Hurricane Isaac

Reading my Lonely Planet guide before coming down here, i found out that August is peak hurricane season around here. The weather has been pretty good though – sometimes it rains at night and in the early morning, but it’s otherwise sunny, and of course very warm and humid. All that until a few days ago, when we heard that tropical depression #9 had formed not very far away from us.. We watched as it developed from a tropical depression to a tropical storm, and waited to see it if it would go on to become hurricane Isaac (there’s an alphabetical list of hurricane names until 2017, and tropical storms take the next name in line as they become hurricanes – so Isaac was the 9th depression this year to become a hurricane, even though – spoiler alert – it did get downgraded into a simple tropical storm again somewhere along the way…)

The storm/hurricane would not actually go through the Virgin Islands, but was expected to pass quite close to us on Aug. 22 (my birthday!) and 23rd, so we were told that we’d have to evacuate the campsite for its passage – so this turned out to be quite an adventurous birthday! After a pre-birthday/pre-hurricane surprise party organised by m. in our tent (i had such a good time! m. even got the chef to make me a little cake, and the girls from the art department made a pretty pretty happy birthday garland), we all started getting ready to evacuate.

Before leaving the campsite, we had to make sure all tents were prepared for the storm, so as to minimize the damages – so we all went around the camp helping “hurricane” everything.

All glass windows were boarded up:

Boarding up the windows

Protecting the reception windows

In the tents, everything had to be safely stacked as far away from the windows as possible. All blinds had to be rolled up so as not to get torn by the strong winds, and doors had to be tied with zip-ties so as to prevent them from banging:

Securing the tent door

All the mattresses had to be propped up on the bed frames (to allow the water to drip down to the floor in case they get wet), and everything had to be bagged or stored in plastic containers (in order to prevent things flying around in the wind) and stored as far away from the front windows as possible:

Hurricane-proof tent

It was a very interesting process, and kind of exciting! By that time i was becoming really curious to see what a tropical storm/hurricane would be like….

We left the camp on the morning of my birthday (four day weekend, woohoo!). A couple of friends are currently house-sitting for a gorgeous villa on the other side of the island, and we were lucky enough to be able to stay with them while waiting for the storm to pass – we had a couple of very nice dinners (we tried our first sloppy joes, and m. made his famous Yorkshire pudding), and the guys even made some awesome funfetti cupcakes for my birthday (we ate about five each and now cannot move anymore…). We also enjoyed the hot showers (no warm water at Maho, not that you need it, but still…), learned how to play a card game called yuker (lots of fun), watched movies and Louis Theroux documentaries, and, most importantly, got to catch up on the blog (the connection at Maho is so slow that it’s practically impossible).

 As for the storm, it was much less intimidating than i expected it to be (then again, it never became a hurricane after all). It became very windy and it rained a lot at around 8.30 in the morning of the 23rd, which was actually the time it was closest to us:

Strong winds

That lasted about an hour – as soon as the storm moved on on its way to Haiti, Cuba and Florida (where it is likely to cause trouble for the republicans!) it all calmed down. The whole thing was much less exciting than expected, but it was still fun to get a couple of days off work and spend them in a nice villa, and get to hang out with nice new people. I have to say it was a pretty cool birthday!

Comments

  1. Happy hurricane birthday!!!!!!

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