A Chestermere family recently returned from a once in a lifetime vacation, although not in the way most people hope for when it comes to unique vacations.
Jason Smith and his family were vacationing in on Maui in Hawaii as Hurricane Lane, a category 4 storm bore down on the island chain.
“It was definitely unnerving you know because you’re not sure what to expect,” said Smith.
Fortunately, the storm while bringing wind and rain, didn’t actually make landfall.
“I know that the big island got hit pretty hard in terms of rain and even our island, not where we were but other parts of the Island got a lot of rain,” said Smith.
He said the worst of the rain was on the opposite other side of the volcano on the east coast of Maui.
“There was some overland flooding and washouts, roads washed out and stuff like that,” said Smith, “so there was an impact on the local people, but not to a huge extent.”
Although the storm’s impact turned out to be less than it could have been, Smith said that he felt really well prepared in the lead up to the arrival of the hurricane.
“Our property manager had come around and discussed some of the things that were going on,” said Smith.
“One of the things brought up was that it was a concrete building and it was a little more solid than some of the other structures,” he said.
This was the family’s third trip to Hawaii and definitely the most memorable.
“A lot of the island had shut down on Thursday and Friday,” said Smith.
He said that a lot of the homes and business were boarded up and had sand bags piled up near the entrances in preparation for the forecast rain.
Despite that, the impact on their vacation was limited to a little less shopping than they might have done.
“We went to the beach every day so that didn’t impact us,” he said.
Like residents of Maui, the Smiths did have to prepare somewhat for the arrival of Hurricane Lane.
They were given a hurricane preparedness handout and were able to follow much of what it suggested to prepare.
“Because we were visitors, we had to manage the manual a little bit because it was mostly for the people that lived on the island all the time,” he said, “they were talking about 14 days-worth of rations and we’re only on the island for four or five days longer.”
He described it as being caught between a rock and hard place.
“We…didn’t want to over do it or under do it,” he said of their preparations.
Some of the precautions that the family took included turning up the refrigerator to the maximum cold setting and filling their condo’s bath tub with water.
“It said turn up the refrigerator to the highest setting… in case of a power failure then your fridge would maintain the coolness of the food longer because it was already colder,” said Smith.
In addition to the bath tub of water, which was meant for sanitary uses if the power and utilities went down, the family went out to get fresh water to drink.
“That was the big thing more than anything, having drinkable water,” said Smith.
The experience of shopping for supplies with a big storm bearing down was a lot different than getting groceries at home.
“The stores were busier than you would expect, because it was mid day when we went in,” said Smith.
“There was a little bit more of a buzz to the atmosphere you could tell,” he said.
He said that bread and water supplies were running low.
“The bread was very low, there was hardly any,” said Smith.
Despite everything the hurricane brought, Smith said that he’d rate that vacation 10 out of 10.
“We’re there to not be working and spend time together, and we definitely did that,” he said.
He said the experience of hunkering down as a family and preparing for the possible arrival of a hurricane will makes this vacation stand out.
“It’s one of those things that you can talk about,” he said, “It makes it memorable.”