Well, we knew it was going to happen someday……and that someday came around midnight the night of August 3, 2016.
We had been watching Invest 97 L and were all hoping it would swing north, away from our beautiful Belize and our home. But instead of turning north it decided to gain strength and hit us head on. The pink X in the picture below shows approximately where we live. (Lisa isn’t the best with graphics.)
We realized on Monday August 1 that this was getting real and we better prepare for the possibility of a category 1 hurricane hitting us.
We stocked up on some provisions: butane for our grill so we could cook all of our fish and lots of water. We have a deep freezer where we keep all of our fish, so we filled up every water bottle we could and froze them. Hoping that would keep our freezer cold through the imminent power outage.
Our condo is constructed to withstand a category 4/5 hurricane so we didn’t need to put up any hurricane shutters.
But, we had to get our boat out of the water so it would be safe. With the help of our team at Grand Caribe we were able to pull our boat out of the water on Tuesday afternoon.
The first attempt at pulling our boat out using an ATV was unsuccessful…..so this happened:
The “big orange machine” was able to pull our boat out and then the tractor pulled the trailer the rest of the way.
Actually, all 4 of the boats at Grand Caribe needed to be removed and that is a tale all in itself. Click here to read how the team at Grand Caribe was able to remove 3 boats from the water without one functional boat trailer!!!!
Once the boat was in a secure place Ronnie strapped the boat to the trailer and covered the windshield with cardboard…anything to keep it safe and secure.
On Wednesday morning we drove into town….SAGA humane society needed safe places for their dogs to go for the storm and we offered to take one or two.
On the drive down to SAGA we saw everyone in town securing their homes and businesses…
We arrived at SAGA to pick up our foster dog around 11:00.
We walked in with Dooley Bear and were introduced to our foster dog – Chunk!
Dooley Bear and Chunk had lots of fun weathering the storm together. Click here to read Dooley Bear’s “tail” about his slumber party with Chunk!
After we got Chunk we stopped and bought two chickens. No, not voodoo chickens to keep Earl away, two rotisserie chickens so we would have food for during and after the storm.
While Ronnie was inside getting the chicken the first wind and rain started…..it was pouring!
We arrived back home around 1:00 and were just waiting and waiting….knowing that Hurricane Earl was on his way.
All afternoon boats were driving south past our home. It was like a parade. They were all headed to the mangroves as that is where most boats are parked during storms to keep them safe.
We knew the power would be going off at some point so we kept our a/c on “freeze”.
Around 3:00 in the afternoon guests from Mata Chica arrived and then around 6:00 guests from Portofino arrived. Grand Caribe is one of the strongest structures on Ambergris Caye so a lot of resorts bring their guests here for safety during storms.
Sometime around 5:00 or 6:00 the waves and wind really started to crash on the shore….
By 7:00 the water was already spraying up through the boards on the dock and deck boards were tearing off.
And, we sill had 5 hours until the storm was to officially hit.
The storm surge approaching…
While we were outside watching the storm come in we felt lots of pressure on our ears…..we never realized that we would actually feel the pressure changes, but we did.
We ate our “last supper” with electricity….you know a storm is coming when there are two flashlights on the table!
It was so eerie as we sat on the couch….the winds got stronger and stronger….and then the electricity flashed a few times and went out for good.
Our bedroom is on the seaside, so we had our shades open and we had a front-row view to the destruction.
As we laid in bed we could hear the waves crashing on the dock and the deck boards cracking and breaking away. The winds and rain were so strong – estimates were that we had 80 mph winds.
Our sliding glass door in our bedroom faces north and that is the direction the storm came in from. The door was actually pushing in and water was coming into our room. Creating a small river in our bedroom.
We looked out the window around 2:00 to see parts of our boat dock floating away.
Daylight came around 5:00…..and we were so relieved. That was the longest night…..
When we looked out the window in the morning, this is what we saw:
The boat dock was completely decimated.
Most of it ended up on our beach.
Behind our building, there was a gate that used to be located on a boat dock north of us.
That gate was so heavy that Lisa could barely lift up a corner. The waves and storm surge went all around our building. It’s amazing to think how strong the waves and surge were to deliver that gate to it’s resting place.
We saw this guy holding on to a palm tree….he was also relieved the storm was over!
We immediately walked to where our boat was to check on it…..thankfully our boat and all of the other boats were not damaged.
We were very lucky since several sheets of glass flew off of the roof of the Rain Restaurant and crashed on the ground nearby.
Just a few hours after sunrise, the cleanup had already begun.
It was initiated by the few employees that were on site that morning and the guests and owners.
It was so amazing to see everyone helping with the cleanup.
These two sweet children also helped with the cleanup:
By around 11:00 a lot of the debris had already been cleaned up and Hosea from the beach bar brought everyone rum punch!
Dooley Bear and Chunk were enjoying the show from the shade of a palm tree.
While cleaning up debris around Grand Caribe Lisa uncovered this Life is Good paddle:
Because that says it all.
Life is good – everything else can be repaired and replaced.
Lisa claims it was the scariest night of her life, but Ronnie said that getting arrested is worse.
As Mark Mulligan sings:
We all wanna live where the hurricane blows,
Except when the hurricane blows
Our first hurricane was definitely an eye-opening experience.
We are so thankful that no lives were lost to Hurricane Earl but are saddened by all of the destruction. Hurricane Earl took over 85% of the boat docks with him as well as several of our friends’ businesses.
Earl you suck.
You may have destroyed materials, but you definitely didn’t destroy our spirit.