Hurricane Irma

Hurricane Irma over Punta Cana, DR

After Mr. ItchyFeet broke his neck and had his first spine surgery to remove the piece of disc embedded in his nerve root, we needed a vacation. This vacation had to be to a place where we could relax, without amazing scuba diving so he wouldn’t feel like he was missing out.

We like to vacation during the off season as it is cheaper and there are fewer children. Children are gross. We decided on Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, in the Caribbean during hurricane season!

We had been watching developing hurricanes, just in case we had to cancel our vacation. There was definitely a threat developing in the Atlantic, but we decided to go anyway. The weather was hot but amazing. When we first got in, we spent loads of time swimming in the ocean and hanging out by the pool. However, it soon became extremely clear that hurricane Irma was heading our way. Like right at us!


Lots of people had canceled their vacations, and a few others decided to camp out at the airport trying to get out before the hurricane hit us. The resort was almost deserted, we had it all to ourselves and got to know the few other guests that were still there pretty well. Whenever we saw someone looking at a better graphic of the incoming Hurricane, we asked each other what app we were using. We watched the news as Irma wiped out Barbuda… we started to get a bit nervous.

People were coming back from the airport as all flights were full of evacuees, then they stopped flying altogether due to the weather. Evacuation was no longer an option. Family members of the staff were given rooms at the resort, as not all homes in the area were built to withstand a category five hurricane. This storm was extremely serious!

The resort moved everyone on the fourth floor to the third floor (to avoid flying debris) and everyone on the first floor to the second (in case of flooding). They also moved everyone on the ocean side inland in case it got really bad. All the ocean side windows were boarded up and there were big red flags on the beach to warn people about storm surges. People still went out swimming… there’s no fixing stupid.

They know what they are doing

It was a huge team effort to prepare the resort for what was coming and it was amazing to watch. They drained all the pools to help control any flooding and put all the outdoor furniture into the empty pools to reduce the chances that they would become flying objects. It was all very well executed and very exciting at the same time.

We were starting to freak out a bit so we emailed a living will to our parents in the event this category five hurricane hit us directly and we didn’t make it out. We packed a bag each with medications, passports, and essential supplies and put it by the bed with our shoes. There was a very real possibility of an emergency evacuation in the event the building started to collapse.

The resort let us know that they would stop serving alcohol at 6pm and we would all be quarantined in our rooms to ride out the storm. They didn’t want any drunk tourists dying on the beach during their watch! However, they did invite us all to the lounge for cocktails around 3pm. One person ordered a drink called a hurricane. And then everyone started ordering hurricanes. Of course they did! Not to be left out we, of course, also ordered a couple.

Our first quarantine!

Quarantined to our room, we waited with much anxiety for the storm to hit. We were not allowed on the balcony and we were supposed to keep our curtains drawn (in case the glass doors blew out) but we would peek every once-in-a-while. We couldn’t see much. Just lots of rain and wind.

We checked the news and saw all the devastation that was Barbuda (it was like the island was wiped out!). It was terrifying but totally exhilarating at the same time. I honestly don’t think I have every slept so good in all my life. I now understand why people chase storms. Sadly, I don’t think Mr. ItchyFeet slept at all. 

Palm trees down on the beach
Aftermath of Hurricane Irma in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

We were extremely lucky in that Irma decided to veer slightly north, at the last minute, so it didn’t hit us head on or the damage would have been a lot worse. The edge of the eyewall brushed by us around 9pm with much gusto and still caused a lot of damage. Several other resorts flooded.

The next day the beach was just… gone. I mean that when we got to the resort, we had to walk from the resort down the beach to the water. After the storm, the water was touching the concrete of the resort. The beach was gone! Lots of palm trees didn’t make it but our resort faired fairly well. While hanging out in the pool a few days later, we noticed a large piece of mirror embedded into the underside of the roof of the pool cabana that was pretty impressive. That wind was no joke!

I’m now a huge fan of the tropics. The sheer power of the storm and the way everyone worked together to prepare for it was awe inspiring. Also the knowledge that we survived a storm that many others did not, made me confront my own mortality and what I would like to do while I’m still in this particular meat suit. Working eight hours a day, five days a week, is no longer right for me. This event planted the seed in my mind for financial independence/retire early (FIRE). 

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1 Comment

  1. You have a wonderful writing style!

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