine not much of that made it through.

I am guessing as a boater you will have to take some serious precautions as well, to avoid sunken / floating debris and boats?!

My grandpa's house and farm in Homestead got thrashed by Andrew in 92 and the hardest part for me was seeing all the massive, old tropical trees - mango, avocado, Royal palms - broken, wind-burned and stripped of leaves. Your eyes acclimate to seeing the trees and all the greenery in a tropical place, and without it, it's a different place entirely, and it took years for things to grow back.

Best of luck with everything - if you have any specific local organizations that accept donations, will you let us know here? It would be nice to donate to a local cause esp. if it helps Key West and the Keys bounce back. Are there volunteer organizations that clear the water of debris? That must be quite an effort.

ps. My mom went into labor with my sister in the middle of the old 7-Mile Bridge - stuck heading to Homestead in some really bad close-US1-in-both-directions accident traffic - my sister had to be born up in Baptist Hospital in Miami. While it's been years since I lived in Key West, I hear you about the Conch mindset. I am glad you all made it to a good hospital to have the kiddo safe and sound.

Kathy
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Re: Key West and Beyond...

Postby dam » September 20th, 2017, 10:25 am

Holy crap, dude. I was reading this like a suspense novel. Glad you guys had a relatively smooth event. Congrats on the boy, too, JP! Dude's poised to brave any sea, any weather, any time!

If you have time, can you post more pictures of the aftermath. I'm curious about how the "sanctuary" towns handle the masses who had to evacuate. Do they have enough infrastructures? What about your boat?

PS: What's a conch mindset?
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