Friday, October 26, 2012

Rafael Part 2 The Cleanup

With Hurricane Sandy headed directly for the U.S. after already killing 21 people during it's traverse through the Caribbean Islands of Jamaica, Cuba, and the Bahamas I thought it would be fitting to finish part two of Tropical Storm Rafael, which left a mess here in St. Kitts.

We sure were lucky that Sandy weaved around the western side of St. Kitts. We don't need anything else to have to clean up or any more rain for that matter.

As I said in the last post, my curiosity as a newspaper reporter got the best of me and I had to go see what kind of damage all that rain had done. I managed to get some really interesting aftermath photos.

This first picture is an interesting picture. As I drove down the bay road I came across this beautiful sailboat which apparently had washed up on the beach. The curious part was that the sail was hoisted and open. Was someone actually out in this storm in their boat? No, after asking around I learned that this boat was the same one that was seized by the St. Kitts Coast Guard and Dutch Navy on the first day of September. From what I heard the boat was being held in the customs port where it broke loose during the storm.

There she blows, The 46 foot SINESTRA PROVE! What a beautiful boat.
Read the entire news article about the boat's seizure here SKN VIBES

After further evaluation the cocaine that was seized, totaled 134 kilograms or 295 pounds worth an estimated street value of $ 11.8 million E.C, or roughly 4.3 million U.S. dollars, WOW! Good job St. Kitts Coast Guard!

Back to the cleanup. On my way to pick up Julie at Ross University in the afternoon, after the university decided to close campus, I found myself abruptly stopping in the middle of the road because of this kind gentleman in his scoop loader cleaning up the soil that had washed down from the cane fields.

Dedicated Street Worker
Once I picked Julie up we headed back to our dry second story apartment, which luckily is situated near the top of Bird Rock mountain. We would have been fine and comfy, except for that little roof leak that turned into a bigger roof leak. It's a good thing all the floors here in St. Kitts are made of cement and tile.

The living room floor after days of rain.

Yes, you can see the water didn't keep Julie and Kermit from relaxing on the couch or watching television.

Our situation could've been much worse. I heard horror stories from students and Kittitians alike about water running right out of their electric sockets, between cement blocks, and even some of Ross University's apartments flooded.

Little did Julie and I know that below us, in the apartment that was just vacated the water found it's way in through some sliding glass doors. The landlord opened the door to this:

Imagine opening the door to your house and seeing this.

Or this?

One thing I've learned about the Kittitian people since I've been here is that they are resilent people. The landlord called in a small company with two workers who pumped out all the water, vacuumed, and then cleaned the floors. A few days later all the furniture was taken out of the apartment and another gentleman installed new wooden doors that had warped from the water.

Even for Kittitians this was a lot of rain, but you didn't hear any complaining. The cleanup just pushed forward.

The following day I headed down to the Marriott's golf course that had also been flooded along with all its ponds. I drove down the road to the far end of the course and found these sump pumps pumping enormous amounts of water off the greens and onto the roads that eventually allowed the course to be dried out again.

Check out that water trap. 

The Golf Course before the cleanup. Photo Courtesy Brent Crabtree

If you have ever been to the strip in Frigate Bay, then you know where this picture was taken. This is the salt pond on the other side of the road from the bars. This picture was a few days after the rain had stopped and the level was still pretty high.

Flooded Salt Pond
I'll leave you with some photos of the cleanup from what I think is one of St. Kitt's best photographers, Keeth France. Check out more of Keeth's awesome photos on his facebook page here Keeth's Facebook Page

I want one of these.

I have one last photo that I wanted to put up to remind everyone about how powerful the water was that created this mess. Until the next blog, stay dry.

By the way. Thanks to all the readers out there reading Island Babble. On October 12th we had a record 1,875 pageviews in one day. Wow! Spread the word.