The Deputy Prime Minister is asking that Tourists follow through with their plans to visit the country.
It would be a good idea for hotels, airlines, and tour companies to contact their guests and inform them that the damages are and that they should follow through with their travel plans.
For a great synopsis of the geologic changes from Mitch, by the Wichita State Geology Department, CLICK HERE. They and their fearless leader, the Honorable Dr. Sal Mazzullo, are frequent visitors to our shores, and Bless his dang heart! as Ginny would say....
Click here for a story by George Parham J.P., on what is was like for him and his wife and friends during the storm...
Here's my favorite quote from the storm, from Jesse at Sunrise Realty:
"Imagine being blindfolded and put in front of a firing squad... then hearing the command 'Ready, Aim,... then waiting the next several days and nites for the - Fire'."
Also definitely stay at the SunBreeze and eat a couple of times at Rasta Pasta (and catch the great reggae band at happy hour featuring one of the owners, Al). The SunBreeze was great, clean and had the best location and grounds of any place we saw. The pool was also welcome since there really isn't much of a beach nearby. You'll be very happy if you choose the SunBreeze.
Snorkeling is good all along the reef and barbecuing fish and lobsters the guide speared was one of the trip's highlights.
Speaking of reefs, we really enjoyed eating at The Reef Restaurant on Middle Street -- great seafood and very reasonable. Ask Candyman, the owner, to meet Mookie, his pet coati (a central American raccoon). Bring Mookie a papaya and he'll be your friend for life. If you do stop by the big fruit stand on Middle Street close to the airport try a sapadilly (sp?). They are an aphrodisiac. No lie.
My girlfriend and I just returned from Belize and it is everything we had hoped and more. Belize is the Yin and Yang of vacation spots -- you can do quasi-adventure in the rainforest then three hours later slip into the whole beach/diving scene -- all on the same vacation.
Definitely stay at DuPlooy's near San Ignacio. Its beautiful and the coconut pie is not to be missed! A one day trip to
Tikal is completely worthwhile. Getting there -- about 2.5 hours -- is half the fun. Chetum-ha cave with its Mayan
pottery and altar is remote and great and don't forget to walk down and stand under the 150 foot waterfall after
seeing the cave.
Overall, work on Ambergris Caye repairing damaged docks and dockside structures is well advanced and visitors who've never been here before will barely know that 4 weeks ago almost all docks were lost. Many of the beaches have even had more sand deposited, though all places with seawalls have lost sand BEHIND the seawall - in some cases down to the limestone bedrock. I hope this message is being received loud and clear: seawall ultimately causes greater erosion. The greatest damage in the town of San Pedro was in the Boca del Rio area, where mangroves had been (illegally) cut down by the Town Board a couple of years ago to build a childrens' play park on the seaward side of the south bank of the river. Once again the seawall had been ripped away and the park was still under water last week. The sea rushed over through the streets and houses to the lagoon behind and there is still a great deal of debris in this area. Another lesson to be learned about how valuable mangroves are in their shoreline protection role.
Last Sunday (15th) was a gorgeous sunny day so I set off on bicycle from San Pedro town to see how far north I could reach. I was expecting to get to Capricorn, but in fact managed to get all the way to Mata Chica. The road was quite clear to Capricorn and on the way I stopped in to visit Mary Ellen at Sweet Basil. It's a lovely place and well worth the short walk or ride from the ferry, and there are no signs of damage here. Capricorn Resort and Restaurant suffered no strutural damage and Clarence and Annabel are doing still producing wonderful meals: you'll almost certainly need reservations for dinner.
At Journey's End I spoke to manager Jim Scott [not sure of spelling as I don't have have his card in front of me]. This resort was without doubt badly hit by the storm surge due the the break in the reef immediately in front. And it was the only hotel to atually lose a room - one sea-front cabin on the north side was so badly damaged that it had to be removed. The waves rushed right over the caye at this point, reaching the lagoon and depositing tons of sand in the swimming pool. However, Jim and the crew are working very hard to get things up and running and all the cabins are being restored and redecorated. The pool was almost clear when I visited and when Jim said he'd have many rooms ready by next week [today in fact] I was sure he would be able to accomplish it. The seawall long and wooden boardwalk have completely gone and will not be replaced. Jim knows you can't defeat nature and the result will be a fine beach, created from the huge amount of exta sand sand which was pushed up the beach. This means that the previously harsh, sharp angles of the seafront will become graceful sandy curves, improving the appearance of Journey's End. One bonus is that the avenue of palms which greeted visitors on arrival at the dock survived the storm, so when you do go you'll get a good first impression. And by now the first rooms and cabins will be open. well done Jim and everyone. When I got to Mata Chica I found their dock had susatained only slight damage and the cabanas were full. After all they aren't the best designed and best run beach cabanas in the country for nothing.
Lan, have to go now as I got talking to some Rough Guide readers staying here - now getting late for my St George's Caye trip. To sum up: there's no reason for anyone to cancel any trip to any part of Belize. All businesses are up and running and eager to welcome visitors. I've even managed to get a piece about Mitch in the next edition of the Belize guide while it's in press, so Rough Guides are as up to date as ever. When I get back I'll do a bit more - Caye Caulker, Hopkins etc. But first and foremost I'll restate that Belize reamins a beautiful place to visit.
So email or call the Lions Club if you would like to make a donation.
The president of the Lion's Club Ruben Gonzalez can be contacted at the San Pedro Town Board at tel #: 011-501-226-2198 e-mail is [email protected].
As soon as the salt has been washed away by rain, the process of replant- ing grass will commence. The town board has offered to re-plant the fallen coconut trees and our plan of action includes rebuilding the mound by the sea using the same seaweed that drifts upon the beach. Hopefully we can stop the traffic on the beach so that we can do our own landscaping. Our Environ- mental Club now has a giant yet noble task in its hands. It will take a while but soon Mitch Field will be the place for more goals and more home runs. Any help will be appreciated. We will need grass seed or patches of grass. Flowers of any type and plants includ- ing coconuts are also welcome.
The SunBreeze Hotel lost the pier and sustained damages to the seawall and dive shop. We are please to advise you that we have been fully operational since Sunday November 1st, 1998. From Friday those of us who stayed on Ambergris Caye started the clean up of the beach area and I am pleased to inform you that 90% of the businesses are opened. As I write the hotel pier is being rebuilt and within a couple of weeks, I wonder who would notice the difference.
Having had divers out from Wednesday, so far the feed back from our first time visitors is that the reef is still beautiful but one can see that corals have broken off and is dead. Officially, I have not heard of any damage accessement of the reef. I hope that this will give you peace of mind and reassurance that it is safe for you to come to our Isla Bonita.
We look forward to welcoming you soon.
Yours sincerely, Julia Edwards, General Manager
and of Caye Caulker at:
There are a dozen pics on this page, so give it a minute to load...
Each of the Caye Caulker pics can be clicked on to get a larger version...
Fortunately, most of this has been cleaned up, its amazing how quick things get back to normal...
We did lose a cabana on the waterfront, however turning a loss into something positive JER will now build a 2 bedroom cabana suite facing the Caribbean! As if this wasn't enough, prior to the hurricane JER had planned on tearing down the existing dive shop and replace it with a larger shop. Plans to demolish the building were scheduled to begin shortly, but once again Hurricane Mitch helped us by washing it away! We don't have to tear it down now! Our employees had the forethought to empty the shop out prior to Mitch and all equipment, etc was saved. Using another building on the property until the new shop is completed we contemplate absolutely no disruption in our dive operations.
Journey's End plans on being fully operational to meet the near capacity status for the Thanksgiving holiday guests.
Hotel del Rio, 11/12
We are up and running. Our first guest arrived today. A gentleman from England that landed a day early. The taxi drivers are servicing up to One Of Us bar about 100 meters from us. Golf carts are riding in front and I ride my bike to town from here. Cabana Grande, Cabana Chica and Casa Blanca are all fine. We are oiling wood daily and bringing back the shine. The dock and beach are no more but posts in the sea and our cement wall is there and we are filling it up to cover with beautiful Mitch sand and there aint nutin but sand, sand, sand. Everyone is just moving it around. Like sand painting.
Saw Melanie from Amigos Del Mar operating in a street office.Setting up diving for tomorrow and they saved all their equipment and plan to rebuild entire operation better.
The atmosphere is great and everyone feels the excitement of survival and willingness of people working together for a purpose.
Aside from that, it has just been a matter of removing and relocating the considerable amount of sand that had been brought inland (up to 45 feet from the shoreline) by the wave action. We also had a fair bit of seaweed and other debris to remove. Some treasure was even washed up in the form of antique bottles.
Like a number of other properties on the island we actually have a better beach area despite the initial loss of footage. This thanks to all the fine white sand deposited by Mother Nature.
Dock re-building will commece early next week, in the interum we have use of a very nice, new dock which weathered the storm very well. This dock is located just two houses to the south of us.
According to current guests and our guides who have been out fishing and snorkeling, conditions are very good and there is a great abundance and variety of marine life out there.
In short, thanks to good fortune and hard work by all of our staff, we are fully operational and looking forward to a busy and interesting season.
All the Best,
Janet, Brent and all the staff at Victoria House
We did three dives at Lighthouse Reef: The Blue Hole, Cathedral at Long Caye Wall and West Point 1 just North of Finger Cut. All of these dives are in sheltered leeward waters.
Cathedral and the Blue Hole were completely unaffected by the storm. We saw 4 blacktip sharks on the Blue Hole dive, viz. was 80ft which is normal, and there were no unusual layers of poor viz. during the descent. I snorkeled the whole circumference of the Blue Hole and could see no damage to the pristine reef that surrounds the Hole. All of the normal fish and invertebrate species were there in abundance, and all corals and sponges, no matter how delicate, looked healthy.
Cathedral which is located on Long Caye Wall at the Southern edge of Lighthouse Reef was completely unaffected by the storm. The whole of Long Caye Wall was unaffected by the storm according to reports from liveaboard vessels that had dived the other sites there.
We did not dive Half Moon Wall, but we should get a report from there in the next few days. This wall was on the windward side of the waves, so we certainly expect to hear of some damage to the reef there, especially to some of the more delicate sponges. Having said that, let's wait and see, my own opinion is that we can expect pristine diving at Half Moon Caye Wall despite the storm simply because the reefs there are so massive and well developed.
For lovers of nature I'm glad to report that Half Moon Caye looks absolutely fantastic after the storm. A group of volunteers have been cleaning the island up for the past week and a half, and they have done a great job. During the storm, waves from Mitch completely covered the island, and there is clear evidence of this wherever one walks. Some trees fell down, and some of the bushes were "shocked" into dropping their leaves. They are all alive and well, and will regrow. Most of the bush and trees were unaffected by the storm.
The best news of all is that the bird sanctuary with its 4000 Red Footed Booby Birds is completely intact. The Frigate Birds and Booby Birds were fighting amongst each other as usual, and the sounds and sights at the sanctuary towards the end of day were completely normal. The hermit crabs were out in abundance and iguanas were still trying (unsucessfully as usual) not to be noticed lying stock still in tree branches.
The bird sanctuary is on the West side of the island. To the East where there is less natural vegetation there were some interesting topographical changes. The South-East beach has shrunk and the North-East beach has expanded so much that a brand new dock that was constructed a month ago is now sitting almost entirely in dry sand. A lot of shells and rocks were dumped onto the Southern beach, and there is now a brand new island about 100 x 100ft in size which some folk have christened "Half Mitch Caye."
In summmary, visitors to Belize can still expect some of the best diving
and snorkeling in the world. Nature lovers visiting Half Moon Caye as
part of their diving and snorkeling adventure can still expect to see
one of the most beautiful and romantic places on Earth.
GO! HAVE FUN!
There was no hardship of any kind which we could discern, and the diving was great. Food, service, access, you name it, no problem.
Special thanks to Justin, Russell, Robbie, et al at the dive shop at Yacht Club- their building may be gone, but the service cannot
Regards... Spike Cutler
Between 30-60ft the reef has been bleached a beige-white colour. Many (but by no means all) of the larger sponges and elkhorn corals at this depth were damaged or destroyed, but most everything else is in good health despite being bleached. The normal colours will return soon, and, in fact, the beached corals have already started to gain their normal colours. It is important to note that when healthy coral is suddenly shocked into bleaching as has occured here, it will quickly regain its original colour. It is generally known that coral takes a long time to grow, but the good news here is that the damage below 40ft on hard corals was surprisingly light.
Ambergris Caye dive sites are well known for the huge coral canyons which start at 50-60ft and go down to 100-130ft. The force of the surge experienced during the storm has filled some of the canyons with 10-15ft of sand, while scouring others out 10-15ft deeper. The canyons look beautifully clean, again, the algae is much reduced on the corals surrounding the canyons. Dive shops report seeing plenty of larger fish, rays, barracuda, grouper and the ocassional turtle and shark. One report I received said that there were less of the very tiny (home aquarium sized) fish on the canyon tops, but this report was from a dive made 3 days ago.
Diving activities off Ambergris Caye, with the exception of Hol Chan Marine Park (which we will deal with below) generally start between 40-60ft and go down to 120ft. This means that 90% of the diving is realatively unaffected, apart from the curiously beautiful and temporary bleaching effect.
One of our best known dive sites has been drastically altered. The Amigos Wreck, an old barge delberately sunk 2 years ago in 80ft of water between two coral spurs, was picked up and wedged tight between the spurs. On its journey up into the canyon, it did scrape considerable amounts of coral from the sides of the spurs. Happily, the wreck did settle down again and the nurse sharks and grouper that made it famous are returning. There is a lot of sand piled up on each side of the wreck, and it can no longer be penetrated along its length, but with the prime reason for diving it being divers interacting with nurse sharks and grouper (both friendly, I might add), we can be optimistic that it will still provide a great dive for everyone who visits it.
Glad to say that the damage at Hol Chan is pretty minimal. There are less sponges and sea fans, but other species of coral fared very well. Just about all of the green algae (which is harmful to coral) is gone, and the reef looks clean and fresh. The healthy hard corals have been bleached a white/beige in places, but the pigment is returning fast and there are many coral heads that are well on the way to recovering all of their normal colours. There are TONS of fish at Hol Chan, as always. Just about all the "regulars" such as the green parrotfish and moray eels are back in their homes, none the worse for wear.
Pillar Corals at the shallow levels did get some heavy damage, and a lot of healthy corals and sponges were lost as deep as 45ft-50ft.
Shark Ray Alley, which is famous for Nurse Sharks and Southern Stingrays, received a good clean out from the storm, and looks better than ever! The sharks and rays are back, and as friendly as ever.
In summary, what Mother Nature did to the reef can be likened to one of us going to the dental hygeneist for a good cleanout. Belize has had storms before, and the effects have been the same. We are VERY lucky to have our Barrier Reef. There is no doubt that it saved our island, so it will be more important than ever to protect it, as it protected us.
Half Moon Caye (the bird Sanctuary at Lighthouse Reef) was relatively undamaged and I am VERY happy and relieved to report that, according to the Belize Audubon Society, damage was light. We will help with the clean up there tomorrow evening.
All the Best from Belize
Everything is fine, a few landscaping plants have been removed, and the Captain Morgan's pier had to be removed from the premises, but its been almost a week of cleanup and its amazing how things get back to normal.
It started at Mayan Princess. Don Fred Alamilla and Pany picked us up in his Wayward boat at Fido's dock "at least what is left of it".
We took off around 9:30 in the morning and headed straight north "inside" the reef. It took us about twenty five minutes to get to the Basil Jones "cut". By the way, the dock that was there is now drift wood.
The day was just like today, beautiful and perfect for the occasion. While outside Don Fredito prepared two rods and reels with bait and handed one to Doc. Our first barracuda hit just ten minutes into our trolling. The second one hit just as we were getting to Rocky Point.
The Basil Jones and Robles areas are now a white stretch of sandy beach since the waves have washed away the debris and plastic bottles that had accumulated in those areas for the last ten years. I have never seen the beaches in those areas quite so clean and bleached white. It looks so clean.
We continued trolling until we came through the small cut past "Rocky Point". The water was just amazingly crystal clear. We saw schools of mullets running wild. Some fishermen had just rebuilt a fish trap to take advantage of the fish run.
After we got to Doc's property we unloaded the cooler and Don Fredito prepared the fish for B-B-Quing while we walked the entire 4000 feet stretch of beach at Rocky Point. Absolutely Zero erosion there. The waves cleaned the beach and the width of his beach is now cleaned seventy feet back from the shore.
After an exhausting walk, we prepared a table with some drift wood. While we sat down to rest Don Fredito served us his delicious fish B-B-Q with potato salad, rice and beans with coconut milk and of course a cold "belikin" beer.
After a full lunch and stomach, we decided to go back and snorkel at Mexico Rocks. Doc and his wife went into the water. The water was, say about 80 degrees. He was astonished to see the schools of fish there. Not the usual small reef fish but big groupers and dog teeth snappers.
While in the water Doc pointed to Don Fredito at two groupers. I stayed on board with Don Fredito and we could see this dark spot moving around the boat. He prepared his line and hooked a small fish for bait and then tossed it towards the grouper. Don Fredito made several attempts towards the grouper. Until one instance, we saw this dark spot dart towards the bait and then you could hear the reel dragging and Don Fredito almost moaning and holding the reel straight upwards. We could hear Doc in the water shouting, "he's got it!! he's got it!!". After a couple of minutes fighting this grouper, we manged to put it on board(well, that's another storey). It was a 50 pound grouper.
Mexico Rocks was definitely the highlight of our trip. Everyone got on board after that and we decided to call it a perfect day.
Real estate looks good and the fish are biting. What else??
So we invite everyone to come and visit us and if you want to experience a trip like this contact Don Fredito Alamilla.
On Ambergris Caye, most hotels were undamaged, though many piers were washed away by heavy waves. Most hotels and restaurants have now reopened for business. While some beaches suffered erosion, others got new sand. Caye Caulker fared slightly worse. Flooding and wave action damaged some seafront buildings, destroyed piers and left mounds of debris, but no loss of life or significant property damage was reported.
Full reports from Belize's hundreds of remote cayes are not yet available, but most islands apparently had only minor to moderate impacts. Belizeans gave thanks to the barrier reef just offshore, which reduced the wave action on island and mainland shores. They have been quick to offer what aid they could to their neighbors in hard-hit areas of Central America.
The barrier reef and its coral appear to have withstood the storm with only very limited damage. Fishing and diving are getting back to normal.
International airlines serving Belize, including TACA, American and Continental, and Belize commuter airlines Maya Island Air and Tropic Air, have resumed service.
Mitch mostly spared Belize. No lives were reported lost in Belize, and property damage was light. The main result was the loss of docks and piers due to high waves, along with some beach erosion. Light to moderate flooding occurred inland around rivers and lagoons, due to moderate to heavy rains. Along the coast and on the cayes, damage was mostly a result of high waves rather than wind.
The barrier reef protected Belize, and the reef itself seemed to come through with only minor damage, according to reports from divers. There was not much coral damage, but a good deal of pigmentation was released. Water visibility is back to normal or near-normal in most areas -- it was reported at 75 feet or greater off Ambergris Caye on November 6 -- and there seems to be an increase in the number and variety of fish.
Travelers to Belize should expect nearly zero problems as a result of Mitch. Only a few hotels received any significant damage, and almost all properties are now back open and operating as usual. Water activity operators and dive shops will require more time to get back to normal operation, but most said they were hoping to be ready by Thanksgiving. Hotel operators reported a few cancellations for early November, but few for later in the month and none at all for December. Christmas holiday bookings in Belize are unusually strong in most areas.
Here, from reports from correspondents and hotel operators in Belize, is a round-up of how various areas of Belize fared:
Many of the piers on the island were washed away or heavily damaged, including those at SunBreeze, Belize Yacht Club, Victoria House, Paradise Villas, Casa Caribe, Fido's and others. Most of these are being repaired or rebuilt. The town council may move now to restrict the number of docks which may be built. Only a few mature palm trees on the island were lost. Two pine trees at the park near the town library fell over. Some of North Ambergris Caye benefited from Mitch due to waves which removed accumulated debris and deposited new sand, making the beaches wider and cleaner than in a long time. A few hotels on the North end had significant water damage to some units, including Journey's End, but needed repairs are being made quickly. While many dive shops had their offices damaged or destroyed, everyone managed to remove their equipment, so they should be back in operation quickly.
Caulker fared slightly worse than Ambergris Caye, with most piers lost and some damage to low-lying seafront buildings. Much debris was deposited along the seafront, and clean-up may take several weeks. However, no hotels or restaurants were damaged, and shortly the island should be back to normal. The illegal cutting of mangroves around the island may have contributed to some of the damage. The island was out of power and telephone service for several days.
Other Offshore Cayes:
South Water Caye reported minimal damage to buildings. Long Caye was hit fairly hard by the storm, and Slickrock Adventures is having to rebuild many of its caba÷as (most are expected to be ready by December). However, the storm added considerable new sand giving Long Caye nicer beach areas. Lighthouse Reef Resort reported some seawall damage and beach erosion and the loss of a few palms, but no structural damage to buildings, with the resort open for business around November 7. Manta Reef Lodge reportedly had some damage, with guests possibly being sent to its sister lodge on Blackbird Caye. The new Smithsonian Institute facility at Carrie Bow Caye was not damaged and construction continues.
Corozal Town and surrounding areas reported no flooding or other damage. Even seafront hotels such as Tony's were not damaged.
Tens of thousands of Belize City residents evacuated, with the government providing free bus transportation to the west. Some looting occurred in the city during the evacuation, but looters were dealt with promptly by police. There was limited flooding, mainly on the North Side, but no major damage. Parts of the Northern Highway between Haulover Bridge and Bella Vista flooded and briefly were closed to car traffic
Unusually high tides prompted some coastal flooding, but no major damage was reported.
Some flooding of roads and bridges occurred, and a lot of debris was deposited on beaches. There was some beach erosion at Jaguar Reef Lodge and elsewhere, but the light damage is quickly being repaired. One private dock was lost, and the Over the Waves restaurant sustained damage and is temporarily closed. All local hotels are now operating normally.
The road from Riversdale down the peninsula was flooded, and in early November the muddy condition of the road made it difficult for vehicles to travel. There was some beach erosion up to about 15 feet from the shore, with a considerable amount of seaweed and debris deposited on the beaches temporarily. No hotel received any significant damage, though a few piers were damaged. All hotels are now operating normally. Off the coast, Laughing Bird Caye reportedly was split by wave action into two cayes. Hatchet Caye suffered a good deal of damage, one of the Silk Cayes has disappeared and there was light damage to Ranguana and Little Water Cayes.
The Southern Highway flooded one day, but repairs were quickly made, and there was no major damage.
Rivers and lagoons reached high levels due to fairly heavy rains, and some roads and bridges were temporarily flooded in Cayo. Power and telephone service remained on for nearly everyone. Few power poles were damaged and apart from a short period when the Roaring Creek bridge was under water, traffic along the Western Highway was not disrupted. Reports are that there was some minor damage to agriculture crops but all in all inland areas fared well without any of the major damage in Honduras and Nicaragua. There are rumors are that some internationally owned banana operations in Honduras, now destroyed, are looking at expanding operations in Belize and Costa Rica. Bush areas of Cayo, the Mountain Pine Ridge, Orangewalk District and Southern Belize escaped serious damage, and all of the popular jungle lodges, including Chan Chich, Lamanai Outpost, Blancaneaux, duPlooy's and Chaa Creek, are operating as usual. Blue Hole National Park, Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary, Half Moon Caye Natural Monument and Guanacaste National Park were closed temporarily for clean-up and repairs but were scheduled to be back in operation by around November 9, according to the Belize Audubon Society.
LAN SLUDER, BELIZE FIRST MAGAZINE
The president of the Lion's Club Ruben Gonzalez can be contacted at the San
Pedro Town Board at tel #: 011-501-226-2198 e-mail is [email protected]
Because Ambergris diving is located on the Windward side of the reef and consists of huge Spur and Groove formations and Canyons which were formed due to the constant water movement of storms and wave action.
What this means is when a storm of this nature hits damage is caused when an obstacle is placed in front of the waves and the wave just muscles through causing damage to anything in its path.
Because Ambergris has these huge canyons it allowed the huge waves to pass through unobstructed, of course when it hit the actual barrier reef it would have caused damage but this line of reef is the islands protection and the coral actually breaks the surface, this part of the reef is not diveable anytime of the year as this is where the waves break.
If we were located on a leeward side damage to the reef would of been much more as this type of water tends to be flat clam most of the time and would have caused a barrier and the waves would of caused a lot of damage
This is why the reef shows signs of minimal damage to the coral growths however obviously the reef is in a state of shock and a fair amount of pigmentation has been released.
Gaz Cooper's DIVE BELIZE is fully operational and the diive shop is up and runing
Gaz Cooper's DIVE BELIZE
The general opinion is that visitor's who had made advanced bookings to visit us the first week of November have re-scheduled their arrivals to our island. There is a minute percentage of cancellation (maybe 1% percent for the first week of November). Thanksgiving and the second week of December looks very promising so we encourage everyone to be ready. Zero cancellations for December as a result of Mitch. Hotel bars, retaurants, gift shops, etc. are opened for normal business.
Note: Even "Paisano" says we are back to normal.
All hoteliers are re-assuring their wholesalers and travel agents that Ambergris is safe and that their back in full swing. Indeed the island is safe!!!
Tourist guides have already started operating dive and snorkel trips to the reef.
We encourage everyone to continue with their plans to visit us. Give us the opportunity to show you our island hospitality.
The San Pedro Town Board and the Ministry of Natural Resources have facilitated permits for people to start rebuilding their docks and dive shops. Amigos Del Mar, Texaco Marina & Hotel Playador are just a few that have started the reconstruction phase of their docks and dive shops.
We are sending a pledge for assistance to those unfortunate people of our neighbouring country of Honduras who have suffered a tremendous loss of loved ones and who continue to fight against the aftermath of Mitch. Help in the U.S. may be given through the American Red Cross toll free # 1-800-842-2200. In Belize through the Embassy of Honduras at Tel: 02-45889 or fax 02-30562.
Wind gusts in Miami are still going up to 50 mph, but dying down a little. I spent the morning on the sailboat anchored out in the bay. Only one anchor was holding and steep choppy waves against the tide. The wind really gave me hell. With a lee shore just 75 feet behind me. I had my fingers crossed and ran the engine for a couple of hours just in case. Got the roller furling jib down, the horseshoe life preserver off the transom and tied up the bimini shelter, which had torn loose. Trying to lower wind resistance.
Bought me a new BEEEG anchor on the way home, from the boat at the Marine Store. Going on, for the winter norther season, soon as there is a lull, maybe tomorrow.
Shudda! Cudda! Didn't regrets!
Heard two bodies found up north Ambergris Caye area, drowned. Guesses they are from the cruise vessel Fantome, which had 31 Caribbean crew aboard. From the length of time in the water, my guess is that the boat rolled over in hurricane waves of 100 feet or more, trying to turn around and head south. With those seas and the wind pushing, wouldn't take much.
I was up that same coast in Hurricane Fifi, coming down from Cozumel to Belize in my small wooden motorsailer Atoll Queen. Just my wife and I aboard. One engine quit. But, we had 30 foot rollers pushing us along, with Hurricane Fifi just 50 miles or so away. Big waves, but no wind. We were in the calm before the edge. Good thing to. We crossed over the barrier reef in the darkening dusk, me deciding to wreck the boat and us to swim ashore on Ambergris Caye, as Hurricane Fifi paralleled us. The storm surge was so high, we never even touched any coral and got inside the reef and hustled down past San Pedro and to Caye Caulker, arriving about 1 a.m. in the morning. My boat could never have taken those seas if they had been capping and breaking with wind pressure. I can imagine the FANTOME trying to turn around, caught in huge waves with wind pressure on the beam. Unlikely to succeed with that storm at it's height.
Went through a Hurricane once in a 45' motorsailer in the Gulf of
Cortez near La Paz. Caught us by surprise in the 50's. Hard to tell
how high waves are? But another sailboat that was 108 feet long, three
masts and the middle mast around 120 feet, was one wave over from us,
going before the seas and wind, just like me. When I went up on top of
a wave and he went down in the trough, I could not see that middle mast,
it went out of sight. Puked my guts out that night.
Mr. Alberto Nunez, mayor San Pedro
Mr. Beto Marin
San Pedro Town, AC
Belize, Central America
The president of the Lion's Club Ruben Gonzalez can be contacted at the San Pedro Town Board at tel #: 011-501-226-2198 e-mail is [email protected]
Belize is just fine after Mitch. The mainland is virtually untouched and looks very normal. Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye both suffered damage to piers, but both are already almost back to normal. Certainly here on Ambergris Caye the beaches look wonderful now that they are not cluttered with piers! I'm sure Caye Caulker is getting the same feeling!
The bottom line is: with very few exceptions, all hotels, island resorts, mainland resorts, tours, diving, snorkeling, fishing, ruins and jungle tours/sightseeing, birdwatching, or even just general lazing around and doing nothing type activities are in full swing. There is no need to cancel your vacation, you will have the same wonderful time you would have had before Mitch.
Roads and airports are 100% functioning and normal, all
communications are 100% normal, prices
are 100% normal, Belize is ready and looking
forward very much to hosting you!
Chris (Blue Hole Dive Center)
Concerning the damages of the recent hurricane Mitch, the damages the island suffered was the erosion of the beaches, the destruction completely of the piers and dive shops; however they are in the process of repairing and cleaning. The hotel was not affected, except our marina and dive shop are destroyed. The island is still beautiful, the streets are the same, and all the restaurants have re-opened.
The hotel is going to re-open November 07, 1998. Concerning watersports including scuba diving, they are going to be operating again as from November 07, 1998.
Everyone in the resort is okay!
Mathy Rodriguez [email protected]
In fact, I believe that I might have seen almost that many cars lined up for gas in the capital when me and the crew from century two ducked in there for a quick rendezvous. What we found in Belmopan, was a city whose inhabitants had opened their arms, hearts and homes to not only family and friends, but in many instances to total strangers and on behalf of all those who took advantage of the hospitality, many thanks Belmopan.
Of course it was not only the citizens of Belmopan who came through big during this crisis, but folks all across the nation were reaching out to help each other and for the first time in ages, there was a real sense of togetherness in our nation. Nuff mention cannot be made of course, of the exemplary job done by young Johnny Brice÷o and his National Emergency Management Organization. And with special mention necessary of the invaluable contributions of Senior Minister George Price, whose competent performance should serve to dispel once and for all, all rumors that he is in fact, not still in control of all his faculties. And least we forget, Belmopan, which was planned with just such an emergency in mind, was in fact the brainchild of the very same George Price whose astute foresight was once again made apparent.
Belizeans first became aware of Hurricane Mitch on Thursday October twenty-second and for more than a week thereafter, our lives became topsy turvy. After receiving a tip from a reliable source, FM 2000 sounded the first alarm as early as Friday the twenty-third. The Prime Minister had of course, already planned his trip to Taiwan but was allegedly contemplating a postponement. The decision not to postpone is considered by many to have been the wrong one and that impression will probably be around to haunt our P.M. for quite some time to come. The fact that NEMO did such a good job and that he did bring back a fistful of dollars in some ways would seem to extenuated the circumstances, but had Mitch come west instead of veering south, I believe that our Prime Minister would have had some explaining to do.
Of note is the fact that while Hurricane Mitch did bring out the good in many of us, it also brought out the evil in some. Despite a very commendable job on the part of our security forces there were quite a few break-ins and looting and many unscrupulous merchants took advantage of the bad situation by hiking up prices on essential goods. As for the looters, were they stealing food, one could almost understand, but they were cutting open the sacks of rice, flour and sugar and pouring the contents on the ground to make room for liquor, cigarettes and other goods that would be sold. Had Mitch hit Belize, all that food would have been sorely needed.
All in all however, Belizeans did an excellent job of coping with a situation that could very well have turned to pandemonium. Evacuation proceedings were relatively orderly and it was indeed refreshing to see Belizeans looking out for each other. Only now can we fully realize how blessed we really are and how narrowly we escaped as reports of the true devastation wrought on our neighboring Central American countries reach us via the international news. The death toll has climbed past 9,000 and the homeless are in the millions.
This Sunday has been declared a Day of Thanksgiving and it is requested that all Belizeans, even those who don't attend church, stop if even just for a minute and give thanks for this tremendous blessing. On Sunday there will also be a march to the Memorial Park from the different parishes of the Roman Catholic Church and even those who are not of that denomination are invited to join in. Sunday of course is also poppy day or Remembrance Day, when we remember those Belizeans who have fallen in foreign wars. All proceeds from the sale of poppies will go toward benefiting the victims of Hurricane Mitch. To borrow a line from the Belize Cancer Society, "They need us today, we might need them tomorrow".
And speaking of the Cancer Society, many Belizeans were saddened to
receive word of the passing of Mrs. Juliet Soberanis nee Orosco which
occurred last Friday October the thirtieth. Juliet had become a friend
and inspiration to many of us, and as we give thanks this Sunday, let
us remember her and ask God to receive her into his keeping. May
Juliet rest in peace.
G. Michael Reid
First of all, if you wrote or called days ago and have been wondering about the delay, we waited to reply to everyone until we actually knew the conditions on Long Caye!
Thanks to everyone for your concern and support! We are amazed at how many calls we have been getting from past guests, our family, staff and friends and others in the tourism industry in Belize, as well as those joining us in Belize this year. Thank you all so much!
Yes, we have been sitting here riveted to the satellite images of Mitch's progress, unable to get a report from Glover's, and very concerned as you may imagine. Yesterday our local guide, Elmo Nunez went out to the island and got back late yesterday afternoon.
The short answer: Yes, we lost quite a few buildings, but we are going to rebuild immediately! We lost very little gear.
The long answer: The kitchen building is gone, and although a lot of our gear is buried in sand, it must be completely rebuilt. Some of the gear is salvageable, some isn't.
Here is the status of the cabanas we had:
#1 and 2: the duplex 1/2 of the building is down, 1/2 is still standing but
needs to be rebuilt
#3: this cabana is down and must be rebuilt
#4: the 'short' cabana this cabana is fine
#5: this cabana is down and must be rebuilt
#6: this cabana is fine
#7: this cabana is fine
#8: this cabana is fine except the roof is off
Gear: all of the kayaks, paddles, and other kayak gear are fine! Both shade palapas are down. The new composting toilet is fine!
The bad news: the land where the kitchen was is also gone. The hurricane washed away the corner of the island. For those of you who know the island, the new shoreline is now between where the old dish-washing shack and the old kitchen were. Also, the small caye off the island (where we used to do the first snorkeling orientation) and the Lomont's island where their house was is completely washed away! There is nothing but water where their island was. We are very sad for the Lomont family. They have lived there for 32 years.
The good news: There is new beach everywhere! We hear it is actually more beautiful than ever. There is new beach in front of the row of cabanas #5-8 (used to be coral rubble) and beautiful beach between the dock and where the kayak palapas are (one is standing, one fell down.)
Today a crew of 9 Belizeans from Hopkins, headed by Elmo Nunez, are going out to the island to begin digging stuff out and cleaning up. If you can imagine this: only the roof of the dish shack is sticking out from the new pile of white coral sand! Jim Schofield, our island manager, is flying to Belize on Saturday to get a jump start on the construction and Cully leaves Friday on the pre-hurricane schedule of driving down our new stove, fridge, solar panels and 2 new sea kayaks and 3 new surf kayaks, as well as new wind surfers and many other items too numerous to mention!
For those of you on the first and second trip who have been wondering how this will effect your trip (the week of 12/11 and 12/18): We anticipate having 5 cabanas ready by that time (weather permitting) and currently the bookings on those trips do not exceed 10 persons. If we are really lucky, we may even have 6 cabanas ready by that time. The real push is going to be for Christmas, when the island is full to the maximum, we cannot guarantee that we will have cabanas for 18 ready by then, but we are going to try! For those of you on Adventure Week and Rivers & Reef: there was very little damage inland, in fact Lucy at Chaa Creek tells us that there have been higher floods in the recent past just from high rains. So the inland portion of our trips should not be affected at all.
And the really, really good news: all of our friends in Belize weathered the storm just fine. Everyone is healthy and happy. The outpouring of sympathy and support from Belizeans for their less fortunate neighbors in Nicaragua and Honduras where Mitch caused almost unimaginable damage is inspiring in the face of their own losses, which in Belize amount mostly to minor damage to property in most of the country. Actually, Slickrock was probably one of the hardest hit in all of the country of Belize; our location on Long Caye is quite exposed to weather during storms of this nature. If you want to read more about damage in the rest of the country go to the web site: https://ambergriscaye.com/hurricane.html.
All the islands at Glover's were evacuated on Tuesday, October 27 and
people were not able to go back out until Monday, November 2. No one on the
islands or southern cayes of Belize was hurt in this storm.
Thanks again to everyone; hope to see you soon in Belize!
Slickrock Adventures, Adventure Sport Expeditions in Belize and Honduras, [email protected]
Our office has been open since November 01, for any inquires or reservations.
The road is still not in great shape, but buses are able to get through now. However, still difficult for supply trucks to navigate the road, so food supplies are getting a little low. Still have plenty of beans and rice, though, and we expect a supply truck will get through soon.
Laughing Bird Caye is now 2 cayes. Maybe that's good. People can use one caye and leave the birds undisturbed on the other. As reported previously, Hatchet Caye looks to have suffered subtantial damage, one of the Silk Cayes has disappeared, and clean-up is now taking place on Ranguana and Little Water Cayes. Some flooding in Monkey River, but nothing terribly severe.
Along with the beans and rice, we should have plenty of fish to eat. Fishermen in the Placencia area are reporting good catches of bonita, king mackerel and dorado. Mitch may have also significantly increased the local billfish population. Also, Snook are reported to be extremely plentiful in Monkey River right now.
Along with the other hotels and resorts mentioned in previous posts and on Tony Rath's site, Tradewinds and Soulshine are in full operation, and I think Westwinds is also up and running.
Placencia should be back to "normal" (whatever "normal" is for Placencia)
by Nov. 15.
from the border to rocky point the beach was clean and it looked like the water(not waves) had gone in about 200 yds..most of the brush by the seahore was gone so it was all white sand in a big hump..didnt see much beach erosion as there were few cocos in the water. the few small wooden houses were still standing
rocky point to robles looked ok. water was real high and couldnt see the reef but i know that area well and the shoreline was in the same place but even higher
at robles point (where the reef ends) is a beach and picnic spot for tourists..used to be all brush in the back and now the whole area is solid white sand and coral rocks..200-300 feet back.. all the vegetation is gone other than some of the big trees..will be much nicer now but i wouldnt want to build a house there!
from robles to the basil jones channel.. all of the beach brush is gone so there is 100 feet plus of sand and bushes pokin through..much nicer the house at the basil jones channel survived fine.. i saw sea weed all the way in the back but there is liitle sand there..mainly surface rock so no big change..
the solid concrete shrimp dock in front of the airstrip road/basil jones is fine
puntal azul is about the same as before but the water went at least 300 yds back..nice clean beaches
habaneros was before an uncleared area and had brush right to the shoreline..that is all gone now..maybe 75 feet of white beach with big bushes pokin through now and then
palmeros point dock is gone and the water went way in but no serious erosion.. san andres to mexico rocks area got a 'cleaning out'..clean shoreline but looked fine to me..
casa caribe sustained a lot of beach erosion and the sea wall is history.. dock and dive shop piled up in front of the restaurant.. main building unscathed but flooding in the back..
playa blanca has a house that is definitely water front now.. was too close to the sea before but now the front part of the house is a 'seawall' mata grande survived ok.. it has a big ridge of sand off the beach where most of the houses are( before the storm).. behind that it drops off into a dip which has alot of standing water..
mata chica resort has some probs.. the front cabins and restaurant are dry on the hump but the other 2/3 of the cabins and service quarters are in the dip which is full of brown water..flooded out.. no drainage...i guess they will need to buy some water pumps..
journey end- the ocean went across the property to the lagoon on the north side..many cabins on the n side are damaged and tilted..they lost the majority of their reclaimed beach and the sea wall is gone..
essene way fared really well..gained some beach and lost quite a bit on the south corner.. but they have bobcats and they are already piling up sand and levelling things out..
capricorn looks much better than yesterday and the pescador got more sand than they needed..
rest of this area to town same as in my other report...we flew south and i was surprised to see the south end of the island in much better shape than i had expected.. in fact the last house/property/dock on the south tip looked really unscathed considering the fact that the land is ony a couple of feet above sea level.. some areas on the south end suffered erosion and other areas were not too bad at all..
my hypothesis is that the north end got the highest water surge cause the reef is closer and not as solid and wide as on the southern part of the caye..however the north end has deeper land on the average.. the south tip is low and a long way from the reef but there was a hell of a current coming from the back side with the north winds and surge in the bay and that must have abated the seas to some degree in this area..also..as the reef is a long way from land- the north winds helped lessen the easterly surge
same way with the the boca del rio ' river' -minimal damage there.. the only dock at the river mouth is leaning over to the east..indicating that the outgoing current was stronger than the incoming waves and surge..
i found 4 or 5 more docks that survived well enough to be servicable but they are in remote areas where they will not be useful in the general scope of things...
all said i am not convinced that Ambergris caye needs any special attention...some of our victoria house guides went out to the reef today at the 3 cocos channel to see what happened..there was still alot of elkhorn standing..which is the most fragile of all. they said that it didnt look bad at all..which surprised me considering we had 30-40 ft waves outside the reef at the peak ( no exaggeration)..the guys will do some dives outside as soon as it calm down some.. but if there was plenty of standing elkhorn in the channel then that is a good indicator that the damage was not that severe..
town board is still having closed door meetings on the future of the docks...many people - rightly - had concerns about the amount of docks we had around town..ie.. too many...of course there was nothing anyone could do about it as they were already there..well mitch took care of that..and now all of us are standing by ready to claim back our territories again..but the chances are..for the good of the island and for esthetics.. that much stricter regulations will be put into effect..as to the quantity and quality of the piers.. hard decision because there will be losers in the end..and of course politics will take part -well lets hope not..
no gas in town yet...rumour was that tomorrow - wednesday- the fuel truck will arrive on the barge..lots of veggies in the back as the corozal boats are arriving..lots of snappers being caught in the fish traps in the back..
i heard from a reputable source.. that the lebanese fellow that owns the harmouche hardware store on middle street doubled his prices at the frantic time when everyone was trying to buy plywood and other materials..the cops threw him in jail for the day..maybe the trade licencing committee will remember that when his renewal is up.....dont need people like that around here..
i heard each looter got 7 yrs jail time.....
if you look at the path of mitch..there is now a sickle shape to it where it missed belize..am sure they will be calling this one the storm of the century
realtors are probably wondering/worrying about biz this season.. as far as i am concerned mitch should help real estate sales..shows how much our reef protects us from high seas..most other islands would have not handled the huge waves like we did from one of the top 5 hurricanes on record..a swell that is formed from 180-200 mile an hour winds does not measureably decrease in size over 180 miles of water. we just didnt get the wind and rain...thankfully
anyone hear anything from glovers reef?
Please know that we will be back on top of things as soon as we can catch our breaths.
San Pedro sustained minimal damages. Some loss of beach in front. Piers and dive shops severly damaged. This should not set back our tourist who have made plans in advance to visit us. Please come and visit us.
I take this opportunity on behalf of the people of San Pedro, to extend our deepest gratitude and good wishes to all the people of Belmopan, Orange Walk, San Ignacio and Corozal for extending a warm and hospitable shelter while fleeing from the recent hurricane threat to our islands of Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker.
We also thank the Honourable Patty Arceo and the Ambergris Caye Hurricane Emergency Committee, the San Pedro Police and the Belize Defence Force for their invaluable help and coordiantion during this ordeal. You guys did a wonderful job.
We also extend a big THANK YOU to the Deputy Prime Minister, Honourable
John Briceno for his great concern and assistance to these communities.
THANK YOU & thank you. May God bless you all.
Lincoln Eiley & Family
We also extend a big THANK YOU to the Deputy Prime Minister, Honourable
John Briceno for his great concern and assistance to these communities.
THANK YOU & thank you all. May God Bless you.
"Hurricane? What Hurricane?" questioned Placencia supplier Ben Ruoti, owner of Nautical Inn located on the Southern shores of Belize. "We have some good windsurfing out front and it's business as usual." Placencia and the Central Coastal areas have reported that they were not really effected by Hurricane Mitch. There was some beach erosion from the high seas produced by the storm, but the beach is already beginning to return. Debris that washed ashore has been cleaned up in many areas and efforts continue.
Belize's interior reports no damage. Cayo supplier Judy duPlooy of duPlooy's lodge stated that "all tourists are in good spirits and good spirits are in all tourists." A group of thirty-three West Coast tourists extended their stay so that they did not miss out on San Pedro, Ambergris Caye.
Jaguar Paw Lodge, Belmopan reported that all was well but suggested waiting to embark on a tube ride through the caves as the rivers are running quite fast. Ian Anderson of Cave's Branch Adventure Lodge reports that the Sibun River and Belize River are bank full but are not flooding. Cave's Branch River is nearly at its normal level, allowing underground river cave tours to resume this Thursday.
With "no damage" reports from the Toledo and Corozal districts, Belize's mainland appears to have gotten nothing but a good scare from Hurricane Mitch.
Reports from Belize's offshore cayes are good. The largest casualty reported on Ambergris Caye is the loss of nearly all of their piers and "over water" dive shops. Beach erosion has caused a change in the shoreline and Victoria House, at the southern end of Ambergris Caye stated that palm tree damage was limited to recent plantings of seedlings. A survey uncovered that some larger coconut trees on the island went down in the storm as well.
Caye Caulker experienced similar mishaps, however hotels and boat/dive tour suppliers on both cayes have reported that their vessels are all intact and ready to tour. Outer cayes are cleaning up debris left by Hurricane Mitch. Damage was minimal and full reports on those resorts will follow. South Water Caye stated that they experienced minimal building damage. "The steps from Heron's Hideaway were lost to the sea, but the staff is on property, the radio phone and solar power is running, and the freezer is cold enough for beer!" jokes Terrie Valentine, General Manager of the Pelican Beach Resort.
Dive masters and guides have reported that the visibility is good and continues to improve. Full reef checks are in progress and reef fishing conditions are favorable.
"International and local airlines, buses, water taxis, car rentals, hotels, restaurants and dive/snorkeling services are near full operation as well as the major attractions in Belize including various Mayan temples," says Valerie Woods, Director of Tourism for the Belize Tourist Board. "The inland areas of Belize were unscathed and are offering full services to their guests."
"Belize is very lucky and we are very grateful that our tourism
product is intact for the upcoming season," commented Minister of
Tourism, Mark Espat.
Belize Tourist Board, 83 North Front Street, Belize City, Belize, Tel. 1-800-624-0686; Fax: 011-501-2-77490, E-mail: [email protected]
Perhaps this sacred remembrance can help to explain the strange storm pattern of Hurricane Mitch, which nearly circled completely around Belize without harming the country.
Forecasting predicted that Hurricane Mitch would head straight for the Belize coast. Evacuation warnings and preparations for the storm began as early as Sunday, October 25th. By Monday Belize's Hummingbird and Western Highways were bumper to bumper with traffic as low-lying and coastal residents headed for protection in the Maya Mountains.
Cayo District became the area of mass exodus and was prepared with food, shelter and clothing. Evacuees sought safety with friends and relatives and in hotels and government shelters. Tourists were urged to return home.
Hurricane Mitch posed threat to the coastal areas and offshore cayes with predicted tidal surges of up to 25 feet. If Hurricane Mitch had hit Belize, winds would have blown the palapa and zinc roofs off many of the buildings in coastal areas and rivers could have risen as much as 50 feet to flood towns in the highland areas -- but none of that happened. Mitch steered clear of Belize. Its winds never even reached the cayes and the storm rains never pelted the towns. Hurricane Mitch never happened in Belize.
Friday, October 30, 1998, refugees returned to their coastal and seaside homes. Debris had washed ashore and dive piers along the offshore cayes were buckled or lost to the waves. These were the only casualties from the storm. A tremendous amount of white sand was left on the beaches of Ambergris Caye, so raking the new beach out became top priority, as was removing any planks washed ashore from the piers.
The interior suffered no damage. The Maya Mountains of Belize are made of limestone karst with only a thin layer of topsoil supporting the forest, so mudslides were never a concern. Rivers were inspected by the National Health Advisors and suffered no contamination as flooding was minimal.
Belize rapidly returned to normal. Piers on the cayes are nearly rebuilt, postponed Halloween parties were thrown and when concerned friends and visitors inquire about the country, Belize's relieved residents happily inform them that there was "No Mitch in Belize."
English-speaking Belize offers a unique vacation experience -- visitors
may combine diving, boating and fishing with exploring Belize's rain
forests, wildlife reserves and, archaeological sites while sharing in
the colorful, diverse culture of its people.
Belize Tourist Board, 83 North Front Street, Belize City, Belize, Tel. 1-800-624-0686; Fax: 011-501-2-77490, E-mail: [email protected]
While Hurricane Mitch sent waves throughout the Western Caribbean, Belize's Barrier Reef stood guard, breaking walls of water up to ten feet high before they reached the islands and coasts of Belize. Residents on Ambergris and Caye Caulker could hear the thundering throughout the storm and were reminded of the more crucial role the reef plays in their lives " the role of a guardian.
Days after the storm had passed, when the sea calmed, Belize's dive masters went out to survey the reef. Butterfish, eagle rays, grouper, black-tip sharks and other tropical swam amidst the bright coral gardens as if Hurricane Mitch never happened.
English-speaking Belize offers a unique vacation experience -- visitors
may combine diving, boating and fishing with exploring Belize's rain
forests, wildlife reserves and, archaeological sites while sharing in
the colorful, diverse culture of its people.
Belize Tourist Board, 83 North Front Street, Belize City, Belize, Tel. 1-800-624-0686; Fax: 011-501-2-77490, E-mail: [email protected]
TACA Airlines has assisted greatly in transporting supplies from Belize
to its neighbors and many Belizeans are transporting goods directly to
the Honduran Council. In Toledo, Leonor Requena explained that their
boats were making daily trips to Honduras, "We are thankful that
Hurricane Mitch missed us, but sorry for our neighbors " so we give to
Belize Tourist Board, 83 North Front Street, Belize City, Belize, Tel. 1-800-624-0686; Fax: 011-501-2-77490, E-mail: [email protected]
Mitch did produce some debris along the coastline areas and cayes of Belize due to the heavy seas and wind, however, as Thanksgiving approaches, most hotel and tourism operations are expected to be in full service for the winter season. Already hotel owners and dive operators are busy this week repairing docks, dive shops and arrangements for dive/snorkel services to continue.
The communities of Belize City, Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker, Placencia, Dangriga, Turneffe Island, Lighthouse Reef, Glovers Reef and other coastline areas are currently doing the clean up of their beach areas and most hotel operations are already welcoming guests. Minister of Tourism, Mr. Mark Espat and the Director of Tourism, Ms. Valerie Woods toured the islands of Ambergris and Caye Caulker on Sunday, November 1st 1998. Minister Espat comments, "Belize is very lucky and we are very grateful that our tourism product is intact. There was no structural damage to the hotels and clean up of the beaches and surrounding areas have already begun since Friday, October 30th to rid the area of the debris. All indications are that most services will be up by Thanksgiving."
"International airlines, local airlines, buses, water taxis, car rentals, hotels, restaurants and dive/snorkel services are near full operation as well as the major attractions in Belize including the various Mayan temples," says Ms. Woods. "The island areas of Belize were unscathed and are offering full services to their guests", continues Woods.
Public Announcement / Press Release
The Belize Audubon Society is advising the general public that due to the impacts of Hurricane Mitch, damage assessments, trail repairs & upgrading and massive clean-ups are being conducted in the following protected areas:
These areas will consequently be closed to the General Public until Monday, November 9th, 1998. The Belize Audubon Society would be grateful, particularly to the tourism operators and handlers for assisting at this time.
Please feel free to call at the BAS office at telephone #(02)-35004 if anyone has any questions and/or concerns. We regret any inconvenience caused.
Rudi Burgoes - PR department
Tony's Inn & Beach Resort
We here at Corozal are very happy and pleased to say that the threat of Hurricance Mitch and its effects were none. Corozal had very little rain and strong winds. There was no major floods nor destruction done in Corozal. Our hotel is as is, there was no damages on landscape, pier or buildings. The tourists that wish to visit Corozal are more than welcome and we are happy to inform them that Corozal awaits their visit. Tourists can rest assure that Corozal is stable and functional.
Melissa Castillo - Manager
Lamanai Outpost Lodge
Hurricane Mitch - Non-Existent - Thank the Powers that Be!!
Hurricane Mitch, the monster it was, did not directly affect Lamanai Outpost Lodge on the New River Lagoon in northern Belize. Par for the course during the wet season here in Belize rain did fall, but Mitch added a few extra feet.
Lamanai Outpost Lodge never shut the doors and even allowed costal friends and desperate travelers as well as our current guests to seek shelter inland from the threat of the hurricane. Guests were entertained with the usual tours of the ancient Maya city of Lamanai, early morning bird walks, medicinal herbal walks, and lectures by our own on-site researchers as well as visiting scientists from Spanish Bay.
We are thankful to all our hard working staff who reside in Indian Church and San Carlos Villages for their diligence in helping us pack, board and prepare for the worst. We in turn were prepared to house as many of our neighbors as possible in our concrete reinforced buildings that the Howells built with natural disasters in mind.
The Chan Chich Crew
We arrived back on Lighthouse Sunday November 1st Myself and Bret, flying over to the resort the islands close to Belize including San Pedro, Caye Caulker and the other islands the water was murky when we got a little further out and flew by turneffe the water was sea blue and from the air looked clear, on Lightouse Reef Resort water was clear as we are approximately 54 miles or so away from Belize City, the reefs are in great shape no or little damage at all, few minor problems here at the resort few small coconut trees down on the beach side, little dock damage, seawall damage and some beach erosion, we gained some and lost some. We will be ready for guest on November 7th. We are working at the moment to get everything fixed it so easy to take things off shelves etc and ith takes three times as much to put them all back up. Overall damages were little.
Best Regards from the gang here at Lighthouse Mark, Dennis, Bret, Sharon's X 3, Richard, Chris, Daniel, Glen, Gilly Jr., Ernest, Louise, Steve, Lucy, Diana, Eunice, Norma, Chief, Gilly Sr., Foggy, and Lloyd.
Mark - Manager
Barbara Ramey - Owner
Shirley's Guest House
"I know you must have seen the news about Hurricane Mitch and are wondering how Caye Caulker fared. I want to reassure you that Caye Caulker was on the outer edges of Hurricane Mitch and Shirley's Guest House sustained only minor damage to the pier. It will be easily repaired and everything on the Caye should be ready for your visit."
That, of course, only refers to Shirley's. I can write a bit about Caye Caulker in general:
"Caye Caulker sustained only minor damage from storm surges. There were never any high winds and not too much rain, but the sea level rose and there were constant high waves for several days. The biggest damage is to piers, seawalls, and anything built upon them. A few low-lying houses on the front side have windows or doors pushed in and mud on the floor. The structure of the island has changed because sand has been pushed up from the front, leaving bare tree roots on the beach and higher ground in the adjacent yards, some of which is piled in front of doors.
Otherwise there is just a lot of debris to clean up. That should happen quickly because much of it is usable lumber from piers or buildings that were once on a pier.
The hotels and restaurants on the Caye are not damaged at all and will be ready for guests as soon as the owners can return to the Caye."Judy Lumb for Shirley's Guest House
Caye Villas is intact and we will not have to cancel any reservations. The
piers should be rebuilt quickly. I'm not sure if you were online during the
storm, but www.AmbergrisCaye.com has a lot of testimony that would serve your
purpose of reassuring the public that Belize is o.k.
Gigi Sharp - Owner
Everyone on Ambergris Caye considers themselves extremely fortunate to have sustained as little damage as we have. None of our buildings at the resort have suffered any structural damage whatsoever. In fact our ten thatch roofed cabanas are completely intact. All Plantation Rooms, Suites, Villas and the Windsor Suite are as remembered. The only difference being that all Main Building standard rooms and suites had new showers installed this during our annual renovations.
As you may have heard, there has been some beach erosion and considerable dock damage along the coast and Ambergris Caye is no exception.
This properties beach footage loss has been limited to the southern portion of the property, to the north of the seawall. We have lost 10 - 15 feet of frontage in this area and are in the process of reclamation. At Victoria House we shall be making use of a newly constructed dock (which weathered the wave action very well) situated two houses to the South of our property. We will continue to use this neighboring dock until our own is repaired. A crew is coming in this morning to asses this situation and begin work.
Palm tree damage was limited to recent beach-side plantings of seedlings. All of our mature trees are standing as wind velocity was minimal.
In San Pedro itself, rebuilding of damaged docks has already begun. Grocery stores were open yesterday, as were many of the gift shops. Town Board has already graded many of the main roadways and taxi service is available.
We have had no rain here for the past two days. Yesterday was sunny and pleasant with winds of 10 - 15 mph. Seas are still slightly choppy and settling. This morning we are experiencing high overcast with sunny breaks with similar wind conditions. Forecast from the local Met Office is not in yet but this mornings' Carib Sat picture shows clear skies to the East.
Divemasters and guides have informed us that visibility is good already and rapidly improving. This is also confirmed by personal observation. Fishing guides have advised that conditions are good for fly & reef fishing.
In short, while previous visitors to Belize will notice the changes wrought by our brush with Mitch (in particular the present temporary shortage of docking facilities in town) things are rapidly returning to normal. We are looking forward to welcoming guests back to San Pedro, Belize and Victoria House.
All The Best,
Brent Kirkman & Janet Woollam - General Managers
Hotel Seine Bight
All is well at Hotel Seine Bight and the Placencia peninsula, we lost a little beach through high sea erosion but other than that no damage whatsoever. In fact down here things were very mild down here, just a lot of rain. I think Belize was very very lucky.
Mike Hazeltine - Owner
Absolutely no damage to Nautical Inn. Seine Bight Village had water in the street but no homes down and no roofs lost. Please put a map of Mitch on your site to show the exact path to illustrate it never hit Belize.
Ben Ruti - Owner
The airstip here in Placencia is fine and the road is passable for four wheel drive vehicles as of this morning. The area by Riversdale was out of commission for awhile.
Lynne - Manager
Risa Frackman - Owner
Jodie - Manager, p.s.
Based on the weather that was to be, Placencia did not experience, any really bad weather, there were some rains, but that was after MITCH, died down to a TS...we have weathered much worse than this, but we thank God for sparing us the full impact of MITCH cat. #5
Skip White - Owner
Colleen Fleury - Owner
Kathy - Manager
Two days after most villagers have returned from the hurricane shelters inland, life is back to normal in Hopkins. If it weren't for the large amounts of debris on the beach, deposited there by a stormy sea, nobody would know that we had a close call with a very strong hurricane. The water on the village road has subsided. All the little stores and restaurants are back in business, except one, the popular "Over the Waves" restaurant has sustained some damage and it may be some time before it reopens. One private dock was washed out to sea, but that is the extent of the damage in Hopkins.
All the hotels/guesthouses are open for business: Hopkins Inn, Sandy Beach, Tipple Tree Beya, Yagudah, Seagulls Nest, Ransom's, Caribbean View, Bob's Cabanas.
Greg and Rita Duke - Owners
Some of the guys stayed around for security intending to move to higher ground if the hurricane approached, fortunately, they never had to. Other than abnormally high tides which had Pelican Beach looking like an island for a few days, all is well.
South Water Caye also had minimal building damage - the steps of the Heron's Hideaway washed away. There has also been some re-distribution of beach on the island. Therese and a crew are on their way out today to clean up. Junior already has his staff back out there with radio communication and the solar running again. The freezer is cold enough for beer!
The highways are all passable with access to Cockscomb and all major attractions.
Reports from other parts of Belize are primarily about lost docks on the islands but all hotels are back up and running, so there is no need to cancel or postpone any of your travel plans.
Again, thank you for checking on us. Please say a prayer and give what you can to the poor people of Honduras and Nicaragua and who bore the brunt of Hurricane Mitch and have suffered terrible loss of life, property and crop damage.
Terri Valentine - Manager
Black Rock Lodge
All is well in Cayo. We've had a little rain and some flooding, but no high winds at all or anything damaging. We successfully sheltered the folks seeking refuge from the coast and the islands. And even though we weren't hit by Mitch, it was a good exercise in evacuation. Plus, not only did the Government and private sector handle this well, they also learned a lot from it and next time will be even better.
One of the factors that prevented more severe flooding was the fact that we had just come out from a prolonged dry season with rainfall well below normal,this had left the forests extremely dry in both the ground and the vegetation itself ,thus a lot of the rainfall was absorbed and the Macal river did not flood to anywhere near the marks it has in previous "bad Floods".
Wind ,too , never became a serious factor as very little sustained wind was felt at all With only one period of a very hard gust lasting about 5 minutes this wind was responsible for some very minor tree damage betwen Cayo and Belmopan
No power poles or buildings were damaged and apart from a very brief period when the Roaring Creek bridge went under water traffic along the western highway was never truly affected. The Mopan river being fed by much more localised rains probably rose higher than normal but again caused very little disruption of services with the exception of the foot bridge to Calla Creek which was swept away on Saturday the31 Oct. This bridge has been lost before and only affects one small village which also has access through bullet tree whose bridge remained clear of the floods throughout.
Power and telephone services remained intact throughout the "Hurricane Alert" and local businesses continued pretty much as normal,with only minor inconveniences.
A large influx of evacuees from the coastal regions might have put a small strain on grocery supplies and on the local telephones but in all honesty this again was barely noticeable with the whole evacuation programme being handled very well by the local authorities ,Police ,Army etc.
In Cayo the population handled themselves very well ,were most generous in their treatment of evacuees and maintained a cheerfull attitude throughout the alert.
At du Plooys itself we had 40 people who were stuck here unable to leave due to the closure of the airport ,as well as a few coastal evacuees ,They were unanimous in their praise of the staff and management for their handling of the whole situation and on their return to the U.S.A. immediately faxed a thankyou note to all the staff The property itself suffered no damage . other than a few broken tree limbs and some fairly tired people.
The total rainfall rcorded at the Friesen Hatcheries in Spanish Lookout from 24 October till the 31 October was 184 millibars or 7.24 inches
Judy du Plooys - Owner
We are happy to report that Chaa Creek Cottages is operating as usual with no damage to report as a result of the near miss of Hurricane Mitch.
Please inform all those interested in visiting the Cayo District that we are ready willing and able to play host to all of our visitors and offer them the same first rate Eco-Cultural Tourism experience that has made the name Cayo synonomous with that term.
The management and staff of Chaa Creek Cottages are anxious to share with the world the beauty and wonder of our district.
Thanks and all the best,
Peter Tonti - Manager
Bob's Paradise: Water level is still high, minor damage....For the time being we are advertising our water acess Tiki Bar.. Just tie your boat off to a bar stool.. We are still in business and ready for all of you to come down or up and enjoy our still wonderful country........
E.J. - Owner
Carol - Owner
Here, in the remnants of the mayan communities of Belize, Mitch left everybody suffering from fear and fright. The local bush doctors, herbalists, and shaman have been very busy curing the populace from "fright" sickness. The illness is cured by the person being "ensalmado" which can be translated to " pacifying your soul". It certainly works very well, I had to go and have one myself. The bush doctor or herbalist, holds your hands in his or her hands, recites some prayers which only he knows ( I have tried to ask what they recite about but to no avail.) and if necessary pours some holy water over you. The whole ceremony takes on about 15 minutes.
Some of these mayan physicians will even recommend herbal baths for serious cases of "fear and fright". I guarantee you that such spiritual treatment can save hundreds of dollars in modern medical treatment, especially for people who do not have it. Psychiatric drugs are very expensive.
1st of November, and the 2nd of November was well celebrated by the faithful families that believe in providing care and attention to the dead in their after life. The 1st of November was "FINADOS" FOR THE INFANTS. Prayers and special dinners were laid for the for the fallen infants. This day is taken lightly. The 2nd of November was the more serious day. THE SECOND OF NOVEMBER IS FOR THE FALLEN ADULTS, and it is handled with reverrence. Prayers were offered in the early dawn, midday and evenings for the souls of the dead adults. Food was especially prepared, bollos, tamales, escabeche, and chirmole was made. Meat is from "Chickens" only, roosters should not be used for this occasion unless they are castrated. Special plates and saucers made from "Hicaras" ( a type of fruit) or pottery vessels are used. Today, modern dish ware is also used, such as china ware, but the one that the family rarely uses. Dinner, and beverage, called "ispasha" (pronounce it as you see it) made from black corn was placed on the tables where the prayers were recited.
It is believed that the souls of the dead come to feed themselves. This is an annual obligation because if not done the souls will suffer from hunger, and come and disturb the living relatives. Dinner and the special drinks are shared with the family. I would like to tell you that for some reason these dinners and drinks taste more delicious than when served any other day. It is commented that it is due to the flavour added on by the spirits coming to feed on them. On this occassion I visited my Comadre ( whose child I sponsored in Confirmation) and had my share of "is pasha and Bollos".
Many families were very distraught because they were unable to prepare their "finados" as they wished. There was a lot of expense in the hurricane emergency, but they still did the basics to keep the souls of the dead healthy. Many candles were carried to the tombs at the cemetry. I personally feel that Mitch had come our way we would have been waiting for others to do "FINADOS" FOR US.
Bollos: on this occassion is milled corn mixed with black beans and meat, placed in plantain leaves and boiled until it cooks. It has a long process for its preparation. I have tried to briefly explain what it is.
MAY ALL OUR DEPARTED BROTHERS AND SISTERS SHARE WITH US ON THESE FINADOS, AND GO AROUND THE WORLD AS PEACEFUL SPIRITS. LET US ALL POOL RESOURCE TO HELP OUR LIVING BROTHERS AND SISTERS SUFFERING IN OUR CENTRAL AMERICAN COUNTRIES AFFECTED BY MITCH. YOU WANT TO KNOW WHO I AM OR WHERE I LIVE VISIT: http://www.Geocities.com/Thetropics/cabana/4764 VISIT BELIZE AND COME TO KNOW MORE ABOUT US: SAN PEDRO, OUR BARRIER REEF, AND THE MAYAN CIVILIZATION For God, People, and Country
G.Rosado JP BS [email protected]
The area in general has weathered the storm very well and is "open for business". We understand that public works has even been working on the road, never one of our highlights, so perhaps we will even reap some good out of bad weather.
The world needs to know we are not having a problem...the vegetarians may have a little trouble with fresh fruit and veggies, but the rest is fine.
Yes, we need to get the word out that BELIZE is fine and that the country is OPEN FOR BUSINESS. Too many callers feel that Belize was severely hit.
obviously some areas took less of a lickin than others..my overall consensus is that AC lost shoreline..but the majority of the sand wound up being pushed up and further back..so there is a big hump that can be levelled back out
capricorn is located right in front of a big channel..clarence built the dock heavy duty and it is still intact but slightly bowed and uneven.. the water washed to 100 yds behing the restaurant..luckily it didnt get flooded on the bottom floor..sea walls are all gone..he was cleaning up today with a bobcat..people were calling in for dinner reservations! they wont be open for a little while..
casa caribe got serious shoreline damage..most of the dock is piled up infront of the restaurant..seawall gone.. town beach was a big mess but they are already cleaning up and dismantling the docks and remains of diveshops..i guess one of the concerns for the future is how much damage all of the docks did and how hazardous they were to the buildings on the beach..the town board is having meeting -closed door - to decide on the future dock rules...i have a feeling there are gonna be some angry people who wont be allowed to rebuild..
the 2 big pine trees at the park by the library toppled over..shame..didnt really lose many coconuts other than some right on the waters edge our victoria house survived ok..we lost alot of sand and it is nowhere to be found..we lost about 10 feet of beach on the south end where there is no seawall..the dock is history but for some reason our diveshop is still standing..leaning over a bit and the floor is busted out..
the most amazing of all is the little local guy that has the diveshop at the playador..the playador dock is gone and his diveshop sat right on the beach with about 3 feet of elevation..bush stick pilings and not many of them at that..it is in perfect shape other than the front wall got bowed in a bit but easy to fix..he told me he had it blessed by 2 different fathers..i have a feeling that a big chunk of pier got stuck out in front of him and shielded him from the waves.. all in all.. it wont take for ever to put the island back in shape..sure looks nicer with so few piers..
The river faired much better than i had expected..i think the current must have buffered the waves..the ferry is back but wont see any golfcarts up north for quite a while..bobs road is not all there anymore. the main channel buoy is still there..amazing...whatever is was tied down with..i want some of that...
mash barges are at the muni pier..they will be bringing in a fuel tanker truck tomorrow to start filling the texaco tanks at the co-op in the back ..so we will have gasoline..should have plenty of food too.. lessons learned:
1-get the heck off the island early if a hurricane is coming
2-throw all meat out of your freezer
3-those plastic seawalls arent worth a crap
4-concrete pier pilings also arent worth a crap
5-seawalls help control erosion
6-the reef saved us
We are very grateful for all the moral support from friends and thankful that we were spared the tragedy of Honduras and Nicaragua.
We still have space for Christmas holidays so come enjoy San Pedro with all
[email protected] or [email protected]
We appreciate your concern.
I can arrange all the infrastructure of supply and delivery, as well as quality control -- but am in no position to finance purchase of this amount of materials.
I have four boats lined up for transport if needed. We should order the required amount of timber and planks one time. I have at least 4 sawmills ready to start production. The trucks are ready to roll for delivery to Corozal. We have the docking facilities arranged for loading the boats.
We plan to begin shipments in 4 days from now. Each boat on this run will make one load every two days. Each load should be sufficient to build at least 84 ft of 6 ft wide docking. Of course, all other sizes are available. Chris has suggested using timber for posts as well. He says he uses a special plastic coating that has proven effective in keeping the worms off.
Please have any interested parties contact me directly at 04-35213 (501-4-35213 - international number). They will have to advance the raw cost of materials. We are just expediting.
It would be preferable that all parties interested in acquiring material for docks contact me in the next 24 hrs. I need to know exact details of your list of materials required.
It is rather hectic to arrange at such notice -- but surprisingly, everything is falling into place very well.
I know Journey's End having already made delivery there in the past.
|LINKS TO HURRICANE MITCH INFORMATION:||http://hurricane.terrapin.com/ATL-13A/index.html|
http://www.gbm.hn/ - Government of Honduras, Office of the President
http://www.copeco.hondunet.net/index.html - COPECO, the Permanent Emergency Commission
Summary Data on Hurricane Mitch
Sources: CODER, COPECO y SETCO.
PAHO Office in Nicaragua
Comisi¸n Nacional de Emergencias
Other Sources of Information:
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