Thursday, January 11, 2007

Safety first discussion

Tonight's blog post will simply be a copy of the post I just made to our private email list. We're all thoughtful, careful guys. It is time to have this sober discussion. I'll pick up on all the great planning stuff again beginning tomorrow. In the mean time, here's a glimpse into our private list...


There have been some interesting events on the island of Montserrat as of late. Some of you may have noticed. {grin} We had always known that we were traveling to an island with an active volcano, but other than simply acknowledging that fact, we had not discussed its possibly profound implications to our travel there. This brief note is intended to begin that discussion.
My mantra in all of my planning for all my trips is safety first. This trip is certainly no different. I will not intentionally put myself, or anyone else, in harms way if it can be avoided. That said, one of the items on the General Agreement states, "I agree that travel, especially international travel, has inherent risks to my person and my belongings..." There are always risks with travel: flying, being away from first-class healthcare facilities, and even being outside of the jurisdiction of US laws. I believe we've all recognized these risks and can live with them.
The big risk, the volcano, is the one that is giving us pause. I just got off the phone with Budd and we were completely in agreement during our discussions. The residents of Montserrat have been living with this volcano for a very long time and have learned to cope. Of course there have been major events within the last two decades, but for the most part, the northern part of the island where we will be visiting is as safe as any other in the Caribbean.
All that said, things can change very quickly. Budd and I agree there are two eventualities that would be cause to immediately cancel plans to travel to the island:
1. The airport on Montserrat was closed due to volcanic activity or threat of same.
2. Gingerbread Hill somehow became unavailable.
If we cannot safely get there, or have no place to stay, we should not go. It is possible there are other reasons why we should not go that will be learned between now and our departure. All but one of us will be at the "staging area" in Orlando on the Sunday before our early Monday departure. Budd has suggested that we contact David Lea at Gingerbread Hill that day and confirm that things are copacetic.
It is still possible that we will get safely to the island and then be plunged into an enormous disaster. If that should happen, we should be prepared to abandon our equipment and evacuate with the other residents as quickly as possible. I believe that is an unlikely event, but we must acknowledge that it is not impossible.
At least a few minutes during our next conference call should be spent discussing this. I also welcome comments on the list, or privately to me if you feel more comfortable with that approach.
That is my thinking on the matter. Thanks for the bandwidth.

-- Scott (NE1RD and VP2MRD)


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