Hurricane Irma and Maria Updates

The following are written updates of the effect Hurricane Irma and Maria had on our lovely Seasongs Cottage. Fortunately, there was no real damage to the interior of the house.

Read below for a play-by-play of the hurricane aftermath and photos showing the island's destruction. Our hearts go out to all that were impacted.

September 11, 2017

All of us are very grateful there was no loss of life or injuries that we know of on Grand Turk because of Hurricane Irma last week.

We know very little. There is very little word about Grand Turk anywhere that we can access. There are a precious few comments on Facebook and no pictures, yet. Power is off. We have heard everyone on the island is safe. Importantly, we do not know the extent of the flooding. The airport in Provo is open to commercial flights as of this morning and the Grand Turk Airport is supposedly open for emergency services, only, so far. One neighbor got off a quick sat phone call yesterday. Their house is two doors down and much more vulnerable to flooding than Seasongs and they are OK so I am hopeful.

I have a flight booked for September 27th, myself. We do know the eyewall of the storm passed 38 miles south of Grand Turk and estimated winds were supposedly about 100 MPH, so this was not nearly as bad as Ike in 2008. It sounds like the electrical and phone utilities are busy trying to get everything back working and the shipping port is open and there are food and fuel deliveries this week so I'm speculating we will be back to normalcy in a few months. 

I will post more information here as we receive it, especially pictures.

September 14, 2017

There is progress being made in parts of the Turks and Caicos to restore power and get basic services running again. Clearly the islands are trashed. The few green leaves left are mostly palm trees. The airports are open but only some airlines are operating flights to TCI. Jet Blue is flying to Provo via Ft. Lauderdale. Caicos Express is flying their regular schedule to Grand Turk. I was able to book flights for the end of September.

There is little word about power being restored to most of Grand Turk. Fortis has made good progress to many areas on Provo, but on Grand Turk, most everywhere is still without power.

We have great news about Seasongs. Per Facebook posts, it looks like Seasongs fared better than most and has no apparent damage. Anita opened the house and there was “not a drop of moisture” inside. I’m sure I will have a lot of yard work when I arrive in two weeks, however.

More and more Facebook posts show both stills and video of what Grand Turk looks like post Irma. It is not pretty. Compared to St Martin and the BVI, we look salvageable, however. Hopefully, all is well enough that we have some kind of peak season for visitors this winter. The water still looks fine!

I will keep posting updates and when I get to the island, photos.

September 19, 2017

We are getting ready for a repeat performance. Hurricane Maria is threatening. After Irma’s arrival on Friday, September 8th, we are now looking, two weeks later, for Maria to come by this Friday, the 22nd. We have kept the storm shutters closed.

Seasongs survived Irma without a drop of moisture inside according to Anita. We probably fared the best of any of the homes along West Road. All our fences and gutters are down and the trees took quite a beating. Anita couldn’t reach the front door initially. That mess is now all cleaned up. There is no power yet and only Lime has cell service up, but people are coping and putting the island back together. There is a large military and police presence helping the clean up.

We will keep you posted on the latest news. I’m still hoping to get to Grand Turk on the 27th, weather and flight availability permitting.

September 25, 2017

Well our luck ran out. Some of the roof covering is gone. A small piece of the shed was damaged. The ocean got in a little under the front door. A lot of the rain gutters are gone (that’s our water supply catcher). We are not alone. Unfortunately, Maria decided to amble along slowly and took about 12 hours to pass through, to the great infortune of our island.  Probably most of the structures on the island sustained significant damage.  

There will be a lot of work to do. I’m headed out a week later now, on October 3rd. I think it is fair to say the 2017-2018 tourist season is probably out of the question. There is no power and services are scant. The British government is warning against all travel to Grand Turk for the immediate future. Availability of food and water and other basic services are uncertain. Provo and the other islands largely escaped Maria, fortunately.

The damage along Front Street is appalling. The library looks like it was bombed.

The parking lot next to where Sanbar used to be is a real sand bar, without the old seawall.

We will rebuild. It will take an extraordinary effort but it will be worth it.

October 8, 2017

I am lathered in patchouli oil based organic mosquito repellant and working in 95 degree tropical conditions cleaning up and making repairs at Seasongs. I smell like a camper at a Grateful Dead concert. I feel like I’m in a new reality dealing with how to exist in this post hurricane place.  If you don’t show up early at the fish market you do not have any meat for the next day because what little is to be found at the market is either not appealing and/or ridiculously priced. If you do get there in time you eat lobster or red snapper. There is no refrigeration so you eat in the moment.  What has not been reported in the news is many of the homes here are reliant on roof catchment cisterns made out of concrete. Many of those cisterns lost their roofs and cracked and leaked all their water out. Local masonry practices are not the best. Getting water is a real issue here. There are a lot of people without weatherproof homes too. It’s quite a mess. Looking across the back salina ( Because the fence blew down and we now have a back view) I can see five new power poles topped with orange vested, white hatted Fortis workers busily getting power to the hospital. Our turn will be soon. I saw a few flamingos looking quite normal today in the Salina by the airport. Evidently many of them didn’t make it during the last storm. It was too much.

Seasongs did quite well considering the forces it endured. Inside the house is pretty much the same. There was no damage from Hurricane Irma which was stronger. Hurricane Maria however was a different story. We lost some roofing. Some water got inside through door cracks and the roof. The screen porch lost the screening and four support posts. It was effectively sandblasted. We will repaint tomorrow and reset the posts and as soon as long width window screen is available in Florida we will replace the screens. I had a big crew from Smitty’s yesterday doing garden cleanup. We hauled two full loads off this morning. There were pieces of tin roof lodged 12 feet up in our trees.


November 20, 2017

All is well!

We are delighted to report that all is well at Seasongs, and that Grand Turk in general is recovering from the hurricanes. Power was restored in October, which has made all the difference. Dive shops are back open, and the reports from the reefs are good. Restaurants have reopened, and the Bohio's awesome BBQ has resumed.

Everyone in Grand Turk has pulled together to set the island to rights. Rebuilding and recovery efforts work will go on for some time, and the best way to support them is to come and stay! Visiting Grand Turk Island not only brings in much-needed business, but lifts the spirits of everyone there.

For the latest on the various Island businesses and services, check out their Facebook pages.