Gustafs, meet Gustav

October 03, 2008|By BRENT GUSTAF, 26, Greencastle, Pa.

Hello, my name is Brent Gustaf. Recently on Aug. 23, 2008; Katie Hann and I were married in Waynesboro, Pa. After the wedding and reception we left early the next morning for our honeymoon in Jamaica.

The first few days were beautiful, the weather was in the 90s, little to no wind or waves; just gorgeous.

Then we began getting phone calls from our family saying that there was a tropical storm/hurricane named "Gustav" coming our way. To be honest, I thought it was a joke. We hadn't really been watching any television while there, so we had no idea what was happening in the world. I would turn it on occasionally to try and catch the sports updates, but most of the channels were in Spanish, even ESPN Deportes.

We left the room the next morning (Wednesday, Aug. 27) to head to the beach to meet up with our catamaran for a trip to Dunn's River Falls. We then found that our trip had been canceled and all the boats were being docked at a harbor at the northwest part of the island in preparation for the storm.


That night we called the front desk to get the channel of a weather station. We then began watching a local Jamaican channel that covered events happening on the island. That night they did not have much on the coverage of the storm.

However, that night the thunder and lightning began roaring over the ocean; it would literally rattle the windows to our room. We walked out on our balcony that night and it was pretty amazing to see the lightning flash and see the ocean light up as it streaked across the sky.

We were being told by the locals that the storm was going to miss us to the north. That night we lost power off and on. When we awoke the next morning, we turned on the Jamaican channel to learn that the storm had hooked and was now on the Kingston side of the our island and was going to come right across the island.

The island went into lockdown for the most part the rest of that day. All the employees on the resort were scurrying to take the blades off the outdoor ceiling fans, globes off of lampposts, tying down chandeliers, taking the furniture off of the patios, gathering up the loungers off the beach and tying them to palm trees. They even went as far as to bring in skids of 4-foot-by-8-foot sheets of plywood and started boarding up the windows around the lobbies, dining and common areas.

Katie and I talked and decided that we would go to the buffet, eat a meal, and on our way out get extra food not knowing what to expect.

As we walked back from the cafeteria, with our extra plates of food; we stepped into the elevator and hit the button. As the elevator began traveling the power went out and the elevator jerked so hard that Katie spilled her soda and almost wet herself in fear. All the while I just laughed; the elevator kicked back on after five seconds or so, as it was just a power surge.

We then turned on the Jamaican channel and began watching as they now devoted their time and attention to covering Gustav.

That day and night the power continued to come and go, and as it would go out I would walk out on the balcony to see what was happening. At 2 a.m., after losing power, I got out of bed and walked down the two steps from our bed to the living area, where the doors to the balcony were located, and noticed that there was water lying on the floor. It had blown in from under the front door of our room. We stuffed towels under the door to keep the water out. We even packed a hurricane bag that night with necessities in case it got to the point where we were forced to evacuate.

After making it out of the storm alive, we began telling people we'd meet at the resort that our last name was Gustaf. It would get a good laugh out of them and it was OK to joke after it was over. We even were able to make the Dunn's River Falls trip on Saturday, so it all worked out in the end.

It was quite an adventure with our honeymoon/vacation having the same last name as ours; especially knowing that it is not a common name.

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