Friday, November 6, 2020

11-6-2020 Hurricane Eta Aftermath


Early November brought Hurricane Eta, which devastated parts of Nicaragua and Honduras before
turning north and skirting the coast of Belize. It brought loads of rain, which caused some flooding
in our village.

This is one of the middle roads in Hopkins. The water wasn't super deep, but you definitely don't
want to miss the road and go into the ditch on either side of it.

This is supposed to be a canal to the left of the road pictured above. Of course, it looks just the same
as the road due to the flooding.

Those of us closer to the beach had no flooding whatsoever, but as you headed inland toward the wet
grass savanna there was more flooding. This land is just one block away from where we live.

This is the main road into/out of Hopkins that crosses the wet grass savanna. Parts of it dip lower so
the water can wash over it during flooding events, which it definitely did here. Thankfully, we don't
need to leave the village anytime soon.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

10-18 to 10-20-2020 Friends Trip to Bread & Butter Cayes

Some friends organized a two night trip to Bread & Butter Cayes to take advantage of the new moon
and hopefully see even more stars than we normally see.

The day started off rainy, but then turned beautiful.

Duane, one of the island owners, broke out some fireball for everyone.
However, he thought one person in our group was being a baby about drinking
it, so he poured it in a baby bottle for him, lol.

We did get some rain during the trip, but that did not stop us from dancing and having a blast.

A beautiful heron came and visited us on the brand new dock (built after Hurricane Nana destroyed
the old one).

There was plenty of relaxing time during the days after our late nights.

Eric took the obligatory nap in a hammock - super peaceful.

Some of us went swimming/floating around the island, and others went out fishing via paddleboard.

We enjoyed some nice sunsets.

As you can see, we way overpacked for a two night trip, lol.

We all had a fabulous time and hope to do it again soon.

Sunday, October 4, 2020

10-4-2020 Lonely Sunday Beach Walk

We pretty much got out of the habit of our Sunday beach walks for many months because it's just so different now. Most of the places we would stop at for drinks and/or snacks have been closed, and even the ones that are open, it's just not the same to stop there and have to wear a mask and socially distance.

This particular Sunday we just felt like going for a walk to get some exercise.

So, we walked (at record speed without all the stops) all the way north to "Hawaii".

It was one of those weird days where the color of the sky is about the same as the color of the sea.

We did catch a nice sunset where the lagoon/river meets the sea at "Hawaii".

The recent storms changed the landscape of the area a lot. That whole sandy area where Eric is
standing in the distance at the right - that used to all be water, not beach.

Yeah, beach walks just aren't the same. However, we know we are fortunate to be able to take these 
beach walks anyway, and for that we are grateful.

Monday, September 14, 2020

9-14-2020 Hurricane Nana & Covid-19 Update for Belize

In the wee hours of the morning on September 3rd a hurricane hit Belize. In fact, it hit just a few miles south of where we live. We had been watching Tropical Storm Nana make its way here, and thankfully, it turned into a hurricane with 75 mph winds just before hitting land, so it just barely made the grade to be classified as a hurricane. That means it was pretty weak by hurricane standards. If you look at this chart below you can see how much difference in strength just a few miles per hour wind speed makes. For example, if the winds had been just 10 miles an hour more, then the hurricane would have been nearly 3 times as strong! And we certainly would have sustained a lot more damage than we did.

Even this weakest of hurricanes blew the roof off 10 homes in the village, and caused 3 homes to
fall down off their posts. This is one of the fallen homes. (Photo credit to Hopkins UnCut)

Another fallen home - this one made the news. Fortunately, the home didn't fall until the morning
after the hurricane, just after the residents had stepped outside. (Photo credit to Hopkins UnCut)

Our friend's fallen house - thankfully nobody had been living there, but it was uninsured.

There were LOTS of trees down, which is apparently what caused the damage to this truck. We were
super fortunate to not have any people injured or killed. (Photo credit to Hopkins UnCut)

I think everyone who had a palapa like this lost it. This used to be a restaurant we liked called
Laruni Hati.  (Photo credit to Hopkins UnCut)

There was also damage to several docks. This resort lost the end of their dock that had been covered
by a palapa. Thankfully, their boat was not damaged.

Bread and Butter Cayes is a favorite island to visit, and it was not spared. Where these guys are
standing in the water at what appears to be a fence - that used to be land. It will have to be refilled
with conch shells and sand.

This cabana lost part of its roof, and more damage was done to the big
cabana there. We were supposed to be out there right now for a couple of
nights with friends, but that is being rescheduled.

On a positive note, the hurricane did deposit a lot of new sand on the beaches. 

Here you can see well how high the waves came up during the hurricane. To the far right you can
see the usual line of sargassum along the beach - that's where the waves normally hit. But, to the
left you see another line of sargassum - that's where the waves were crashing during the storm.

As you can see, the virus is now a real issue in Belize. There are 1480 confirmed
cases, with 969 of those currently active. There is now 1 confirmed case in our
village. So, the government lock down/quarantine orders have been extended
indefinitely. The curfew was lifted, but with nothing going on and nowhere to go,
it doesn't much matter. No sports, and basically no gatherings of any kind are
allowed. I mean, technically, you can have a wedding or funeral, but with no more
than 10 people, so realistically that's not going to happen. Also, the opening of the
airport was pushed back until October 1st.

My (Cara's) first attempt at made from scratch falafel patties. These were baked instead of fried so
they would be healthier. They turned out okay, but they are definitely harder to make using a blender
(instead of a food processor, which we don't have). Everyone says to use dried chickpeas that are
soaked because the canned chickpeas have too much moisture. However, I think they turned out a
little too dry for my taste, so next time I am going to buck the recommendations and try canned.

Granola peanut butter balls - the recipe made lots more, but this was all that was left by the time
I remembered to take a photo. Apparently they were a hit.

I (Cara) am missing in person Yelp events, although the virtual events that
Yelp has been offering via Zoom are pretty nice. And, you can join Yelp
events from across the US this way. This is from a yoga event.

This was from a Zumba Yelp event that I enjoyed during the evening before the hurricane hit.
So, the event was hosted out of Indianapolis, Indiana (USA), although I was enjoying it from
Belize, and this instructor here was Zooming live from Mexico! You gotta love that!