Category: "Dominica"

Hurricane Maria - 2017

December 21st, 2017
Hurricane Maria - 2017

After only 3 weeks on the island, and only 3 days after Annette arrived to join me in our new home, Hurricane Maria raged over the island and destroyed much of the island's infrastructure and way of life. I had posted a satellite photo (above) showing how close Maria was to Dominica and told everyone not to worry. The blue line indicates the island. We didn't think much of it and fully believed that in the next day or so, we would go back to work and forget about Maria. 

Hurricane Maria - 2017
An aerial view of our villa complex.

However, upon waking after a long night in the bathroom hiding from the worst of the storm, we saw how much our little world had changed.

Hurricane Maria - 2017
The beautiful fan palm in front of our villa before the storm.
Hurricane Maria - 2017
The beautiful fan palm in front of our villa after the storm.

We checked on our neighbours below to see how they fared. Luckily, they were little worse for wear than we were, however their balcony fan did take a beating.

Hurricane Maria - 2017
Rachel and Gaby's fan beat against the ceiling

Our other neighbour was also fine, however her spectacular view over the Caribbean was even more exposed, and perhaps more spectacular.

Hurricane Maria - 2017
View over the Caribbean before the storm
Hurricane Maria - 2017
View over the Caribbean after the storm

 Once we ascertained that everyone in our compound was okay, we ventured out to discover fallen power lines...

Hurricane Maria - 2017
Fallen power lines near our flat

... holes and washouts in the road...

Hurricane Maria - 2017
Holes and washouts

... and the bridge near our flat collapsed.

Hurricane Maria - 2017
Collapsed bridge
Hurricane Maria - 2017
Road near the bridge overcome with fallen trees

Past the bridge, the road north toward the campus, 20 KMs away, was covered in debris...

Hurricane Maria - 2017
Road covered in debris
Hurricane Maria - 2017
Iguana hiding spots were blown away

... and the little village of Coulibistre was almost washed away.

Hurricane Maria - 2017
Village of Coulibistre

We spent several days in our villa waiting for news and devising an escape plan. However, before we had a chance to implement our plan, the university sent a rescue team by fishing boat to get us from our village and bring us up to the campus.

Hurricane Maria - 2017
Our villa complex from the water

Once we started up the coast, we then realized the full extent of the damage...

Hurricane Maria - 2017
The Sunset Bar - our new 'local'
Hurricane Maria - 2017
Debris in front of the bar

Many of the villages were devastated. Debris was blown up the mountains leaving a trail behind the villages.

Hurricane Maria - 2017
Trail of debris

 Other infrastructure was damaged beyond repair.

Hurricane Maria - 2017
A bent cell tower

Dominica does not have any enclosed harbours so most boats were actually moved to neighbouring islands. This one was not.

Hurricane Maria - 2017
Washed up

 Once we arrived at the campus, we were able to talk to others to get their stories of what happened to them during the storm. We discovered that...

Hurricane Maria - 2017
More than one roof blew off
Hurricane Maria - 2017
Another roof
Hurricane Maria - 2017
Many beautiful trees were stripped of leaves
Hurricane Maria - 2017
Many beautiful trees were stripped of branches as well

... and that evacuation efforts were well under way.

Hurricane Maria - 2017
Preparing to evacuate

The US were airlifting people and conducting various emergency efforts. They also took those students who were willing to pay to get off right away.

Hurricane Maria - 2017
Fly over

However, most of us were evacuated by an old cruise ship. It could only take about 350 people at a time and we were on the second trip. After several days of sleeping in my office, we finally were tendered out to the ship...

Hurricane Maria - 2017
The tender bringing us out
Hurricane Maria - 2017
Not unlike sardines
Hurricane Maria - 2017
Even people's pets were evacuated

From here, it was an overnight trip to St. Lucia where we were finally flown out to Miami. We arrived in Miami on September 28th, 10 days after the hurricane.


Below are a few more photos from Dominica.

Hurricane Maria - 2017
No more leaves
Hurricane Maria - 2017
The neighbour's banana garden
Hurricane Maria - 2017
Before and after from a student
Hurricane Maria - 2017
Before and after from a student
Location: Dominica, Dominica

Hello Dominica

July 14th, 2017
Hello Dominica

In June just past, we paid a short visit to what has turned out to be our new home. I felt like an undercover agent because we snuck off without telling anyone of our plans and then flew to the opposite side of the planet (not quite , but very close).

Flying into Dominica is a dramatric and exciting experience as the plane heads straight into a green forest and then lands on a short strip. We were greeted by the university driver who then took us to Portsmouth and more specifically, Picard where we were to stay for a week.

After a range of interviews at Ross over a couple days...

Hello Dominica
Ross University entrance gate
Hello Dominica
Ross University nestled in at the base of the hills

we took a tour of the island to view housing options...

Hello Dominica
I'm sorry, what did you say - I was staring out at the sea...

and to see what there was to be had in the shops. Before that, we started with breakfast in Le Flambeau.

Hello Dominica
Le Flambeau - this was not breakfast just in case you were wondering

 This seaside restaurant has it all...

Hello Dominica
Coconut palm trees blowing in the wind

Beach and ocean views...

Hello Dominica
Looking north towards Portsmouth

And amazing sunsets towards the west...

Hello Dominica
Sunset to the west

We went up and down the coast and were delighted to see some wonderful birds, one of the great things about our current home in Australia!

Hello Dominica
Okay, not exotic, but colourful
Hello Dominica
This was more exotic - not sure what it is!

I also noted that virtually every tree here grows edible fruit.

Hello Dominica
Coconuts for electrolytes
Hello Dominica
Breadfruit - flour substitute?
Hello Dominica
Mangoes - so many they fall off into the street and get run over by cars
Hello Dominica
Plaintains - the big banana

The volcanic and mountainous nature of the island gives it some awesome beaches...

Hello Dominica
Scotts head on the southern tip
Hello Dominica
Soufriere - fisherman's beach along the village
Hello Dominica
Beach along the Sisters Restaurant in Portmouth - our new 'local'

... and stunning backdrops.

Hello Dominica
On the Atlantic side - see any pirates or Johnny Depp?
Hello Dominica
Mountain backdrop

Dominica, being volcanic, has hot and cold springs bubbling all over the island.

 The springs above are surprisingly cold, but there is a 'boiling lake' elsewhere that we have not explored yet. That will be my next post!

 Not surprisingly, the British were here and left a few cannon lying around to attract tourists.

Hello Dominica
Fort Shirley and the Bluff Point Gun Battery

 Being tourists, we felt it a good place for a selfie.

Hello Dominica
Life is about to change!

After eating some of this...

Hello Dominica
Fresh tuna straight from the sea

at this little restaurant...

Hello Dominica
What was this place called - I'll go back and check!

we determined that perhaps we need to finally get a nice fishing boat to cruise these waters fishing for Lion fish and other tasty treats.

Hello Dominica
Good fishing spot?
Hello Dominica
Spear fishing for Lion fish

Where are you going for your next winter get away?

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Location: Portsmouth (2), Saint John Parish, Dominica, Dominica