November 2008

In a few hours that is!  As of December 1st, the 2008 hurricane season will be in the history books and finished.  It was rough!  Here in Cayman we had four systems to deal with; two of them being serious threats, one quite far away and one passing as a tropical depression before becoming a Hurricane and hitting Texas.

So to recap :

1. Dolly in July

2. Gustav in August

3. Ike in September

4. Paloma in November

I think I speak for all the residents here when I say that we are very pleased that its over.  Its extremely stressful!

On the home front and because of the hot weather we have here, we have to shave our Husky mix since she is used to the snow and cold of the Canadian winters.  So every 2 weeks or so we shave her to take off a good amount of her coat.

Here she is before today’s visit to the “Micho salon” 🙂

15 minutes later ; the small mountain of fur I shaved off.

After ; a lot lighter color.  Not a huge difference visually, but she definitely seems to appreciate it when we do it.  Also, whatever we take off there will not end up on our floor since she sheds a LOT.  She is very easy to shave; she lies down on the ceramic and lets me do it.  I “flip” her over when I need to do the other side.  Great dog 🙂

The inlaws arrive next friday for an extended Christmas vacation and Christmas lights seems to be going up around the island!  Pictures to come in the next week or so.

Immediately after Paloma, we had some guests over. Yves (a former co-worker of Julie) and his gf Jennifer were scheduled to arrive on the Friday but their flight was canceled.  So they arrived on the Monday following Paloma.
On the Wednesday, only 5 or so days after the passing of the storm they went to Stingray city. For those who have seen our past pictures of stingray city or who have been, you know that the water out there is clear and blue.  Well, this time it was different, big time.

Below you can see Yves & Jennifer definitely having a great time with a friendly ray, but the storm “churned” up the bottom and turned the usually Cristal clear water to a muddy brown that is not unlike the Thames river in London!  Sorry guys … next time you need to come outside of hurricane season! 😉

Two more days until the “official” end of hurricane season ; not a day too soon it you ask me! According to a web site I read, hurricane season is set to encompass 97% of all tropical activity.  That website also had some interesting wisdom about hurricane season:

June- too soon.
July– stand by!
August– look out you must.
September– remember.
October, all over.

Not sure why they do not include November!

Since Paloma, the weather here has been quite cool.  Not cold, but very cool which is actually great for a few reasons.  I am sure the tourists here would not agree since with the cool weather there has been a good dose of wind that has made for very choppy seas and not that much sun.  Why is the cool weather great? First, utility costs ; when its hot, the electricity bill is huge because of frequent use of air conditioning.  For the last two weeks, I cant recall when we last used the a/c. Secondly, after the crazy heat of July & August, a nice breeze  and low humidity is definitely welcome.  Finally, with cooler weather, we get cooler water … hurricanes like very warm water.

One picture from right after Paloma … Julie looking for some bread at the local supermarket.  Obviously stock was low since people took supplies before the storm.

Here was my drive to work one morning. It went down to 23 degrees but by the time I got to my parking it was back to 24.  For you Fahrenheit people, 23c is equal to +- 73f which is quite cool for here. I saw some locals with jackets on!

Upon arrival to my parking space ; the sunrise!  Nice, but probably means that I get to work a bit too early 🙂

A final thing.  Why is this chicken on my roof? Its looking down at something and does not look like it wants to come down.

Here is the explanation.  My Husky Aipa spotted this chicken and chased it.   It took flight to the roof and took refuge there.

Guests arrriving in a few weeks for the Christmas period.  Hope it does get a tad warmer so that they can enjoy the beach & ocean.

(Note : I made another post about Grand Cayman a few minutes ago.  See “Hurricane Paloma – The end” below)

I thinks its worth taking a few moments to talk about the sisters Islands ; Cayman Brac & Little Cayman.  Grand Cayman was fortunate ; the sisters islands were not lucky at all.  Our thoughts are with them.  The storm changed to a Category 4 and took an eastern turn which caused havoc in our sister islands.  The situation is grim.

Here is a abstract from today’s Caymanian compass about the Sister Islands situation:

Cayman Islands’ national airline announced that voluntary evacuations would begin from Cayman Brac Sunday, if conditions and space permitted, for residents who wished to travel to Grand Cayman. Cayman Airways officials said the flights would be free of charge and offered over the next four days “as operations permit.”

Hurricane Paloma left a trail of destruction on both Little Cayman and Cayman Brac after striking the islands early Saturday with sustained winds of up to 140mph, and higher gusts. Entire houses were destroyed in the storm and many other structures had their roofs damaged or ripped off entirely. There were injuries reported on the Sister Islands Saturday, but no deaths. District officials were in the process of determining which Sister Islands’ residents might have to be relocated to Grand Cayman because they had nowhere to stay. It was unknown how many people had been left homeless by the storm.

For some pictures of this disaster, please see which appear to have been taken by someone in a private airplane. The newspapers do not seem to even have these pictures since it is my understanding that planes are not able to land on the islands yet because of flooding & debris.

Here is a terrifying YouTube video I found from the Brac

The Caymanian Compass

Hurricane Paloma became a category 4 Friday night. While we were at the office, there were no way of knowing what was going on outside because it was totally dark outside and the windows are so thick we could barely hear the wind.

The all clear was given at 7am Saturday morning.  What a relief! Julie & I made it back home around 9am. On the drive home and upon arrival we were amazed at how little damage there was.

In a nutshell, some uprooted trees, lots of palm leaves, some isolated flooding, some roof shingles. We did not see any major damage at all.  The groceries were open at 10 and even street vendors selling fruit were out in the afternoon.  Its almost as if nothing happened ; I must admin ; I am stunned by this.  We were expecting it to be so bad.  In any case, great news.  The people of Little Cayman & Cayman Brac may not be so lucky though.

After putting our lives back together for most of the morning and afternoon ; taking down some of the shutters, turning the water back on, unboxing the electronics, putting back up the satellite dish, etc, we went for a drive around the eastern end of the island to see how they did.

Near the airport. This was a very typical scene ; about 2-3 inches of water across the street. I must have passed through 10 like these today.

A tree down in a roundabout.  Another typical scene. Minor stuff …

They are building a house next to ours.  The wooden frames used to pour concrete were lying there and I did not like it that they were not secured.  So in the rain on Thursday night, I put about 50 concrete blocks (see pile on the left) onto those wooden frames.  I was afraid the wind would pick them up and toss them onto my house or damage another house. It was no fun, but someone had to do it.

Although the house was fine, the trees in front are pretty much toast. We called the landlady to send over someone with a chainsaw.

Here I am with the massive satellite dish. Of course my Blackberry rang when Julie was taking the picture.

This poor guys yard is completely flooded.

For Julie & I, these pics sum up Paloma for us ; lots of water.  There was so much water where the kept the cows that their legs were completely in the water.  They did not seem annoyed or panicked at all. In the second picture the cows is eating leaves.  When we passed again about 1h later the farmer had already mooooved them.  Alright, that was not even funny! 🙂

The beach cabana on the east end beach took a beating!  That beach is (I believe) the most eastern point of the island, so the closest point to Paloma’s eye.

On the north side, the palms got hammered.  Will grow back though.

I have added a bunch of pictures like these to my Gallery.  Too many to put here.  If you would like to see them, they are at :

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