Feature-Length Drama, Based on the true events of the Galveston Hurricane of 1900.
A young boy orphaned in Cape Verde is abducted by a slave trader bound for Cuba. He escapes to find refuge with a Jesuit priest in Havana renowned for hurricane prediction. The young man’s prescience foresees a deadly storm heading for Galveston as the US denies its full potential. In the cross hairs of his enemy he races to save thousands discovering his true origins.
In the late 19th century slavery remains a lucrative trade. Weather forecasting is in its infancy. The connection between storms originating in the Sahara and hurricanes tracking towards the Caribbean and American shores is the stuff of imagination. The film intercuts between Africa, Cuba, Yucatan and Galveston Island. All events will collide in a maelstrom of wind and water.
1886: Galveston Island, Texas: A woman hurriedly runs with two infant children at her side leaving them on the steps of an orphanage on east beach. It is a matter of life and death quest to save them from a monstrous slaver captain plying the waters off Africa. Galveston is one of America’s most opulent cities and a thriving shipping port.
Cape Verde off the west coast of Africa: Joshua is an orphaned, strapping young lad of eleven on Fogo Island. He is not from there. He has come of age with no family and no real memory of one save for an unusual tattoo on his left ankle. A Senegalese priestess ponders the mystery of its meaning. He is unaware of the fact that many years earlier his mother secreted him to Fogo to save his life from a sadistic killer. Jules Verne is his hero. Joshua is not fully cognizant of his gift of prescience. He senses the strange storms born in the Sahara steppes not knowing their true nature. The man-child longs to fulfill his dream of becoming a harpooner on a whaler bound for the Antarctic bound and sea adventure. His dream is waylaid. He is shanghaied and spirited away on the notorious slave ship Condor bound for a sugar plantation in Cuba. A demonic, African albino and former slave Cobra is at its helm. Joshua meets Chaac, a Mayan man who is part of the crew. He takes the boy under his wing. The ship arrives in Cuba for the slave auction as Joshua and Chaac begin their hellish lives on a sugar plantation with the rest of the Mayan crew.
Six years later, Joshua attacks the captain now overseer with intent to kill cleaving him with a cane machete. He and Chaac escape to the coast where they meet Father Vines, a Jesuit priest, who offers them refuge in his weather observatory in Havana. Chaac departs for his home in Yucatan. The priest begins Joshua’s training to become a meteorologist forecasting and tracking hurricanes. Joshua meets Itza, a Mayan girl, learning that she is Chaac’s daughter. The father and daughter unknowingly passed each other at sea. Vines tells Joshua that he must leave immediately for the Yucatan. Cobra hunts him. Itza and Joshua sail her home in Yucatan to find Chaac to help them. Reveling in the wonders of Chaac and Itza’s home Joshua feels that this magical land of the ancients holds the key to his past. A telegram reaches him that the priest is on his death bed. He returns to Cuba post haste. Cobra just missing him arrives in Yucatan. He tortures the boy’s mother for news of Joshua’s whereabouts. He pursues the young man with a vengeance back to Cuba.
Over the next few years, Joshua assumes the mantle of his adopted father’s legacy to further the scientific study of hurricanes in order to save lives. A conflict develops with the director of the U.S. Weather Bureau who has disdain for famed Cuban hurricane trackers and their methodology. At every turn he muzzles them in order to maintain dictatorial control over weather news out of the Caribbean nation.
Meanwhile in Galveston the head of that island’s weather bureau speaks at a town meeting to quash any concerns that the island needs a seawall to ward off storms. The islanders don’t want to project an image of being unsafe to the country. Two young twins are befriended by an Italian tavern owner and his wife. The boys are a fixture on the island working during the day for islanders and returning to the orphanage at night.
A powerful storm churns in the Sahara on its way to Cape Verde and the Atlantic. Joshua’s prescience feels its presence. A ship captain radio’s to the hurricane tracking network that a storm of immense proportions is headed to the Caribbean. The telegraph network is alive with chatter which reaches Joshua in Cuba. He plots the storm’s course to determine size, destructive aspect, time of arrival and track once it reaches Cuba. He knows the storm is headed for the Gulf of Mexico. The U.S. Weather Bureau is convinced the storm will turn up the east shore of the U.S. proceeding north. He ignores the Cuban weather trackers information and cuts off all communications from the Cuban weather office in favor of his own forecast.
Joshua has a vision of impending doom and races to Galveston to warn the island. The weather bureau chief in Galveston realizes that their forecast has gone wrong. Joshua arrives searching for what or whom he does not know. The island begins to be flooded in a pincer move between the ocean and the bay. The water rises quickly. Pandemonium and panic break out. Nuns at the orphanage tie children to their waists with deadly consequences. The island is swamped accompanied by ferocious winds ripping the clothes off residents. A train is sent flying from its trestle. Wooden houses explode. Cobra’s ship is thrown as if a toy. He climbs a tree to avoid being drowned only to realize he is in the middle of a nest of rattlesnakes. He dies in poetic fashion. Joshua sees a man and two young boys trapped under timbers. Only one is still alive. He sees the boy’s tattoo and realizes it is his brother. The boy removes a gold ring from the man’s finger. The hurricane consumes the island.
Joshua and his brother find passage to the Yucatan to rejoin Chaac, Itza and his adopted Mayan family. His mother is on her deathbed and she succumbs. He realizes this is his real home. At a mystical waterfall, he comes to know his true origins: He is Maya. He is home.