Laura Irish of Middleburg, FL lost her Koi fish during Hurricane Irma. You won't believe how she found one of them. Story from the local newspaper below.
In some ways, it's another story stemming from Hurricane Irma, but it really starts about five years ago. Laura and her husband Joel have lived on their Scenic Drive property for about eight years. After nearly losing their house to Tropical Storm Debbie in June 2012, they decided to build a new, higher house on the same parcel, which backs out onto Black Creek.
"Built this house a lot higher, probably six feet higher," as Laura began the story on Friday, talking with First Coast News.
The couple currently has four hens, three dogs, and a rescue cat, but their menagerie expanded less than a year ago after they discovered a natural spring next to their driveway. They decided to build a Koi pond, knowing the constant flow of pristine water would mean added beauty with minimal maintenance, eventually stocking the pond - complete with waterfall - with 17 Koi fish and a turtle.
"Super healthy," she described the fish, "I mean, most of them are about this big," she said, holding her hands about a foot apart.
Then came Irma. Laura figured that the creek would rise.
It did, not just the roughly 14 feet to the driveway and Koi pond, but another 9 feet, almost enough to reach the sub-floor of the elevated home.
"Part of our prep was to put a net over my Koi pond," Laura said, having figured the netting would keep the fish and turtle in their home.
It didn't. Several days after the water ebbed, the Irishes removed the debris-laden mesh.
"So, finally we managed to get the net off and looked in. And, nothing, nothing left," she said with a sigh.
All seemed lost. In this rural area where mountains of waterlogged possessions still line the road, awaiting pickup, it's hard to figure that any of the fish would have survived wherever nature left them. It's unfathomable to imagine that any would have been found, but one of them was, several days later, when a friend came by.
"He goes, 'You're not going to believe this but there's a Koi in a swimming pool two blocks over.' And I said, 'That's got to be my Koi'," Laura said.
Indeed the Koi had somehow floated and swum across at least a quarter-mile of road, forest, and other waterways, ending its hurricane-driven journey inside the in-ground pool at a home on Laurel Road.
Laura and Joel know the family who lives at that home. "So, we went and looked at it, and sure enough it was Dreamsicle," she said, identifying the fish by name.