Ricardo Sevilla's Blog

A work of art which did not begin in emotion is not art.

“The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.” — Dorothea Lange

My Hurricane Irma Experience

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My family was spread out, each doing their thing. Unable to convince them that where I would be at was safe, I went ahead there myself. At work. The Betsy Hotel in Miami Beach.

 

"WHAT!? What were you thinking! It was originally going to hit Miami Beach head on!"

 

Yes, I know. However, the new Art Deco wing of the hotel was designed to withstand such hurricane winds, and we were immune to storm surge since we have multiple floors. Emergency backup generators, food, water... it made sense. 

 

While I do have insurance for my property, I took my most prized possessions with me. Things I know insurance would not be able to replace. 

 

  • My Longbow - Custom crafted by a master bowyer in Estonia.
  • My Archery Hat - Gifted to me by my archery coach.
  • My Archery Bracer - Gifted to me by my archery coach.
  • My Camera - Sentimental value, for it has seen much through its lens.
  • My External Harddrive - Containing all of my photography work over the past 12 years.
  • The shirt I wore when Blu was born
  • Blu's first toy.
  • Photographs of when I was Blu's age.
  • A leather bound journal

 

While I did take many photos Reader, I won't bore you with so many, but enough to give an idea of what my experience was like. 

 

 

When I arrived at Miami Beach, it was a complete ghost town. An eeriness was in the air. Honestly, it did make me feel uncomfortable, but at the same time... a little excited to see what would happen. Selfishly excited for myself, but also worried about my loved ones who were too concerned to join me at the beach.

 

 

Ocean drive was empty. Not a single person was there... and my beloved Betsy all boarded up! One of the gems on Ocean Drive, still shined in all her grandeur despite the loneliness before her.

 

 

Some of the staff photos I took the night before the storm was set to arrive. All of us were in good spirits. Food, water, and wine were always available. Wine... :) :) 

 

I finish my dinner, finish my serving of wine, sit back and tell two of colleagues, "Let's go for a walk shall we? Let's go look outside."

 

"Ok!"

 

They finish their dinner, and we go for a walk.

 


 

We walk down Ocean Drive, laughs in our voices as we talk about the entire ordeal that is to come. Still, we all could not help but notice the desolate streets, and more importantly... the sand dust in the air carried by Irma's fingertips. 

 

 

It almost felt as if there was a thin fog spread throughout Miami Beach. One I am not accustomed to, especially in the presence of silence. 

 

 

I could not help admire the melancholic atmosphere of a beautiful city that's usually always active. It was kind of... romantic in a way I suppose. In a place where devastation and dishevel was anticipated, it's nice to capture human emotion through it all. 

 

 

As Irma passed through S. Florida, The Betsy's owner sat in a corner, working on his laptop, as the winds howled and shook windows. 

 

 

Spirits remained high throughout the entire storm's passing.  

 

  

 

The paparazzi in me was allowed to flourish.  

 

 

In the morning, as the storm receded, I took a photo of what it looked like outside The Besty. I was particularly impressed by the ominous looking waves. 

 

 

A few days later I was able to come back home, and the devastation broke my heart. The landscape in some areas of town was changed. Trees that have been way longer than I have were toppled, many roads were impassable, and some homes suffered damage.  

 

 

My mini herb garden, however, survived the storm. The cilantro and mint did well, but the basil never recovered after not being watered for several days.