Sunday, June 8, 2008

Tropical Storm Arthur

Permanent driftwood on the shores of Ambergris Caye at Boca Del Rio, a park by the cut between the town of San Pedro and the Northern part of the Island. This boat is approaching the cut. There is a bridge now but just a year ago they still used a ferry to cross this cut for travel between these two distinct communities.

Well its been a while since my last post. Sorry about that but my internet connection has been unreliable. We finally got our complainst heard but they said we were cut off because we have not paid our bill. The reason we didn't pay is because our connection was so bad it wasn't worth paying for but they cut us off instead of fixing it. I spoke to others on the Island and many are getting fairly reliable service from the same company and others say they wouldn't use them at all. Anyway, I'm still waiting to change companies, its not in my hands because I share a signal with my friends here and split the costs. I'm at work with time between clients to post another blog so here it is. Below is a shot of the Palms blowing in the wind at Toca Del Rio.

I've been getting emails from concerned friends asking about tropical storm Arthur. It was a seven day adventure here and we are still not getting full sunny skies yet. We had three days of rain and then a calm cloudy day while we sat in the eye but unbeknownst to us things were changing while we were in that calm and when we came out the other side, Arthur had grown and it began to rain again, and by nightfall, we had ourselves a good storm. Many were unprepared and I'm told a lot of boats were sunk and one good sized sailboat even washed up onto the shore. I don't have a lot of pictures but I'm including the photos I took last year before and after Hurricane Dean instead.

I had only just gotten my camera and started taking pictures without really knowing how to use it. I'm quite sure this next picture is sunset from my second floor balcony when I still lived at Doyle's place with Sunny. This is kind of the calm before the storm!

I went to visit Paul and Cindy because they were all going a bit nuts making arrangements to survive the oncoming storm. Many who had no place safe to wait it out were gathering at their home and it proved to be the promise of a great party, if you like booze and cards. What it certainly was, was community building and it was wonderful how folks come together to face a crises. Paul and Laurie, the taco's, were sheduled to spend the night and the guest list kept building during that day. I took this next picutre because I thought it looked a bit like a bald headed Eagle cloud. Ha ha! I asked Paul to stand there to reference the size of the tree. It didn't survive the storm, the fronds got so twisted and when we lifted it, we found that there were no new roots and it wouldn't have lived anyway.

This shot shows the cloud without the tree and it looks the eagle is perched upon an opened heart!
I took this shot to show how calm the water is in the channel as the clouds began to form on the horizon. By this time, the waves were starting out to sea, but all was quiet in San Pedro.
It was only a few hours later that the sky was full of clouds, this shot was taken from my balcony back at Doyle's place.

There was a lot of notice that Dean was headed our way. No panic but lots of preperation, it was the first huricane threat of the season and folks were boarding up windows all over the Island and hauling their boats up out of the water. Below is a boat sitting on land behind the old church across the street from where I lived. This yard was the view I came to on the leeward side of the storm during the night to stand on the balcony and listen to the wind. At midnight while the winds howled around my condo, I could still hear the frogs and crickets singing in the grasses, they were louder than the storm, it was quite amazing.
Sunny sent me out to gather provisions for the possibility that we might not be able to purchase food and water for a few days and after we were sure we were all set we went out for a walk to see what was going on and to enjoy it while we could. Below is the path to the Beach from front street between Marina's Grocery store and Zanadu Resort. Sunny and Gill are walking ahead while I take this photo. I love the way the trees form a closed canopy overhead. I ride this path to the sea often and then ride or walk the beach instead of taking the roads because its in my neighborhood and I shop at Marina's a lot.

This next shot shows the Beach front with the waves crashing on the reef in the distance. The sky is overcast but the day is still quite calm.
These two local Rasta men were passing by and they recognized me because I play with Barrington and the Islanders from time to time and the guy on the left is Barrington's brother. He noticed my camera and insisted I take their picture. Notice the sea grass washed up on shore, this makes excellent compost but here it is mostly used as landfill. Bicylcles are the main transportation for many of the locals, myself included.

As we walked towards Crazy Canuks, we saw these guys struggling to haul this huge boat (above) up onto the shore and lended our hands, legs and backs. They had a four wheeler pulling in front and they used coconut trees and PVC pipes to roll the boat along the sand and it was still hard work even with all this help.

I was hoping to take shots of the storm itself but it didn't hit until dark and there wasn't much point. The next day I went out to see the damage, mostly signs down, below...

trees bent over (above)...and many broken branches that had to be pruned and hauled away (below).Then there were still all the boats that had to be emptied of water and placed back in the water (below).

Naturally Sunny was concerned to see the damage at Brahma Blue, here he stands on the San Pedro side of the lagoon taking pictures of Brahma Blue as we board the boat to go across. It turns out the damage was minimal, more of a problem was the week of preperation and another week of clean up and then another week waiting for the construction crews to return to the Island.

There was lots of clean up and many of the boarded windows stayed boarded up until the last threat of Hurricanes ended for the year but it really wasn't very serious. Many piers were broken up and the repairs went on for months as money and time became available. Some beach front structures were lifted off the foundations but no one was hurt and no real serious damage except for the loss of income. Hurricane Felix came a few weeks later and many folk were now gun shy and they left the Island well in advance even and even though Feliz never made it to Belize, not even a rain storm, the damage was done. Papers reported that Belize was hit and the tourists stayed away and so much potential income was lost even though, here on Ambergris Caye the weather turned nice again and the bad weather stayed away until this years first Tropical Storm Arthur hit, just a few days ago. I wrote a story about my experience of Hurricane Dean and sent it to many friends and now here are the pictures to accompany it. I'll end with an attempt at a full moon shot with the palms of the coconut trees on the beach framing the moon, it sort of worked, but I didn't use a tripod so its a bit shaky. So, I was so sure I had more pictures that reflect some of what is going on right now, before and after Tropical Storm Arthur but I'll have to go home and see if they are still on my camera because I can't find them on file in my computer.

Blessings and Namaste, thanks for visiting,
Master Zac, Hot in Belize

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