We were nearly at the crest of the Sir Barry Bowen Bridge this morning when something started going awfully wrong with Moncho 59.
More exactly, the golf cart started going left and right.
On its own.
The steering wheel seemed to suddenly lose all interest in doing its job. Which is a simple one: Keep the front tires going in the right direction.
I eased Monch 59 down the bridge toward San Pedro Town, looking a bit like a tourist after that first stop at the Palapa Bar.
Pulling over at the base of the bridge, a quick inspection showed everything seemed to be in order. The tires were pointed in the right direction. They were adequately inflated. Nothing was dragging on the ground beneath the engine.
Still, the best the old girl could do was wobble past the toll booth and the adjacent hardware store. A tiny piece of real estate between Boca del Rio Hardware and Erica’s produce stand became a safe haven from the traffic.
By now the right front wheel looked — what’s the technical term? — off.
As in almost falling off.
I looked behind the wheel with fresh eyes, that laser-like scrutiny that says “I can fix this if I stare at it long enough and hard enough.”
There was a pivot bolt missing between the two — oh, I can’t lie. I haven’t the slightest idea what they are called. But any idiot, like me, could see the gaping hole that once held something that held it all together.
And it was gone.
Fortunately, Ruben’s mechanic shop was barely a block up the street.
Over the years, Ruben’s guys have rescued me numerous times when tires went flat or essential engine parts went kaflooie.
En route to Ruben’s, I dropped to one knee.
I’m not a terribly religious man. But there was a neatly folded $5 bill in the gutter. (Hey, I’m not proud. I thought it was a $2 bill.)
“Maybe this will work out OK after all,” I told myself.
I’m big on good and bad omens.
After a hearty greeting and an explanation, Ruben pulled Fabiano off the motorcycle he was disassembling and sent him with me.
With a quick look, Fabiano walked four steps into the hardware store, grabbed a couple of different length bolts and secured the two steering rod pieces with a few taps of his wrench on the head of the bolt.
Back in the hardware store, finding a proper nut and washer proved the toughest part of this project.
“Pay him,” said Fabiano.
“Four dollars,” said the store owner.
By the time I got outside, Fabiano had the bolt secure and was tightening several others.
“Twenty five dollars,” said Fabiano as he packed up his tools.
He smiled, shook my hand, and walked the 100 yards back to the shop where the partially disassembled motorcycle and more-interesting challenges awaited him.
Meanwhile, Rose had finished her produce shopping and ad hoc Spanish lesson at Erica’s.
So we headed off for Estel’s and breakfast, barely 20 minutes off our original time. And a mere $15 USD lighter in the pocketbook.
If something has to go bad, I’d recommend it happening just like this.
A craft fair, a Christmas tree lighting, some complimentary pizza pies and Santa Claus kept the Truck Stop packed to capacity with happy people on Saturday.
The Truck Stop has tried hard to be more than a collection of restaurants, a bar and an ice cream shop since opening more than one year ago, north of the bridge on Ambergris Caye. Read the rest of this entry »
I took Moppit for a walk — sprint, actually — up the beach to Ak’Bol Yoga Retreat and Eco Resort this morning. And wow! The over-the-water studio looks magnificent! A temple of tranquility.
Two of my favorite places on the water were decimated by Hurricane Earl — the Palapa Bar and Ak’Bol.
Now both are back! Kirsten Miglio and her husband Dale have been patiently rebuilding and now Kirsten will teach her first yoga session under the new palapa on Sunday!
Here are some photos of our walk toward Ak’Bol on a glorious Saturday morning: Read the rest of this entry »
Hurricane Earl destroyed a lot of livelihoods when it ran down the coast of Ambergris Caye, here in Belize, tearing out piers like stubble on the end of a razor.
At least temporarily.
So many docks have been rebuilt, so many businesses were quickly up and running again within days of the terrible storm.
But none has been more anticipated and welcomed back from its watery grave than the Palapa Bar & Grill on Boca del Rio.
That happened on Sunday. Read the rest of this entry »
Today started out like many another day recently — no breeze and hot, hot, hot.
I know, because I was riding around on my bicycle this afternoon, searching for empty 100-pound flour and rice sacks to use as sandbags. Just a little post-Hurricane Earl recovery project at the Cloisters, where we live. Thank you, Island City. You came through!
I was drenched. And thirsty.
What better time to stop at the newly opened Island Tackle Bar and Grill for a refreshing beer before pedaling home. Island Tackle is the former Tacklebox, an over the water bar of some stature that had been closed down for two years. It was set for a grand opening, the day Earl landed its sucker punch.
It is open now and my longtime pal Rudy was behind the bar,
As I sat on the deck looking out to the reef, a remarkably chilly breeze swept in from behind me. I turned around and saw this. 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 »
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
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
This morning, first light, at The Cloisters, Ambergris Caye, Belize.
There is debris everywhere from docks that were wiped out, up the coast. Ours is gone too.
Looking south, The Palapa Bar is gone too. Read the rest of this entry »