[Addendum: Wingate has rooms Sunday.]

Tips for tomorrow (Sunday):
– These visits are for assessments only, with time to clean out the fridge. (Please triple bag and place trash in your outdoor trash receptacle.)
– There will be enough ferries to accommodate everyone.
– Relax. Don’t worry that there won’t be space for you and don’t get a speeding ticket.
– Get your ferry tickets UPSTAIRS in the lounge.
– 2 bags per person that you must be able to hand carry. There will be no baggage service.
– Most property owners were taken directly to their homes. They were picked up at a designated time at their home, or, if they were done early, walked to the closest major intersection to be were picked up by a passing tram.
– PLEASE do not drive around the island on your golf cart. The roads are narrow because of the vegetative debris. Utility vehicles must be able to get through to get power, water and sewer running everywhere. Dead carts in the road will create obstacles for emergency vehicles that might be needed. If you must explore, please use a bike.
– Some roads are still impassable, so the trams will get you as close as possible (they must be able to turn around.) If you suspect your road is still flooded (Kinnakeet; Coquina), do bring boots so you don’t have to come into contact with the nasty, stinky flood waters.
– Patience and good cheer are preferred.

GOOD NEWS!! The boil water advisory was terminated today. Tap water is safe to drink, cook with and bathe in. No need to bring baby wipes to spare you washing hands in potentially germy tap water while you clean your fridge.

A DAY OF GRACE

Instead of writing to you this morning, I ran to Walmart to get some last minute supplies I thought we might need at Deep Point this morning. The team, Village Councilor Betsi Stephen, Elizabeth Kenny, volunteer and the kind of friend everyone needs, BHA Executive Director Carrie Moffett, who showed up out of nowhere to help, and the ever effervescent Sherry Roese, had everything set up and ready to go.

It has been an absolute honor to work with Chad Paul and Bald Head Island Limited to make these two days run seamlessly. There were two ferries at each time slot, running on a half hour schedule. A third ferry and crew were on standby if needed. Staff galore, all in good spirits, security, just in case tempers flared, and the professional friendly service we have relied upon forever. It set the tone for everything.

My fear for today was that all the pent-up anger might make the crowd like those in the film “Young Frankenstein,” with pitchforks and axes ready to strike. I think many didn’t come because they feared chaos.

It was lovely!!! We got to meet and greet everyone returning to face their worst damage fears. How fun to put faces to the names who have shared this saga on Bald Head Buddies. Everyone was friendly, cheerful, and ready to go. There was simply something extremely comforting being with people who face the exact same fears. (Misery loves company???)

Over 1800 re-entry requests had been posted to the Village site. We didn’t get to see the list until about 5 minutes before we needed to check folks in for their (free) ferry tickets. Because there were so many names on the list and we wanted people to have a buddy, we knew it was simply impossible to accommodate everyone all in one day. Each ferry can handle 149 passengers. How would we manage up to 3600 people, all stressed out and all undoubtedly trying to get on the 8 a.m. boat??? Chaos and even more frustration would have ensued. This is why we divided the island in two, east and west and gave each group a day to visit.

With so little time to change plans yet again, we of course let people who couldn’t come Sunday come today. Similarly, homeowners who couldn’t come today may come tomorrow, Sunday. There are still a few who can’t come either day. We are working on a day for you to come. Maybe by then the island will be open. I keep hoping – as I know you do, too.

Even people who had bad news today, returned in an upbeat mood. Amazing!!! When I suggested they could come back tomorrow (uh oh – today) to organize or otherwise get things out of the way, they said no, they had accomplished all they needed.

If you are coming tomorrow, know you will be surrounded by truly wonderful, supportive friends. Together we will get everyone and our beautiful, slightly denuded island repaired and restored to its beauty. For those new to this, do not despair. Nature is incredible. Our lush landscape will fill in in short order. It’s resilience is one of the things that our environment has in common with its inhabitants.

Travel safely!