We were both born and raised in Miami and we started vacationing on St George island in the late 80s, so that's how we discovered the Forgotten Coast. For our 20th anniversary, we went to Mexico Beach and began to wonder what it would be like to retire and move there to be near the beach and own a little business. In 2006, my sister, Debbie, and brother in law, Bill, ended up buying a condo in Mexico Beach, right next to the marina. He and I had always joked about retiring and buying a marina and shortly after they moved there, the marina became available for sale. So in our mid-life crisis of sorts, instead of buying a Harley like normal people, we bought a marina.
They started talking about Hurricane Michael on Saturday and kept saying it wouldn't be more than a Category 1 or 2 and by Monday, when we realized it was going to be more than that, it was almost too late to do much. When we woke up on Wednesday, we were watching the news and we could already feel the winds. Melba really held it together but when she started panicking, that's when I knew we needed to take this seriously. Debbie had just had knee replacement surgery so she wasn't super mobile, so Bill and I had to weigh our options and figure out what was best for our families. We went into it saying we are staying no matter what and in the past, they've always veered right or left. There is usually dry air, but this time, there was no reason for it to slow down and by the time we realized it was going to be bad, we weren't about to get 7 adults and 3 pets in a car to try to beat it out.
Have you ever been in an earthquake? It was very similar to an earthquake. You could feel it in your feet. If you pictured the eye wall, we were always on the wrong side of it. It was bad an hour before the eye came around, but it was a complete white out.
I don’t know why they called it a Cat 4 because we were experiencing 200+mph winds and holding onto doors, wondering when it was going to end because it seemed like it was so long.
We didn’t have boards on the window so we could see the whole thing. When the white out was over and you could start seeing damage, you knew it was going to be devastation. When you look for ground zero, it’s us.