Goff's Caye - Reshaped by Ivan

On Monday night we reported on hurricane Ivan's effects on the islands of Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker. Well, even Caye Caulker which reported major beach loss and pier and vessel damage, seems to have gotten off relatively easy. Personnel of the Coastal Zone Management authority visited Goff's Caye today and found an island, that is constantly being remolded by shifting sands, transformed into a completely different island. The CZMA's Ian Cacho explains:

Ian Cacho - CZMAI Librarian

"The coral reef is now on the island basically the coral that used to break up the waves from affecting directly on island is now on the island itself. It has now formed a wall actually on the back part of Goff's Caye and there is a lot of dead sea fans and a lot of the baby conch are on the island that have died because of hurricane Ivan."

"It must have been some real serious waves because I think the waves actually came all the way to the palapa. There is sediments from the sea in the palapa right now. So its pretty much the whole island is covered with coral and dead sea fans and that type of stuff."

"It's going to be work to get it back to its former state of having a beach and that type of thing. The clean up process will take a good amount of man-hours and a good amount of labour to get it back to the way it was. We still need to look at the impact on the coral reef I mean the coral reef assessment in that we have to go and actually revisit and see what's the effect it had below the water."

Goff's Caye is was a hugely popular tourist destination prior to a 10 dollar head tax being imposed on cruise passengers who land on the island. With the new tax, visitation has dwindled to a trickle and the CZMA which was depending on revenue from the head tax had to downsize it's staff because of lack of finances. The CZMA says it will now have to conduct a clean up of the island and perform studies to ascertain the seriousness of the damages to the island.