On September 1, 2019, Hurricane Dorian struck the Abaco Islands with maximum sustained winds of 185 MPH. As a catastrophic Category 5 hurricane, Dorian ravaged the Bahamas, leaving nearly 70,000 people homeless. Sailfish owners DJ and Vicky Morse watched news coverage as Dorian hammered the Abaco Islands and made its way toward the coast of Florida. The Morse family has been boating to the Abaco Islands for nearly 10 years. Based in Cape Canaveral, Fla., they own a Sailfish 320CC, “Morse Code II”. DJ works for an emergency response company that has covered many disaster zones across the United States.
“Most people know the Bahamas for what they see from a cruise ship, but many have never experienced the Bahamas like we have,” said DJ.
They travel to the Bahamas a few times a year on their 320CC and have been going to the Abaco Islands since 2011. “We have made so many great friends in that community and we knew immediately that we needed to help them,” he said.
DJ, Vicky and many of their friends started gathering supplies and fundraising while Dorian was still off the coast of the Bahamas. They held strategy meetings with other boat captains and planned multiple relief trips back and forth to the Bahamas. Many of DJ’s personal friends helped with the organization and gathering of the supplies, while Vicky worked with the Bahamian government to cover all potential legal issues that could arise with traveling to a disaster zone in a foreign country.
DJ said, “I have worked in disaster zones before, so it wasn’t a surprise to see the devastation left behind by Dorian, but it was a surprise to see what actually did make it through this monster of a storm.”
Once the team arrived at Bimini, the locals helped unload Morse Code II, and the Bahamian women and children organized the supplies to disperse them to local families.
“The people there were amazing. Everyone was helping one another and it was great to see so many people come together to help the community. That gives people hope and a starting point to rebuild their lives,” DJ said.
One of the biggest concerns for the team was the hurricane debris in the water. Surprisingly, debris ended up not being as big of an issue for Morse Code II. The Bahamian locals got to work right away after the storm, clearing channels and the docks in order to receive immediate medical and hurricane relief supplies.
DJ continued, “The great people of the Bahamas will rebuild their thriving country and we can help by continuing to return to the Abacos – it’s our little slice of heaven!”