It’s taken me a few days to process what has happened in SW Florida. The destruction and sheer catastrophe in Fort Myers is near and dear to my heart. As many of you know, I have made Fort Myers my second home since 2008. My family took up roots there with a vacation property and has become a place where we have formed strong connections to the community, and many of the residents are like second family. First off, we only had some flooding in our garage — we escaped disaster. My neighbours across the street were not so lucky. But things can be replaced, what cannot, are the lives that have been lost. Hurricane Ian came in with biblical proportions. Levelling homes and destroying communities and lives … with no remorse.
What saddens me greatly, is the annihilation of Fort Myers Beach. Just 25 minutes from my home, this little honky-tonk beach, complete with beachside restaurants, bars, head shops and cheap souvenir stores, it was a vibrant cornucopia of sights and sounds. No, the sands of Fort Myers are not like those in Bahamas and there are no Michelin star restaurants, but it was a stretch of beach that felt like home – unpretentious, unassuming, and welcoming. On any given day the skies would be peppered with colourful parasails, and you could hear the roar of jet skis all day. From Dolphins just 10 feet away swimming from you to Bonnet head sharks the local fishermen would catch and gently put back in the water, the Gulf of Mexico was filled with exciting creatures.
The best and most beautiful attraction of the beach was the fishing pier, I say “was” because it has been completely wiped out. All that is left are the concrete pilings. The before and after pictures are breathtaking. I must’ve walked that pier a thousand times.
My favourite time of day at the beach was lunch. Of course, anything to do with food is my favourite time. My go to lunch was at the PierSide Grill and my order was always the peel and eat shrimp. I was like George Costanza, trying to fit as many shrimps in my mouth as possible. I would have hot butter dripping down my mouth and I didn’t care who was looking. I devoured that meal every single time with joy. It was heaven. I would sit alone just people watching and staring out at that beautiful pier and counting how many pelicans descended on the railing.
And now it is all gone. Literally it has vanished overnight. I am not going to post any of the pictures of the destruction. I can’t. You can see them online -- they are plentiful. I’ll leave you with these personal pics that are now simply part of my memory box.
I know the people of Fort Myers, and I know the resiliency of Floridians. We will build back better … and I’ll see you all soon. ♥️♥️♥️🥲🥲🥲