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by Brandi L. Brower, Travel Editor

Geographically challenged? I was before visiting the Bahamas, then I discovered that the Caribbean country is made up of around 700 individual islands and islets over more than 100,000 square miles of ocean, 30 of which are inhabited and more than 2000 cays (coral reefs). The Cat 5 Hurricane Dorian, which slowly churned for 24 hours straight, over the area just over a month ago, the record-breaking 185 mph sustained winds contributed to 61 dead, hundreds still missing, an estimated 70,000 needing shelter, and colossal damage left in her wake. 

After hearing news reports about the destruction and death toll rising, I questioned whether I should travel to the country at all. It wasn't until I arrived that I realized the hardest-hit islands of Great Abaco and Grand Bahama were the only communities effected. The hurricane eye was relatively small at 25 nautical miles. Still, because it stayed in place for an entire day, crawled at just one mile per hour, it brought colossal damage and devastation to the people living on the two hardest-hit areas.

by Brandi L. Brower, Travel Editor

We’re close now. I look out my window and see the water and the thin strip of Caribbean land as the turboprop plane prepares to land. As we hover over the sparkling blue sea, from this vantage point, I can’t imagine how beautiful it will be once I’m swimming in it. We touch down, and the excitement is palpable as everyone on board is happy to be at their tropical destination. 

A car service is waiting to drive me to my final destination, a local by the name of Makoy Romney. He assures me with a wink that he isn’t related to Mitt, as he helps me with my luggage. I ask him what he loves about his island home, this special place. “The people,” he answers quickly. “When Hurricane Irma hit our island very hard over a year ago, we were devastated. Everyone was without power for three months. But we all helped one another, brought our resources together and worked hard to rebuild. The people make our island what it is.” Is it any wonder that the motto of this magical place is: “Unity, Strength, and Endurance”?

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