Friday, August 5, 2016

Hurricane Earl....from a Placencia perspective...

Friday morning, Belize woke up feeling very nervous, wondering what we were all going to wake up and find. NO ONE wanted the eye of Earl to go through their town, but we certainly didn't want anyone else's town hurt either! That was the sad part, rooting for it to go north for us, because then it would be hurting somewhere else. We were all so, so happy and relieved to see that there were little to no injuries. However, poor San Pedro....they took the worst hit, with most to all of their piers destroyed, and anyone who has been on Ambergris Caye, knows part of the charm of that island is walking up the coast and enjoying all the piers, palapas, dive shops, and beachfront fun. Much of it is destroyed. We still don't entirely know how bad Belize City is.

Many of us stayed riveted to Facebook all day long, and if there were ever a good use of Facebook, it is the social connections in situations like this. We knew who was on line, who talked to whom, and we were able to watch live videos of the damage in each place.

Here is what I learned about Placencia :)

1.) This village has a GOOD sense of humor. :) The number of hurricane parties, in the midst of boarding up windows and making sure that there were enough beers on hand for the night, and kindness of checking in with one another, made us all feel very connected and proud.
2.) The low stress and urgency - I have written a lot about how in the US, many people do love to find a reason to freak out and assume "worst case scenario". Here, people analyzed a bit and then took it as it came.
3.) Where there was damage in the country and in Placencia, the amount of public support and GoFundMe pages, and people having each other's backs was simply incredible.
4.) The amount of people that reached out because of past trips to Belize, was so touching. I was particularly touched by the number of past guests that wrote us to make sure we were ok. It made me so proud to be a part of a special place, where people connect so much to the village, that they wanted to be sure it was going to be ok!
5.) I was shocked by the lack of US coverage of the hurricane. If there is a hint of a storm in the US, it is breaking news all over the place - and overblown - until it becomes tiresome. This was a legit, damaging Category 1 Hurricane and Belize didn't ask for outside help, or complain that there wasn't enough coverage, or do anything but pull together and start cleaning up immediately.
6.) The resilience of the Belizean people is just really something else. If you have a moment and can do a search for #HurricaneEarl on Facebook or Google, you will see the most touching stories about how this country pulled together - no whining, just get on with it!

As for our little piece of paradise, our little palapa roofs didn't appreciate the wind, that is for sure. Our AMAZING managers Sue and Carlos not only held a party for our (super cool, adventurous, and fun) guests that braved the storm, but they had CBC cleaned up and ready to go in less than a half day. While we didn't get hit as bad as the eye of the storm, the amount of debris and clean up was truly overwhelming. And they did it all with a smile on their faces :).

Our manager Sue captured some of the images around the village the next day; anyone who has been here knows that the dreary look and the debris are just not the norm for downtown. At the bottom, some pics of CBC post clean up :). No worries if you are on your way here as the airport is back up and going, and everything is going to slowly get back to normal here. You may have disruptions for a few weeks in other parts of the country, so well worth it to reach out, if traveling to other parts is in your plans!

Pre-Storm....strange calm, even stranger colors!!!

 The colors are pretty.....but not right...
 Beautiful but eerie.
Getting rid of coconuts as they turn into missiles in the wind...
Placencia Hurricane parties!!! These were happening all over the village.

CBC Post Hurricane Earl

The village post Hurricane Earl....

Submerged boat at the pier
 Many downed trees.

This is at the pier, where one of the dive shops, Sea Horse, collapsed. 
CBC later that day....thanks to our awesome crew....guests were able to enjoy the beauty of Belize again!

We were extraordinarily lucky. Hurricanes here truly are, historically, a rare event. And we would love to keep it that way!!


  1. Whew, what a relief! Sorry that others experienced heavy damage; glad that CBC received only "glancing blows" from Earl. Thanks for posting this report and photos, Laura, as, like you, I hadn't seen any national (U.S.) coverage of the storm.

    1. Thanks Steve :). Yes it was pretty much ignored, but thankfully Belize has pulled itself together in a really impressive way!!

  2. It looks like Placencia faired better than Ambergris Caye. I'm glad the damage wasn't too devastating.