This is Belize: Last sunrise of 2016, first sunset of 2017 and stuff in between — some fake, some real
The last sunrise on Ambergris Caye for 2016 was a real beauty. A diaphanous gold, like spun cotton candy, filled the air out to the reef as an early morning sun shower cleansed us, washed away this most unusual year.
Happy New Year to you all! May your every dream find its path to fulfillment in 2017.
Thanks to the recent addition of Moppit to the household, sunrises are becoming a daily thing. In pre-Moppit days, I would awaken at a civilized hour and think, “Wow. That must have been a nice sunrise. Maybe tomorrow.” Read the rest of this entry »
Yesterday morning I answered the San Pedro Food Bank’s call for volunteers to help sort donated clothing for distribution to Hurricane Earl victims.
By the time I got to the Lion’s Den in San Pedro, shortly after 9 a.m., the sorting process was well under way.
This is a pretty experienced group. Only a bit more than a month ago, 88 San Pedranos, businesses and property owners were left homeless by a downtown fire and the local Red Cross, Lions Club and Food Bank seemed to click together in bringing relief to fire victims. Including clothing distribution.
Now they were doing it all over again.
Fortunately, the overwhelming response to the fire left the local service groups with plenty of boxes and bags of clothing donations that never got sorted and distributed — and frankly didn’t need to. They were ready and waiting for Hurricane Earl’s victims. Which is why the Food Bank was urging only donations of non-perishable food and bedding this time. (Still needed, by the way.)
The Food Bank’s Brittney O’Daniel is spearheading an effort to raise $20,000 for lumber, zinc (roofing), nails etc. to rebuild homes of 49 families in San Mateo “half-destroyed” by Hurricane Earl. Read about it here.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, as we sorted out clothing for hurricane victims — and the many fire victims who are still trying to recover — a second gathering was taking place in the Lion’s Den.
The funds raised for the Middle Street fire victims were about to be distributed by the Red Cross, Lions Club, National Emergency Management Organization and San Pedro officials.
But not without some drama. Read the rest of this entry »
When almost an entire block on Middle Street in San Pedro went up in flames in June — leaving 66 people homeless and a number of businesses crippled or wiped out — the whole world responded with unconditional generosity.
Certainly the whole of Ambergris Caye did.
Scores of volunteers stepped in to help clear away debris. They didn’t ask which rubble belonged to homes and which to businesses. The amount of clothing and food donated could be calculated in tonnage and by the size of the hearts of the people on Ambergris Caye.
The San Pedro Food Bank is looking for volunteers to help
sort and distribute clothing to Hurricane Earl victims!
Report to the Lions Den, downtown San Pedro,
at 9 a.m. on Tuesday.
Barges and planes brought in even more aid from the mainland.
A significant amount of cash was raised in numerous and imaginative ways. Nobody designated their dollars to go to specific people or businesses.
People just gave — time, money, food, clothing, shelter.
Hurricane Earl is different.
Or it seems that way. Read the rest of this entry »
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As many as 400 San Pedro residents sought refuge in the town’s three shelters during the Category 1 hurricane Earl, Tourism Minister Manuel Heredia Jr. told Channel 7 News Belize.
The minister, who also serves as San Pedro’s NEMO chairman, added that there were “about 6 homes that were totally destroyed and another 3 or 4 that were extensively damaged.”
Heredia told Channel 7 that the “obvious” damage was seaside where “practically 90% of the piers are either gone or extensively damaged. The dive shops, likewise, I would believe that it’s only two or three that are standing, but not in a very good shape also. Beach erosion was terrible over here.”
7News also reports that some northern resorts, including Costa Blue, X’tan Ha and Saphire Beach have closed temporarily for repairs.
Ministry of Agriculture puts Earl losses at $100 million
Earl’s toll on Belize’s economy is over $100 million, Jose Alpuche, Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture, told Amandala today.
“What we have right now indicates $100 million worth of damage, because when we factor in the main affected subsectors – bananas, corn, and vegetables—corn, as I had said, was in the region of $49 million worth of losses, bananas will probably be within the region of about $40 million, and the rest takes us over $100 million in damages,” Alpuche said.
Tropic Air offers 50% off domestic fares through August 14
Tropic Air has responded to the aftermath of Hurricane Earl by cutting airfares in half because ” it was important to us that we make sure people can get where they need to go quickly in order to rebuild,” said John Greif III, president of the regional airline.
The offer will last through Aug. 14 and includes flights to all Belize destinations, except Belize International Airport.
“The task of rebuilding has already started in earnest, and we are eager to support this effort,” according to a Tropic Air press statement.
“We needed to do our part,” added Greif.
The discount can be applied to travel booked online at tropicair.com using promotional code: D50AUG. Tickets can also be booked at any of Tropic Air terminal or through the reservations department at 226-2012/2626 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Tropic Air travels within Belize to Belize City Municipal, San Ignacio, Belmopan, Corozal, Caye Caulker, Dangriga, Placencia, Punta Gorda and San Pedro.
At last, a view of damages from up north
San Pedro Scoop Blogger Rebecca Coutant has posted a report and pictures of Hurricane Earl’s damage, starting at X’tan Ha Resort and traveling to points south.
As we feared, the damage up north mirrors what we have experienced in San Pedro.
“X’tan Ha Resort, her dock, dive shop, bar and beach took a beating,” reports Rebecca. Additionally, where possible, she has added “before” photos of some of the damaged docks, palapas and resort properties.
As a bonus, Rebecca was able to photograph the swollen rivers on the mainland when she flew home from San Ignacio. She had been evacuated from the Chiquibil Forest Natural Reserve ahead of the hurricane, but was forced to sit out the storm in San Ignacio.
An Ambergris Caye classic lost to the storm: Turtleman’s House
Rosemary Ingram Smith reports that on North Ambergris Caye, the Turtleman’s House — an over-the-water cabin that was the subject of many paintings and photographs over the decades — was lost to Hurricane Earl.
“Having a structure over the water in a hurricane area means that you have to accept the loss when it occurs,” she notes.
For the post on the Turtleman’s House and more background, see Rosemary’s Facebook post here.
Earl left a mess along the seacoast of Ambergris Caye.
You probably already know that.
Mercifully it seemed uninterested in the rest of this long and narrow island.
But the coast…. It moved down the coast at 75-plus miles an hour and shaved off nearly every pier, like a razor carving bristles off a man’s jaw. Read the rest of this entry »
This coast was, until, Wednesday night, jammed with piers and boats and businesses. Not a single dock, commercial or private, on the 24-miles island escaped Hurricane Earl unscathed.
Photos from various numerous island sources and residents:
- More photos from the Tres Cocos neighborhood south to Caribbean Villas can be seen here.
- Rebecca Coutant of San Pedro Scoop has images from San Ignacio to Caye Caulker to San Pedro here.
- More than 30 pictures of Earl’s devastation from San Pedro Sun’s publisher Tamara Sniffln
- More photos of San Pedro: From Rachel Brock
- Continuing news coverage from San Pedro Sun, including photos from Caye Caulker
- A set of 20-plus photos from Thursday morning by Heidi Simmons shows the scope of waterfront damage
- Ambergris Today: Coastal devastation on Ambergris Caye by Hurricane Earl, islanders rebuild
When you think of the electrical infrastructure that supplies Ambergris Caye with power, the mind travels back to Christmas.
Not last Christmas when the power went out for five hours.
Further back — let’s say 25 years ago because that is when the current power infrastructure for Ambergris Caye was designed –to a time when Dad was stringing lights on the tree and a single bulb went out. Well, it might have been a single bulb. You didn’t know because the entire string of lights went out.
This is Belize Electric Ltd. today. Read the rest of this entry »
After an especially eventful week on Ambergris Caye, with the San Pedro LobsterFest, the weeklong feast of Saint Peter, a huge downtown fire, and a firetruck getting stuck in sand responding to another fire, what’s a bunch of blokes to do but grab a boat and cruise on over to the Caye Caulker LobsterFest on Sunday morning.
When you’ve got to get away, Caye Caulker is the place.
Yes, that does sound odd, when you live on a tropical island that thousands of people have marked on their calendars as their dream get-away spot. Even Paradise gets to be too much after a while.
So, Caye Caulker. A smaller, quieter, less-dirty version of Paradise. Read the rest of this entry »
As small an island as Caye Caulker is, there is always something — or someone — new to be discovered.
Like the kids in the picture above. I have never seen kids have more fun in four inches of water. I’d take a picture and then the kids would all run over to see themselves on the screen. Then I’d take another picture and they’d all run behind the camera to see themselves. Then I’d take another picture . . . . you get the idea.
We could have kept this up all day. Read the rest of this entry »
There are so many great things to do here on Ambergris Caye and I don’t think picking up other people’s trash is high up on anyone’s list.
And yet, many of us do find ourselves doing exactly that from time to time.
I’ve written so often about the First Friday Tres Cocos Trash Pick-up group that you might think that’s all I do. Truth is, I am quite fond of this bunch. They are neighbors and friends and island visitors who willingly give up some time to make the first stretch north of the Sir Barry Bowen Bridge look nice, for a day or two.
It doesn’t last but we keep coming out swinging . . . swinging out trash sticks and garbage bags. Read the rest of this entry »