Hurricane Dorian relief
Sunday morning, Oct. 6, brought another wave of Hurricane Dorian relief deploying from the lower Florida Keys to the Bahamas, as volunteers on a Stock Island dock loaded 4,787 pounds of cargo, consisting of 35 bicycles, miscellaneous tools, fishing gear, food for people and pets, clothing, water and other supplies onto the 45-foot Bombay sailing sloop Madre Maria for the first in a planned series of missions. It was orchestrated by the Conch Republic Navy — a branch of the faux independent micro nation called the Conch Republic, formed when Key West declared its independence from the U.S. in 1982.
Madre Maria’s captain, Capt. Kiwi, said he was estimating a six- to seven-day round-trip voyage. He was to be accompanied by sailing mates Ron Salsbury and Allison Calhoun. The Conch Republic Navy flotillas are part of Key West Cares, an alliance of Key West locals, community leaders, city officials, church leaders and national/international partners who began working immediately after the hurricane with the Bahamian government to coordinate emergency aid, largely for Green Turtle Cay, which has been Key West’s sister city since 1977, as well as other stricken areas.
First Sea Lord ADM Finbar Gittelman said, “We are delighted the first vessel in the Conch Republic Navy Hurricane Dorian relief flotilla is setting sail today for Cooperstown, Abaco.”
Relief shipped to date by Key West Cares and its donors totals nearly 65,000 pounds. Needed are underwear, gallon jugs of water and hand-tools including hammers and saws. Donation drop-off locations includeWinn-Dixie stores in Key West, Big Pine and Marathon, and in Key West all CVS stores (including Stock Island), Kmart, Pet Supermarket, GFS and Strunk ACE Hardware. Cash donations can be made via the Key West Cares website at www.keywestcares.com. ¦