This is a little update from the quiet fishing village
of Caye Caulker. Today, we awoke to rainy and
overcast weather. The sky for as far as the eye could
see looms ominous and dark. The sun has poked its
head out every now and then, but for the most part,
its been dreary and overcast. The breeze is now
blowing fully from the north, and the windspeed is
starting to pick up a bit. The tide has also started
to creep up, and the sea level is now just a few
inches shy of the tops of the piers out in front.
There is a little wave action that is starting to pick
up, but nothing horrendous yet. Small rolling waves
(locally known as "recaladas") are now starting to
roll in. Seeing as the last advisory stated that
tropical storm winds extend outward for 200 miles from
the eye, we are in for a LONGISH haul.


I watched my last two sisters leave on the boat with
their friends just a few minutes ago. This will be
the last evacuation boat and it finally hit me that I
was not on it. But I am not alone. My active and
strong 2 month old son, Blayd, is here with me for
company, as well as Tina’s upstairs tenant and good
friend, Jim Spence, who has also chosen to remain on
the island. I am comforted knowing that he lives
upstairs and in the case of any emergency, I can call
on him.


The evacuation started yesterday, with boats leaving
the island every hour, as opposed to every two hours
which is the normal schedule. Most people that I know
of left the island yesterday. Boats licensed to carry
35 passengers were leaving with 46 passengers as they
were using every available boat to ferry people out
and still they were not enough. I put my three girls
on the noon water taxi to the mainland where they were
met by their father and taken inland. I felt much
better knowing that they were on solid ground.


I suppose many of the islanders that left think of me
as some kind of weirdo for staying. However, the
memory of Hurricane Keith is still fresh in THEIR
minds. I was not here for Hurricane Keith, which is
perhaps the very reason I chose to remain here on the
island. You see, I did not experience the
gut-wrenching fear that the other locals who chose to
evacuate today felt last year, which is perhaps the
reason for my foolish choice to stick it out.
Regardless, the last evacuation boat has already
rolled away and here we are, Blayd and I, for better
or for worse.


Today should have been the first day of school for
Belize City high schools. A call to SJC today gave
the response that “school will be closed until further
notice.”


I sit back and think of the threat of Hurricane Mitch
a few years back, and remembered how Mitch looming in
the neighborhood paralyzed the country of Belize for
an entire week. This week, too, has me thinking that
come what comes, the country is once again paralyzed
out of fear, perhaps for the very same length of time,
effectively stopping the economy of Belize. All
businesses are closed today. Banks will be open for
a few hours only, until 11:00 a.m., and then will
close for the day.


What should be a bustling tourist time (August ­ the
Italian season), saw everyone leaving the island in
droves yesterday. My friend Salvatori, owner of the
Spagheteria Italiana here on CC, had this to say
yesterday: “Everyone is leaving. It’s so sad.
Because I wonder if anybody will ever come back. By
the time this goes away, the high summer season will
be over.” I’m sure he muttered the sentiments of many
business owners with those words.


I also feel for San Pedro, whose annual Costa Maya
Festival (AKA Sea and Air Festival) was scheduled for
this weekend. The opening night was Thursday, in
which Miss Guatemala won the title of Miss Costa Maya.
(My beautiful and talented sister, Tina, was the
co-emcee, by the way). Friday night should have had
Laura Leon (famous Spanish TV personality of Dos
Mujeres, Un Camino) in a concert. This also happened.
Yesterday, the festivities were called off,
effectively dousing the flames on a festival that was
one year in the planning and making.


The cable TV station here on CC has gone off the air.
I know not why, as the winds are not yet very strong.
And we still have electricity. No more “Weather
Channel” updates. Whatever.


I will be making periodic update from La Isla Carinosa
as the circumstances permit. At it stands, things are
still good. Let’s hope they stay that way. I just
fixed the last roof leak spurned by Hurricane Keith
close to a year ago just one week ago. Many people,
like myself, are just finishing repairs to hurricane
damaged property and it hurts to be facing such a
threat again.


Those are my thoughts for today.


Cheers,
Wendy