Island rallies for victims of Irma
A weekend boat cruise is banking on Bermuda’s big heart to raise funds for those impacted by Hurricane Irma.
On Saturday evening, Rising Son Cruises and Island Tour Centre will team up for the “Fundraising with Filante” cruise.
Steve Smith, owner and operator of Rising Son Cruises, said he and his wife came up with the idea for the event after seeing the destruction caused by the storm in the Caribbean - specifically, a social media post from friends in the British Virgin Islands who had lost “absolutely everything”.
The massive storm has left a number of regions decimated and dozens of people dead in its wake across the Caribbean and United States, spurring several Bermuda-born initiatives to try and lend a helping hand to those in need.
Their ship, Rising Son II, had spent many winter seasons in the region with its previous owner Beez Evans, Mr Smith said.
“We were lucky enough to spend six amazing months on the beautiful island of Tortola working, surfing and enjoying all it had to offer,” he said.
“Tortola holds a special place in our hearts and always will.”
He added: “My wife and I visited Antigua a few times earlier this year and ended up leasing and sailing Filante from Antigua to Bermuda for the summer.”
Seeing the damage done to the region also hit home in another way, Mr Smith said.
“Rising Son II actually wrecked as a result of Hurricane Fay in 2014 at the beginning of our first year of ownership almost destroying our sole income,” he said.
“As Bermudians we all know very well how these storms can change lives in an instant.
“We were fortunate enough to rebuild our boat and continue our business. Unfortunately, others all over the Caribbean may not be so lucky and we feel this is the least we can do to show our love and support as it has been shown to us in the past.”
Drinks and hors d’oeuvre on the cruise will be provided thanks to donations by Gosling’s and Fourways Inn. The cruise will depart from Albouy’s Point at 6pm.
Tickets for the event are $150, with 100 per cent of the proceeds being split between two charities.
“We would love to take advantage of Bermuda’s generosity and resources to help those less fortunate,” Mr Smith said.
“A little can go a long way and if we reach our max capacity of 65 passengers we can raise almost $10,000.”
Funds raised by the cruise will be matched by the Calvin Ayre Foundation.
For its part, local restaurant Bermuda Bistro at the Beach said that $10 from each lobster and each bottle of wine sold for the remainder of the month would be donated to the Turks and Caicos Hurricane Relief Fund.
“Hurricane Irma has affected so many lives, it’s time to support and help one another,” a message on the Front Street restaurant’s Facebook page said.
Mr Smith added: “Hopefully our cruise will sell out and raise enough funds to change lives and turn the tides for those in need.”
“We love our island and trust that its heart is big enough to help our Caribbean friends.”
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