FORT MYERS BEACH, FL. – Our coverage of Hurricane Ian’s aftermath continues. We’ve seen the footage of the storm and the devastation it left behind, but one man rode out the storm on his boat. He shared videos of his experience during the storm.
“It was pretty intense,” said Joe Schonewolf. “It started with waves then the wind and rain came all at once. For some serious time.”
Schonewolf is behind the camera. He captured Hurricane Ian’s powerful force from his boat near Fort Myers Beach. Ultimately he said he felt safe, but also prepared his boat for the storm.
“I expected it to hit farther north but by the time it turned, it was too late for me to move, but again I felt pretty secure being on a CAT-5 graded mooring ball and I had enough lines and enough length in the lines,” said Schonewolf. “Every hour or every half an hour there was a boat that would pop right off and disappear into the rain and wind. I was wondering if it was my turn next and I watched these boats come by and heard my friend Louie’s boat and even heard him on the radio. “There were boats flying everywhere, there was debris everywhere flying in the air and as well as floating in the water. I saw parts of houses, i saw docks, I saw jet skis float by.”
He says the storm was intense for hours.
“There was moments of pure chaos and it was bad on a consistent basis but there was a couple of moments that I got scared because there was noises and it was pure power blowing by,” said Schonewolf.
There were other people who stayed on their boats too, including some of their pets. Schonewolf said out of the roughly 70 boats that were here, only eleven made it.
“I was prepared; I had a line in case anybody that was sort of in need of rescue and help but I didn’t see anybody thank god,” said Schonewolf. “But there were people around and most of the people here are accounted for, I think there’s just one person still missing on a boat around here.”
This was his first hurricane on the boat but he said if he had a chance to do it over again, he would’ve been in the Bahamas a week ahead to avoid it.