03 September 2011

Cat Island updates and developments

The first airlifts of food and supplies have started to arrive on Cat Island. There are four or five resorts on Cat and I use the term resort loosely. Cat Island resorts aren't the kind of places where you get hot stone massages or room service. Rather, they're places to go unplug and unwind. The bonds forged at those resorts though, are lifelong. Two of those resorts have stepped up and turned themselves into aid organizations. The Bahamian government is overwhelmed by the widespread damage and supplies are stretched thin to say the least.

The two resorts, Greenwood and Fernandez Bay Village, are distributing food and supplies to anyone who needs it over there. The Bahamians who own and run Fernandez Bay are people I know and trust implicitly. Pam and Tony Armbrister, the people behind Fernandez Bay, are two of the most decent people I've ever met. Tony's family has been on Cat Island since the 1700s and he's a walking repository of that island's history and culture.

Tony and Pam have a daughter who lives in For Lauderdale and she's taken over as the point person for aid destined for Cat Island.

Cat Island is reachable by air and by the once-weekly visit by a mail boat. The mail boat leaves Fort Lauderdale and works its way though the Family Islands (formerly the Out Islands). It's on this mail boat that the bulk of the material aid destined for Cat Island gets delivered.

Air lifts are a great way to get emergency supplies over there, but it's what ends up on the mail boat that will sustain everybody until they can rebuild themselves.

I'm still planning to fly down there on Tuesday but Hurricane Katia looks like it's positioned to thwart my plans. Even though Katia isn't going to threaten Cat Island directly, the disturbance she's causing will make flying prohibitively dangerous. Add to that the lack of outside news available on the island once there and it's looking pretty grim.

My fundraising has been an incredible success and I thank everyone who's donated with every fiber of my being. Every dime you sent will go directly to the people who need it. If I don't make it down there this week, I'm going to wire the money we've raised to Fort Lauderdale and to the Armbristers of Fernandez Bay. Once in the hands of the Armbristers, your donations will be turned into food that'll be distributed to anyone who's hungry and in need. If you want material aid to go to the orphanage or to schools, just let them know. You can also donate to Remote Island Ministries, they too have pledged to donate every penny they collect.

In addition to raising money, the Armbristers are collecting and distributing non-financial assistance. They're loading up the mail boat and giving away anything that comes their way. If you, your church or your school wants to donate something other than money, the gang at Fernandez Bay will take anything. In particular, they need soap, first aid supplies, Home Depot gift cards, flashlights, batteries, tarps, nails, Publix gift cards, canned food, Costco gift cards, candles, games, children's books, school supplies and clothing. You can send any donations to Tameron Armbrister at 151 North Nob Hill Rd., #310, Plantation, FL. 33324. Fernandez Bay will cover the costs of shipping everything to the island.

In addition to that, my best friend in the universe and able pilot JD has sweetened the pot for the next two weeks. He's kicked in $250 to the money we've raised so far and he's agreed to match every donation, dollar for dollar, for the next two weeks. Please take him up on this generous offer. I love him to death but even so, make this hurt!

JD in better days on Cat Island

Fernandez Bay will be open for business again on November 1st and if you're looking for a getaway, I can think of no better place. Buoying the Bahamian economy is another way to help them rebuild. From now through June 30th, 2012, Fernandez Bay is running a promotion to make that easier to do. If you book four days at Fernandez Bay through Majestic Tours, they will fly you from Nassau to New Bight for free.

If you're planning to spend a week on a cruise or at the Atlantis, or Sandals or Club Med change your plans. Those places don't need your money but the smaller spots on the Family Islands do.

To make it easier, here are those links again.

Fernandez Bay Village
The Greenwood Beach Resort
Majestic Tours

This video was recorded this past week and in it you can get a feel for the scope of this disaster and a glimpse into the character of the people who call Cat Island home.

Once again, the link to donate is:
If that button doesn't work, click this link instead.


  1. Hurricanes has been a part of life for the people of the Carribean. I am just glad that last weeks hurricane Irene didn't cause much damage and loss of life in the East Coast as predicted.

  2. God bless you for what you're doing, Paul. But don't be stupid! If it's not safe to fly, don't! We need you around, man. Plus, you have people on the island that you trust completely, and that works for me!

  3. It is good to know that you are helping. But please wait until it is safe to fly out there.


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