The Power of the Surge: Category One Hurricane Earl’s Mark on North Ambergris Caye

I arrived back in San Pedro late yesterday afternoon to power on the island (the good news) and a huge, heartbreaking mess on the beach.  We made our way up north and this morning I took a walk (and a wade) – from the house at Mile 7 down to about Mile 6 on North Ambergris Caye.

Before that, a few pictures of the very swollen rivers on the mainland that I flew over – especially around Spanish Lookout where all the land is cleared for farming.

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Trees all down or submerged in the muddy water.

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On Ambergris Caye, I am absolutely amazed how powerful the storm surge was – even a Category One storm, even with our barrier reef.

Here are some pictures.

The house is about 250 feet back from the ocean with lots of trees and shrubs in between.  Now this…

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X’tan Ha Resort, her dock, dive shop, bar and beach took a beating.

Pictures before the storm.

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Now the beach bar is gone.

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The dive shop is down the beach…or some of it.IMG_5823 IMG_5824 IMG_5825

Looking back.

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Continuing south…IMG_5828

So many coconut trees toppled.

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Diamond Reef Condos.

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The mess from their above ground pool deck.

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18 Degrees North.  The pool, which is full of sand, is now being drained and cleaned.  Even the visitors are helping.  The dock has seen better days.

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Casa Rana.  The house looks good but the dock…not so much.

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And down to Costa Blu Resort (the old Costa Maya) which just re-opened this year after being closed for years.  IMG_5847

The end of the dock and second palapa gone.  The dive shop tilting at the end.IMG_5848

The pool bar before

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That collapsed completely.IMG_5850 IMG_5851 IMG_5852

The Belikin cooler still there.IMG_5853 IMG_5854 IMG_5855 IMG_5856

On the way back.

IMG_5871South, the beach is just covered in sea grass and debris.  Amazing how far pieces of Costa Blu and Xtan Ha have washed.

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And down to the beautiful and HUGE Casa Pisces.  The dock is wonky but the palapa roof seems to be intact.

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Hol Chan Marine Reserve markers (from Mexico Rock – just off shore in this area) on someone’s front steps.

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The damage is ugly, for sure, but we are SO LUCKY that this storm didn’t linger out at sea any longer to gain strength or over us any longer to do more damage.

Let’s hope we never see it.

IMG_5879Clean-up is already happening – full force – and the best way to help the island is to NOT cancel your visit.  To come, spend money in this beautiful place and boost the economy.

We are going to need it.

I have lots more ground to cover today – I’ll be reporting back.

For more pictures in Tres Cocos area (1 mile north of town) and in town AND the rebuilding effort, please see Bob’s great blog.





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  • Susan

    Thanks Rebecca, great reporting and photos as always!

  • Billizer

    Great pictures, Rebecca. Thanks!! Looking forward to the recovery process.

  • I’m still amazed by the strength of this storm. I remember seeing so many businesses and individuals removing every third board from docks for much less severe storms and wonder if that was not done as much for this storm, or if it was just so intense that that wouldn’t have made a difference. So sad!

  • Annalisa

    Thank you for this update! I’ll be visiting Belize in about a week, so your posts have been extremely helpful to let me and my group know what to expect when we arrive -especially after the storm. Looking forward to helping by spending our dollars and also lending a helping hand where we can 🙂

  • Debbie

    So sorry to see Belize hit by the storm, I was there in March and absolutely loved it. My thoughts and prayers are with you all. ♡

  • Leah June Nelson

    We will be there in September and nothing could damper our excitement about being in your beautiful country. Thank you for keeping us all in the know.