September 11, 2019. It has been 18 years to the hour since the attack on the World Trade Center. We were airborne with beautiful visibility similar to the morning of 9/11/01. We all took a moment to reflect on the moment. To appreciate the efforts of the men and women on the ground that day and the days that followed. To understand how our world had changed since the moment the first plane hit. Never Forget!!

Here is half of “Team Warbird” aboard N1MG on our way back to Treasure Cay.

Mission #3 objectives:

1) Delivery another round of supplies from the US.

2) Fill and deliver over 200 gallons of gasoline in forty 5 gallon containers.

3) Verify the best location of our SATCOM equipment.

4) Evacuate any locals on the ground.

5) Be back in the air heading home by 1100.

On the ground at Treasure Cay Airport

We are happy to see that the line of locals waiting to evacuate from the island was gone in Treasure Cay.

Taylor and “T” were friends long before Dorian devastated the Bahamas. It was their friendship that brought our team together to facilitate the missions that followed. “T” was instrumental in connecting our team on the ground with the locals in the Abacos. His hard work is prove that one person can make a difference. Today was the first time Taylor was able to join on a mission. I would like to thank both of them for bringing “Team Warbird” together to help so many in need.

Just a few of the many additional supplies we were able to bring over on our third trip.

Rob and I arrived at the clinic in Coopers Town. Coppers Town is situated to the Northwest of Marsh Harbor and was not hit with the full force of the storm. There was still a great deal of damage, but most structures remained in place. The clinic had many first responders on the ground trying to get the medial facility up and running. We were told their biggest issue was lack of communications! This was where our SATCOM would be most useful.

Once we decided it was best to move the SATCOM equipment to the Coopers Town Clinic. The next step was to drive back to Treasure Cay, breakdown the equipment, bring it north to the clinic, and reestablish communications. Local resident “Fonz” was our driver and described his experiences to us during our transit.

Thanks for the lift Fonz!

Nick helping with the set up of the SATCOM at the Clinic. The first location for set up was on the ground behind the clinic. We didn’t feel good about leaving the Sat dish exposed and inline for potential blockage. Even with the 1100 deadline for extraction approaching we decided to move the dish to the roof of the clinic.

Here Rob Abbot is establishing the SATCOM communications.

Ground location, no good!

SATCOM final location!

Mission 3 was another success!

We accomplished all of our goals. Surprisingly, we didn’t have any evacuees to remove from Treasure Cay . Hopefully this was a good sign that most people were able to get out of the Abacos. It was amazing to see how much clean up had taken place even in the short time span since our first mission. Roads were being cleared, tarps were placed on roofs, homes were being repaired. It is estimated it could take up to a full year until power was completely restored. The road ahead to rebuilding will no doubt be long and difficult. I look forward to the day we can all return to the Abacos for relaxation after the restoration!

Marsh Harbor Bahamas (Pre storm)

Team “Warbird” for Mission 3!

Team Haggy did not wait long to get back over to the Abaco’s. Our team was at it again early Monday morning at the Stuart Jet Center, loading two planes and preparing for a return trip. We planned on arriving into North Eleuthera to clear customs then on to Treasure Cay. The hope was that by avoiding Nassau we would avoid major delays.

Customs in North Eleuthera couldn’t have been easier!

We landed on the ground at North Eleuthera airport with no other planes in front of us. We were able to clear customs and get back in the air in less than 20 minutes.

We landed at North Eleuthera Airport, which is on the North end of the long Island of Eleuthera.

Haggy with the Customs officer.

On to Treasure Cay!

Next we departed Eleuthera for Treasure Cay. We had a beautiful morning with great visibility. The short flight North provided some clear views of the Abacos. It was surreal to look down on the absolute beauty of the Islands but see the complete destruction of the storm.

Hope Town on Elbow Cay

Bakers Bay Marina and Resort

Northern Abacos

All vegetation was completely bare.

We were back on the ground in Treasure Cay by 0940. This was even earlier than we had planned for. Our goals remained the same: set up our communication satellite, deliver supplies, evacuate locals off the Island. On the ground we didn’t see much improvement since we departed less than 48 hours before. Locals were still gathered on the tarmac waiting for evacuation. A few more tarps and tents were set up, but still no real structures or plans on the ground.

One of the mission’s goals was to set up a communications Satcom on the island. We brought over a KVH mini VSAT that is capable of providing a contestant internet and phone line to connect with the outside world. The difficult part is finding a secure place to set this up, that has a constant power supply and is under supervision. In order to accomplish this we needed to find a local on the ground that would be able to utilize the VSAT and keep it in a secure place. Errol was able to hook us up with a long time friend Fire Chief Albury. This proved to be the connection we needed to make things happen. Chief Albury’s department lost everything in the storm and have zero fire fighting equipment to fight fires moving forward.

Chief Albury putting out a plea to the Fire Fighters across America.

This is what is left of the local First Station

Here the Chief is describing his first hand account of the storm.

Rob Abbott and myself were tasked with the set up of the VSAT equipment. Chief Albury was sheltering in the home of a friend who’s home remained completely intact. The decision was made to set up the equipment at this location. We first had to make the 7 mile journey from the Airport to the home. This is when the full destruction of the storm came to full realization.

We finally arrived the Home the Chief was staying at. After witnessing the complete destruction of the town, here we were looking at a completely intact home. It looked as if the storm never happened. Everything else around it was decimated. This home had power, water, and all the normal conveniences. It really shows that a well constructed structure can survive one of the worst storms ever. Well done to the building contractor!!

It was now time for us to set up the Mini VSAT.

Installation Complete!

Shawn and Tim are standing by after unloading in Treasure Cay. These guys have down an amazing job getting all people and supplies safely in and out. Well done gentlemen!

Here Dimiter is trying to get in touch with the rest of the team via Satellite phone. This is not always easy when standing on an active runway.

It was cool to see a Marines MV-22 Osprey landing in Treasure Cay. We were able to get both planes out before the US military shut down the airport for two hours. It seems like today the breaks were finally going our way!

We are now half way through our day. We have managed to set up communications and deliver our supplies. We now turned our focus to trying to get evacuees out of the Islands. Next stop Freeport!

Freeport Bahamas

Once on the ground in Freeport we we able to find two families that needed to get back to the USA. We had to make sure they had all of the proper paperwork to legally enter the US. This took time on the ground getting all info passed along for the clearance to depart. We were able to feed the families and keep them under shade until we were finally able to depart for Stuart, Florida.

We finally got off of the ground in Freeport with 11 evacuees. Next Stop is Stuart Florida to clear in Customs.

Cockpit Selfie after a long day

Flying over the Grand Bahama Bank on the Edge of the Gulf Stream

Now back on the ground in Florida, how were US Customs going to receive us with 11 Bahamians?

We finally completed the days mission and cleared everybody in. US Customs was very accommodating a did an amazing job! Nothing like fresh McDonald’s cheeseburgers as a USA welcome.

Our team for Mission 2.

We were able to accomplish all of the days goals. Delays were minimal and the team performed outstanding in every way. Even though we are a small part of the overall relief, there is no doubt we are making a huge contribution. We have a communications center set up with the Fire Chief in Treasure Cay. We now have direct instant communication with them in order to prioritize and organize specific supplies needed on the ground. This is just the beginning of our efforts!!!

Hurricane Dorian’s eyewall approaches Marsh Harbor Bahamas.

What started out as a text message from myself to Jim Hagedorn, quickly turned into a full blown mission. My text expressed my interest in trying to take Warbird over to the Bahamas to bring relief supplies. When I sent this text, Warbird was off the coast of Nova Scotia, over 1500 miles away from the devastated northern Bahamas. Haggy immediately agreed and asked where I thought our team could focus our efforts. Knowing hurricane Dorian smashed into Marsh Harbor as a Category 5, that area came to mind. I spent a great deal of time over the years cruising in the Abacos and felt a connection when I saw the raw footage on the news. We both agreed that Warbird was too far away to make any immediate contribution and any help would have to be by air. Little did I know that less than 72 hours later I would be landing early morning in Stuart, Florida for day one of our relief mission.

Early morning wheels down in Stuart.

We landed before 0600 in Stuart and it was clear a plan was already in motion. There were mountains of various supplies including; a dozen satellite phones, generators, bottled water, diapers, tarps, just too mention a few. On the ground there was a team fueling and loading three Scotts Miracle-Gro jets to full capacity. We even had our own KVH mini VSAT for communications with the help of Oceanwide Marine Electronics to ensure we had phone and internet as needed.

Loading supplies in Stuart.

FYI, Don’t store baby formula in the back of the Jet!

The next step after we were loaded was to brief our goals of the day and make sure everybody understood their roll. We all introduced ourselves and finalized details. The goal was simple: Get into Marsh Harbor, establish a command post, deliver our supplies, and then begin the process of getting survivors out of harm’s way.

Morning brief in Stuart prior to our departure for the Bahamas.

Passing Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island when landing in Nassau.

We departed Stuart for Nassau, Bahamas. We were told we had to clear into the Bahamas in Nassau before going to the Abacos. This should have been a pretty simple process, little did we know this would be the start of the many bureaucratic problems that laid ahead. We landed and cleared customs, ready to get airborne to Marsh Harbor. This is when we encountered our first delay of the day. We were unable to get authorization to fly into the Abacos. All of the paperwork was filed, but lack of communication in the Bahamian government stopped us cold. There we were, full with supplies and ready to assist and the Bahamian government was completely unprepared to make this happen. Haggy was unwilling to let this stop us. (No surprise to those who know him!) He taxied into town and went directly to the office of Civil Aviation and was able to get a verbal clearance for us to proceed on our mission. Next stop, the Abacos!

We were fortunate enough to hook up with a local from the Abacos, Errol “T” Thruston. T’s family was in Marsh Harbor during the storm. He was still waiting to confirm they were safe when we left Nassau. We also gave a lift to a reporter from the London Times. Here you can see her interviewing T on the flight over.

Marsh Harbor and the Abacos were completely devastated. Here were our first views on the way in. We first flew over Marsh Harbor but ended up landing in Treasure Cay to the North. As we approached, the extent of the devastation became apparent to all.

As we approached Marsh Harbor, we all got our first live look at the destruction.

Jim’s plane finally landed in Treasure Cay. We first performed a flyby of the airstrip to get a feel for what we could expect. We had heard of relief planes that had landed less than 24 hours before us that had been held up and robbed at gun point. We were ready for the worst! Once we landed we were happy to see that local law enforcement was there including heavily armed members of the Bahamian Defense Force.

Once on the ground in Treasure Cay we began unloading our supplies to begin relief efforts. Only one of the three jets was able to get clearance to leave Nassau. Jim’s plane was on the ground in the Abacos, the other two were stuck in Nassau unable to proceed.

One of the vital members of our team was Captain William Busch. A doctor and 30 year Navy Veteran that would be in charge of the ground portion of the rescue team.

Hundreds of locals were standing by trying to get on a plane off the island. There was no shelter from the sun and no real leadership in place. It was as if nobody had anywhere else to go. They were just waiting for something or someone to help.

As soon as we unloaded the first plane we were asked to transport survivors to Nassau. There was a team on the ground from the Cleveland Clinic that was performing triage and asked us to assist. Within minutes Jim’s plane was loaded with patients and back in the air to Nassau.

Local survivors finally able to get off the island.

Haggy on the return flight.

After a few hours the second two planes finally made it to Treasure Cay.

There was a US Coast Guard presence. Coast Guard helicopters were landing through out the day transporting patients off the Island.

The remains of this building was one of the only structures standing at the airport. This is where the locals began to stockpile the supplies that were coming in. Even though the structure didn’t have a roof, it provided security so the items would not be stolen.

This was the first load of supplies that we were able to get on the ground to the locals.

Stopped in our tracks!

Jim’s plan landed in Nassau, but after hours on the ground was unable to gain clearance back to Treasure Cay. Our team was able to load the second plane with more patients but that is where the mission came to an end. We received word that once the second two planes departed we were not going to be able to get back into the Abacos that day. The call was made to pull the team off the Island with the third plane. We didn’t want to run the risk of leaving anybody overnight. By 1600 we were all on our way back to Nassau. Once on the ground it was a few more hours until we were able to gain clearance out of Nassau and back to Stuart. We then sat on the Taxiway of a “not so busy” airport for two additional hours waiting to take off. It became clear that the government of the Bahamas was not able to coordinate the vast amount of assets and resources it had at it’s disposal. We were not the only rescue team that was hindered by this lack of leadership. Hopefully this will change in the days ahead.

Crew members on the return flight after a long day.

Back on the ground in Stuart. Logan, Jeff, and Haggy reflect on the day’s events.

We started out the day with the goal of helping out in any way possible. We had high expectations but due to issues out of our control, were unable to contribute the team’s full potential. What we did accomplish will in no doubt help make life easier for many Bahamians in need. Babies will have formula and diapers. Generators will provide evening light and power. Satellite phones will allow loved ones to reconnect after waiting in silence. These families will always be grateful that somebody cared. Restoration in kindness, caring, and humanity. We could, so we did! I am very proud of the team. This mission will be complete when there are no more people screaming help. Standby, there will be more to come……..

Lise and John out for an evening ride.

Logan and Taylor win big at the casino in Halifax.

Lise and Kate taking in Port Hood.

Logan thinks he is a tough guy!

Lise in the galley performing her magic!

Does he fit in that bed?

Captain John during a late night repair.

No comment!!!

I wonder what she is thinking about??

When was this even a thing??

John hitching a ride on the Sealegs.

Warbird will officially begin the southbound trip back to Florida. Heading down the east coast this time of year normally involves monitoring tropical storms. This year we happen to be in a storm path at our northern most point. The path will likely change day by day, but we will still need to keep a close eye. Our plan is to depart tomorrow morning for our first leg. Should the storm end up close will will find a place to duck in and seek shelter. Stay tuned…

Warbird tied up at the Yacht Club.


Crew Lunch in town! Enjoying the famous PEI oysters and mussels!

While our guests left Warbird for the evening to see Santana and the Doobie Brothers, Warbird made the 100 NM crossing from Cape Breton to Prince Edward Island. The trip produced a sunset only rivaled by the following days sunrise!

Sunset leaving Port Hood Island

Sunrise, 11 hours later!

Crew Dinner!

The crew was lucky enough to be treated to a fresh Lobster dinner in Port Hood. It was a good time to unwind!


Aerial footage of Warbird anchored off of Port Hood Island, NS.


Warbird entering Canso locks.

Jim masterfully maneuvering Warbird into the locks.

What’s the view out of your window?

The weather was a bit rainy today, but it did not slow us down! We departed from St Peters early morning and headed north into the main body of the lake. The wind was blowing a bit out of the south causing a 2-3 foot chop across the open water. We passed through the “Grand Narrows” which separates the two main sections of the body of water. This required another bridge opening to make the passage. Once through the narrows we made a pit stop at Maskell’s Harbor. Here the guests we able to swim, paddle board, and take a short walk to the light house. After our stop we ended our cruise in the town Baddeck.

Warbird tied up to the town wharf in Baddeck.


“Sealegs” was on land today. We parked on the dock for a bit of maintenance.

Warbird left Port Hawkesbury this morning for our first destination of St. Peters. This town is located on the Bras D’Or Lake. This is a large lake surrounded by Cape Breton Island. In order for Warbird to enter the lake from the south we had to go through the St Peter’s lock. Once through the lock we moored for the evening at St Peters Marina.

Warbird entering St. Peters lock.


A view of the canal from the south.


The gates close and the lock raise Warbird less than a foot.


After the lock, we had to go through a swing bridge.

Captain John and Peter.


Not much room on each side. Jim did a great job of maneuvering Warbird through the canal.

St. Peter’s Marina from the air. Two other Nordhavn’s were in town.

After a long trip up the Nova Scotia Atlantic coast in heavy fog, Warbird is on her final leg. We are 10 miles from our destination of Port Hawkesbury on Cape Brenton Island. The fog has lifted and the sun is peaking out. We will anchor off the Port Hawkesbury town dock. Due to the size of Warbird they do not have a dock large enough to accommodate us!