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Island Investing

Riffs, rants, and the upside of investing from way off Wall Street


Post-Irma Update

Dear Investors,

The Islamorada Investment Management office will re-open this Tuesday.

Retz, Maria and I returned to Islamorada from Orlando over a week ago, and we have spent most daylight hours lately assessing, helping, and most of all, cleaning.

Most evenings, I have been able to stay reasonably informed about news at our companies and at least read if not respond to your emails. I apologize to the many of you who have sent emails that I have yet to return. Thank you for all of the thoughts, prayers and encouraging messages, though. They absolutely matter.

The office had minor damage from a broken pipe during Hurricane Irma, but we can work around it easily enough until repairs are finished.

Our homes and families are okay.

“Okay” is a relative term, to be sure, but compared to many folks in Marathon and the Lower Keys, we were lucky.

We have a number of investors who, I am pained to report, lost their homes.

I’m proud to say that we’ve had even more investors step up in this community in ways that have simply been inspiring.

Islamorada is a special place. I’m biased when I say that, of course, but, well, that doesn’t necessarily mean I am wrong, either.

Here’s the thing that seemed to be the most conspicuously absent from the pre-storm media coverage:

Yes, the Keys are a beautiful place – but what makes this place so special is not how it looks.

It’s the people.

The people are what really gets in your blood.

And sure, we have our share of stubborn homeowners and defiant evacuees – but I categorically reject the media narrative that the people who stayed in the Keys during Irma were either foolish or somehow deserving of whatever fate might befall them in the storm.


I think it’s important to note that many of them stayed for each other – and in some cases, to honor the memories of family members who endured similar storms decades ago.

If, as a child in the Keys, you watched Hurricane Donna wash away your house in 1960, then hear your father – after painstakingly rebuilding your home into a veritable fortress – tell you that now you’d never have to worry about losing your home again…then the question of whether to leave that home for a storm like Irma is not a question of how informed you are.

There are, to many, more important issues at stake.

Among other things, the Conch Republic is fiercely independent.

I happen to believe that makes it a great place to run a contrarian investment firm.

But it’s an even better place to call your hometown and raise a family.

So, we need one more day to tie a few things up.

On Tuesday, we will officially be back.

And within the next few weeks we’ll finalize a date for the rescheduled annual investor meeting.

Thank you for the patience.

– Cale