From Ak’Bol to Caribbean Villas, Ambergris Caye coast nearly stripped of piers

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The "honeymoon cabin" survived. Ak'Bol Yoga Resort's palapa just behind it, did not. All that is left is part of the pier.
The “honeymoon cabin” survived. Ak’Bol Yoga Resort’s palapa just behind it, did not. All that is left is part of the pier.

What’s up dock?

This morning I found the owners of Ak’Bol Yoga Retreat down shore, retrieving canvas curtains and polls from their lovely palapa studio. Which no longer exists. Later some friends told me that the top to the gazebo that once crowned our own dock was down shore and intact on a beach.

“It still has its light fixture.”

A dive shop owner told me he was able to find his compressors underwater and about half of his 60 air tanks.

Everywhere you looked today, people were off in search of their docks, their gear, some remnant of their life that blew away in the Category 1 hurricane Earl last night.

Curiously, the Catch of the Day boat survived intact on its elevated perch while all around it, devastation reined.
Curiously, the Catch of the Day boat survived intact on its elevated perch while all around it, devastation reined.

The winds blew from north to south, stripping the shore of almost everything. What is left is badly damaged.

Among the casualties are Ak’Bol which the owners will rebuild after the hurricane season ends in November; the Palapa Bar on Boca del Rio; Fido’s dock which was home berth for the YOLO excursion boat; both water taxi piers were badly damaged; Ramon’s Resort dock; Ecologic Tours; the pier leading out to the Tackle Box restaurant; the water slide El Diablo at Caribbean Villas and so much more. Add the gas station dock to the list.

The Dive Bar lost its almost brand new dock but the restaurant only looks devastated. Tuua says he’ll have the bar and kitchen up and running by tomorrow lunch — two days at the outside.

One dive shop owner says not a single dive shop over the water survived. Many lost tanks. All three shops with air compressors lost their equipment, making future dives difficult for a while.

Everywhere, vast swatches of vegetation were stripped away, too.

My beautiful walk north through the lovingly landscaped properties north of the bridge have almost all been stripped of landscaping, replaced by remnants of docks from up shore, like carelessly scattered piles of kindling.

More storms are on the way.
More storms are on the way. A turtle nest on this beach may have survived the hurricane. Neighbors are watching anxiously over the next few days as the birthing of hundreds of babies is about to begin.

These photos are from Ak’Bol south all the way to Caribbean Villas. I took the photos north of the bridge. Rose Alcantara took the ones south. They show just a small portion of the devastation that has best this island.

Even more tragic, we’d only just begun to recover from a horrific downtown fire that leveled almost a whole city block and left 66 people homeless.

The island is filled with resilient people but it will be a long time before things are normal here.

Images from Ak’Bol through the Tres Cocos neighborhood:

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Images from Boca del Rio to Caribbean Villas by Rose Alcantara: 

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41 thoughts on “From Ak’Bol to Caribbean Villas, Ambergris Caye coast nearly stripped of piers

    Frank J said:
    August 4, 2016 at 12:38 pm

    So sorry for everyone, and I keep thinking it was a category 1 only.

    Like

    Susan said:
    August 4, 2016 at 12:49 pm

    Thanks for the photos. Such destruction. Like Frank J, only a cat 1, can’t imagine a 3,4,5!

    Like

    Linda Young said:
    August 4, 2016 at 12:50 pm

    Thank you so much for keeping us up to date. Any news on AJI? That’s where we stay.

    Like

    SusanM said:
    August 4, 2016 at 1:08 pm

    Oh man. So sorry for the losses. Haven’t heard from family in Belize City yet. This is the only news I can find. Kinda suspect power outages or internetting down. Thanks for the updates. We just visited the country and San Pedro for the first time since our son married a girl from the city and moved there in April. Do you have any reports from the mainland and or Amado (we sailed on his boat) and the family who owns/operates Hidden Treasures who hosted us like royalty?

    Like

      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      August 4, 2016 at 10:32 pm

      We just got our power back. Haven’t heard anything yet from Belize City. Almost all major damage on Ambergris Caye was limited to the coastline. Even one block west, you wouldn’t know that a hurricane passed through!

      Like

    P Johnson said:
    August 4, 2016 at 1:28 pm

    You are our only link to what has happened on the island – again thanks for your “newsman” instincts. How about electricity on the island??

    Like

      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      August 4, 2016 at 11:25 pm

      Thanks! Electricity came back north of the bridge around 11 p.m.! I suspect rest of the town is up and running too.

      Like

    SusanM said:
    August 4, 2016 at 1:32 pm

    So sorry for the losses. Thanks for the updates. Any news of Belize City?

    Like

      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      August 4, 2016 at 10:29 pm

      We only just got power back a few moments ago. I hear there was extensive flooding in Belize City and they are without water and power but nothing specific.

      Like

    Miranda said:
    August 4, 2016 at 2:34 pm

    My heart hurts, looking at the condition that my beautiful island is in.

    Like

    Julia S Smith said:
    August 4, 2016 at 3:49 pm

    Wish I could come over and help. Seeing all of the boards on the beaches makes me want to pick them up and stack them somewhere to be reused again. How did Estelle’s do? I think that was the place we ate breakfast at?

    Like

      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      August 4, 2016 at 11:26 pm

      Estel’s was mostly unscathed and open for business this morning, Julia!

      Like

        johnhenryeast said:
        August 5, 2016 at 7:37 am

        Estel’s was, as you report Bob, undamaged but the place wasn’t open for business yesterday. It was a clean-up day.

        Liked by 1 person

        robertjhawkins1 responded:
        August 5, 2016 at 8:32 am

        Thanks, John. I was told they were setting up for business but, as you say, it must have been cleaning up.

        Liked by 1 person

    James K said:
    August 4, 2016 at 4:41 pm

    How is the pier at Caribbean Villas? They have the large water slide, did it make it?

    Like

      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      August 4, 2016 at 10:26 pm

      No. The water slide, El Diablo, and the three story tower that supported it were wiped out though some of the pier survived.

      Like

        James K said:
        August 5, 2016 at 8:55 am

        Thanks Robert. We have a wedding at Caribbean Villas next week. Have you heard of any damage to their property? I saw on their Facebook page they were open for lunch yesterday which seemed a bit odd.

        I saw the Crazy Canuck bar up the way made out ok and will be open today.

        Like

        robertjhawkins1 responded:
        August 5, 2016 at 9:44 am

        Caribbean Villas lost part of its dock and the three story water slide. I haven’t heard of other damage but on the whole, i’d say your view is vastly improved with the slide gone.

        Like

    David and Cynthia from CT said:
    August 4, 2016 at 8:40 pm

    OMG! Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those impacted! While we know from our annual visits that Ambergris has a strong community network, such an event after the recent devastating fire in SanPedro is just too much to absorb! We wish you all well during the recovery and cleanup phase. Best wishes…. David and Cynthia.

    Like

    […] More photos from the Tres Cocos neighborhood south to Caribbean Villas can be seen here. […]

    Like

    Nicole said:
    August 5, 2016 at 9:41 am

    Super sad to see the island like this. I feel really badly for everyone.I also agree that I can imagine what the devastation would have been had it been larger than a Cat1! One question – you mentioned Dos Amigos by Fido’s. Was that a dive shop and back in ’02 was it called Tres Amigos? We got married on AC 7/4/02 and used a dive shop right there and I’m pretty sure it was called Tres Amigos. Did one friend leave and they changed the name?

    Like

      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      August 5, 2016 at 9:42 am

      Great question, Nicole. I don’t know. The history predates me but maybe someone else can chime in on that!

      Like

        diane campbell said:
        August 6, 2016 at 1:44 pm

        I think Dos (or Tres) Amigos is a movie and the dive shop is Amigos del Mar.

        Like

        robertjhawkins1 responded:
        August 6, 2016 at 7:39 pm

        You are so right! I think I had Steve Martin on my mind. Fixed it. Thank you.

        Like

    Enga Santman said:
    August 5, 2016 at 1:22 pm

    We just departed the Island on Saturday. (our 4 th visit to San Pedro over 9 years) The photos are shocking and sad. Thank you for taking time to let the rest of the world know about the severity of damage. WE stayed at the Phoenix and us Chuck and Robbie’s for diving. Do you know any details about the damage to either of these properties?

    Like

      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      August 5, 2016 at 4:15 pm

      Hi Enga,
      The Phoenix is fine. Looks like they ended up trimming a lot of vegetation.
      I ran into Robbie today at the hardware store and he said the repairs to his dock are underway. He was very upbeat and enthusiastic about get back in business as quickly as possible.

      Like

    Gary R. Mendoza said:
    August 5, 2016 at 4:13 pm

    Can you give me any news on Ramon’s. I have a trip scheduled there first week of Sept. Do you think the diving operation will be operating by then?

    Like

    Gary R. Mendoza said:
    August 5, 2016 at 4:25 pm

    Can you give me an update on Ramon’s. Scheduled to stay there the first week of Sept? Will the dive shop be operational?

    Like

      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      August 5, 2016 at 4:45 pm

      I have no information other than that their dock was wiped out along with many many others. Having seen Ramon’s in action in the past (a devastating fire 2.5 years go) they will be back in operation faster than anyone. I would recommend making a call to Ramon’s for a timetable on rebuilding. I understand the resort on land was undamaged, except for one very large gorgeous banyan tree.

      Like

        johnhenryeast said:
        August 5, 2016 at 9:17 pm

        Ramon’s has dives going out tomorrow from the shore until they find a dock they can use. Spoke to one of their Dive Masters tonight “It is business as usual”

        Like

      johnhenryeast said:
      August 6, 2016 at 3:11 am

      Ramon’s has dives going out today from the shore until they find a dock they can use. Spoke to one of their Instructors last night “It is business as usual”t”.

      Like

        Gary R. Mendoza said:
        August 6, 2016 at 5:48 am

        Thank you!

        Like

        robertjhawkins1 responded:
        August 6, 2016 at 10:33 am

        Thanks John!

        Like

    Joe Connors said:
    August 6, 2016 at 4:52 am

    Any news on Belizean Shores Resort? We’ve been saying there for the past seven years.

    Like

      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      August 6, 2016 at 10:35 am

      Anyone have word on Belizean Shores? I’m stuck here trying to repair the damage to our own complex and can’t get away to check.

      Like

    johnhenryeast said:
    August 6, 2016 at 7:04 am

    You are more than welcome Gary.

    Like

    Tina Lee said:
    August 7, 2016 at 3:40 pm

    Thanks for providing useful information on the amount of damage. I haven’t heard from my friends in Belize City yet. Please keep me posted on the recovery, clean up or clothing drives. I’m planning to a trip to Belize for the Independence Day celebrations in Sept. Thanks.

    Like

      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      August 7, 2016 at 4:00 pm

      That will be a great time to visit. I think we will be ready to party like it was 1981!

      Belize City had a lot of water but it seemed to dissipate quickly. A number of wooden structures were taken down in the hurricane but as you probbly know, no known fatalities in Belize.

      None of the clothing, food or cash drives like we had during the recent San Pedro fire. I think that most people escaped unscathed with the exception of six houses in San Mateo. of course, the waterfront is a disaster.

      Like

    CBMarch said:
    August 8, 2016 at 12:10 pm

    Did the hatchling sea turtles make it?

    Like

      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      August 8, 2016 at 12:27 pm

      I just got this from Twisted Palms, where the eggs were nesting: “One sad note: Our turtle eggs were washed away in the storm. We were advised by Holchan Marine Reserve to leave the eggs where they were laid as moving them would cause nearly 100% mortality. Their only chance of surviving was if the storm chose a different path or didn’t gain momentum. Unfortunately, neither of those things happened.”

      Like

    […] along the shoreline were totally destroyed or damaged beyond repair. Here is a link to a photo tour of the devastation reported by Robert J Hawkins the morning […]

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