This morning I needed (and wanted) to run +-15km in preparation for the 1/2 Marathon in 2-weeks time.

Instead of doing my regular run, I drove to the East End, while it was still dark, to see the sunrise and then my run.  It was a bit cloudy (and quite windy) but still managed to get some nice shots.

I also tried my hand a doing a time capture.  Not bad!  Its a bit shaky but with the wind it was difficult to keep my phone standing up.  Decent result for a first try.  As you can see, quite a bit of cloud cover and the wind was moving them along swiftly.

And then the run, mostly along the Queens Highway – the end and the northern side of Grand Cayman and past the Reef Resort & Morritts. Only saw a few cars, 1 cyclist and one other runner.   Nice & quiet run.

 

Well, this summer & fall, the Caribbean sure has been getting it! In the Cayman Islands, we have been very fortunate not to have a hurricane come too close to us.

That being said, Tropical Storm Philippe came quite close to us this week-end. In fact, we got something like 50mm (around 2 inches) of rain on Saturday alone.  The ocean was also very rough as you can see in the video below, which I took near the Burger King in George Town.

On the road on Sunday morning, blue skies, but BIG puddles everywhere.

Definitely no boating or snorkeling today!

But, in an amazing 180 change, Sunday, less than 24 later was blue skies and fabulous weather.

So this week-end was the annual 10-10-10 relay race in the East-End. I really like this event since running in the East is peaceful and always different from running in town.  I usually opt for the last leg since its the most scenic, even though by the time I get to run the sun is up and it is quite hot.  But, nothing a white hat & shirt cant help manage.

So I started at the Green spot and ran till the … Red.  My two team mates also had 10k each to complete the loop which started at the Red spot and went counter-clockwise.

My colleague Dan and I at the finish (the 3rd runner had to go home)  We did get a bit of a chuckle today. Although we won 2nd Corporate team (yay!) and did quite good, Dan had a small incident.  He arrived at +-6:45 at the location to start leg-2 and realized he forgot his running shoes.  So he ran 10k in socks & flip flops.  Amazingly, he ran the 10k in around 53 minutes which in my opinion is nothing short of spectacular all things considered.

On the way back I took a few pictures.  Here is by far my favorite house in Grand Cayman.  Its on the North Side and is currently for sale for a cool 4.2M$US.  It is on a “bluff” and there are stairs down to the ocean where you can go snorkeling in a reef protected area behind the house.  Pretty neat.

This Spanish style house is being built near Bodden Town.  The picture does not do it justice, but its massive.  No idea who is building this house which I would guess will cost north of 5M$US.  Still a few months to go before it is finished.

One more month till Hurricane season is over.  Lets hope that is the end of it now.  Looking forward to going diving soon 🙂

So Hurricane Irma is now in the history books and we will never see her again.  In fact, when a storm is catastrophic, the name is “retired” and will never be used again.  Hurricane Ivan and Katrina are good example of this.  Good riddance.

So Irma caused major damage on, by my count, 8 nations/states.   Barbuda, Anguilla, BVI, USVI, Turks & Caicos, Cuba & Florida.  That is quite a destructive system, so many lives have been upended.   A number of friends from BVI are in the process of leaving the island due to not having a place to live and some, who work in the tourism industry, simply have no work/job since it will be months before tourists and hotels are able to welcome guests again.  In the TCI, where I “escaped” 24h before Irma, there are over 500 utility poles down on the island of Providenciales, so recovery will take a while. On the island of Grand Turk, sadly there is still almost no news 4 days after the storm.  It looks like Irma leveled all communications there.

On that, here are some more wave videos from this week-end in Cayman.  On Sunday, the waves were spectacular.  I felt lucky that was all we got and that I got out before the storm in TCI, all while thinking of my friends who were not so lucky.

Here was the scene in West Bay at “Macabuca” – always a favorite to see big waves.

This one is from Smith Cove.  I had never seen such big waves at this location.


So that was Irma.   Lets hope the rest of the 2017 hurricane season is quiet.  The statistical peak of the season was … yesterday Sept 10th.

News from the Turks and Caicos Island is trickling through. So far we know that they have sustained major damage.  Moments ago the crew of the Royal Cayman Island Police Service, which dispatched the police helicopter to TCI to assist with the recovery efforts,  posted this heartbreaking picture of Providenciales. 🙁   My decision to leave before the hurricane was definitely the right one.

So Irma is passing Cayman – not as far as initially expected though, which to me is a bit of a surprise. Note the satellite picture below and Cayman in red.  As you can see, the system is nearing Florida, but since it is so huge, we are getting the outer bands.  The outer bands do not require any preparation or need to worry for us.

Due to the storm, all airlines need to get their planes out of the way before it hits.  Since Cayman is fairly close to Miami, a few of them based in Florida opted to store their planes at our airport.  Of course, being a small airport, we cant expect American Airlines to place all of their planes here.  But we do have approximately 9 “foreign” aircrafts here, mainly cargo planes.

The apron is quite full of planes! Lots of them from “IBC”, a cargo company.

 

These are also cargo planes.  Odd looking 1950’s Corvair’s 🙂

I made a few video’s of the waves – since this morning the wind has picked up and the wave action is quite intense.  A small craft warning is in effect and the police also advised that no diving/swimming be done this week-end.  Based on what you will see below, seems like a no-brainer to avoid the water.

This first video is from the southern coast.

This one is from George town on the West side.

I had to go to the office this morning for a few hours.  So I got “artsy” and tried out the time lapse function on my phone.  Not a bad result. As you can see, a decent amount of wind and lots of clouds.  Irma is spinning counter clockwise so from west to east. We are looking east here as you will see.  This 22 second video is about 1h in “real time”

So that’s it.  Irma did not affect the Cayman Islands a part from some of the stuff you saw above. At this hour, Irma is approaching Florida, especially its west (Gulf) coast.  Seems like each place Irma has gone, I have friends and some kind of connection. In fact I have a few friends in Florida that are riding it out. Also, seems like Irma will greatly affect the city of Naples.  As a kid, I recall my family going there at Christmas when I was 8-12 years old.  There is a pier there where I would go fishing.  I even went back there a few years ago with Julie. Great memories. I hope it will be still there when the storm is over.

A few days ago I posted about Hurricane Irma getting closer to the Turks & Caicos Islands, where I was for work.  I am glad to say that I made it out, and without a moment to spare.  This page is a quick summary of my escape.  That being said, my ordeal is nothing compared to what has happened to the folks in Barbuda, St-Martin, St-Barts, Anguilla & the BVI so far – I am sure you have all seen pictures ; so sad. Over the years I have made many friends in these islands and am worried for them.  For long time readers of this blog, you know I love animals. I’m also thinking about the flamingos, donkeys & many, many other kinds of animals which will be affected by this monster storm.

As of typing this, the storm is passing over the Turks & Caicos Island.  The eye is almost passed Grand Turk where I was Sunday-Tuesday (“Cockburn town” on picture below) and will get to Providenciales a bit later tonight, where I was until yesterday late afternoon.  I am sure that by tomorrow afternoon pictures will start to emerge on social media. I am worried about what they may look like.  The most scary forecast is the storm surge ; which is extra height the “regular” tide can get.  For the TCI, it is a whopping 15-20ft.  In essence, places near the ocean may be underwater.

As of right now in the TCI. 🙁  This is essentially a direct hit.

So back to Providenciales.  Yesterday afternoon.  Lots of people catching a flight out.  Although busy, things were happening in an orderly fashion.  No panicking!

These were the last flights to Canada & the US.

These are the last InterCaribbean flights to Jamaica! If not on one of these planes, you are out of luck.  So I was lucky that I booked the last flight out.  I was quite nervous ; I got to the airport 4h before the flight was scheduled.  I guess I was concerned of getting “bumped” or that they decide to leaver earlier due to the incoming storm, etc.  Anyway, I had never been so happy to have a boarding pass in my hands.

So my flight to Kingston Jamaica, apparently the last one, left just before 5pm and the airport officially closed at 6pm.  The picture below is next morning, today (Sept 7th) from Kingston Jamaica.  The entire InterCaribbean fleet is now here.  For obvious reasons, they will not leave them in the TCI.  They will return one the airport has been reopened and the will likely carry supplies with them.

Finally, my ride back to Cayman.   Since my route back to Cayman was unusual – normally I would have flown back to Cayman via Miami, I had to spend the night in Kingston and this morning catch the daily Cayman Airways flight back to Cayman.

After all of this, this was a sight sore eyes!

Not sure if I will post again about Irma. Cayman, a part from maybe some rain this week-end, will not have any impact.

An important note: If you chose to make a donation to any relief effort, please make sure you are giving to a legit organization/charity.  After Hurricane Harvey in the US, may online scams/emails were circulating.  So best to make sure your are giving to a cause that will actually help the people in need.

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