After the storm passed through Placencia, we heard that San Pedro on Ambergris Caye was heavily damaged by the fury of Hurricane Earl. Having been in Placencia when the storm hit, we were without electricity, making it difficult to get an accurate take on how the rest of the country had weathered the storm. I fly from Placencia, with stops in Dangriga, Belize City, and Caye Caulker, before arriving in San Pedro. The island of Caye Caulker; a smaller and less populated island near Ambergris Caye also suffered damage to their docks and dive shops. After landing in San Pedro, it was devestating to see the damage that Earl had left behind. The expansive docks that lined the east side of the island we’re either completely obliterated, or severely damaged. Beach bars, dive shops, and spa companies were reduced to rubble that were scattered up and down the beach. The hardest hit area seems to be the beaches near the center of town. Palapa Bar, which recently relocated closer to the town center is completely gone. Ramons Dive shop, docks and beach decking was reduced to rubble and now sits in front of the resort.After arriving last night, it was obvious many people evacuated the island when news warned of the severity of the upcoming storm. The ones who weathered the storm were starting the process of removing debris and cleaning beaches. As devastating as this seems, we were amazed at the resilience of the Belizean people. The attitude of “no worries, we’ll rebuild” was overheard several times as we walked along the beach into town. Yes, there is major damage, but the little island will recover.
Although people were out and about last night, there was a sense of sadness and a feeling that maybe Earl has done irreparable damage. Will there be the same hustle and bustle, traffic jams of golf carts and bicycles along the streets? People stopping in the local markets, fruit stands and beach bars, just to hang out or say Hi to the neighbor you haven’t seen since your last trip to the island? The devastation was making me wonder as we walked home last night.
I awoke this morning to the rumble of golf carts heading into town. It was amazing! I could smell the corner BBQ as he heated up the grill for his weekend BBQ specials. We took our bikes into town along the stretch of beach that suffered the most damage. Groups of people were working on docks. Trucks filled with limbs and debris were over flowing and headed out of town. Golf cart were filling the streets, bikes were darting down the narrow streets of town and the smell of the infamous “Bakers” cinnamon rolls were a good sign that this little island is coming back!
Along with the devastation we saw yesterday…..these sights were breathtaking as they too are shots from the beaches of Ambergris Caye…just two short days after Hurricane Earl.