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Broken Dreams and Happy Endings – The Aftermath of Hurricane Matthew w/a Tour of Elizabeth Harbor By Boat

With all of the priority items here in our immediate vicinity taken care of, I took the opportunity of a little free time to tour the length of Elizabeth Harbor and the George Town vicinity to get some pictures. A lot of people have been asking about places that I hadn’t heard any news on so I thought I’d go see for myself! I’ve added what information I know to each photograph. With no further ado, Let’s go!

I left the entrance to the hurricane holes on Stocking Island and turned north. On the northern shore of this entrance is a private residence that sustained some significant damage. Notice that the dock is virtually gone. Not damaged, but gone.

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The concrete balcony that faces the water on the second story was partially ripped off.

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Continuing North, the topology of the vertical face of Monument Hill has changed significantly. We have scaled this near-vertical surface several dozen times, but if you’ve not done that then you might not notice the changes. For those more adventurous souls like us, be aware that you will be faced with some new climbing challenges on this face the next time you ascend it.

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The docks at Hamburger Beach appear to have fared well.

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Though still an unused structure, the old clubhouse at Hamburger Beach is still intact.

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Be aware that there are quite a few new hazards to navigation within Elizabeth Harbor. In addition to obstacles like this mostly submerged tree, you will find that the contours of the bottom have changed in quite a few areas. If you’ve traveled these waters by boat before, don’t return this season and assume that you’ll be able to get everywhere that you’ve been before. You may very well find yourself stuck in sand.

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The thatch-roof lean-to and bar at Flip Flop Beach did not fare so well. The entire structure is partially collapsed, and a good portion of it is just missing. The damage isn’t anything that an ambition team of cruisers can’t repair over an afternoon though. It’ll make the sundowners and potluck for the Grand Re-Opening all that much more enjoyable!

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Crossing the harbor, Hideaways and Splash Bar are still intact, though I’ve been told that they suffered significant water damage from wave action and the resulting water ingress. There are missing roof sections in a couple of places and a lot of shingles that need to be replaced. As I went by I noticed that most of the villas are standing open, presumably to help them dry out after water ingress.

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Splash Bar is missing part of it’s roof.

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The main clubhouse at Hideaways seems relatively unscathed compared to the bar and some of the villas.

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The resort and bar just to the South of Hideaways (I’ve forgotten the name) appears to have fared considerably better. I think that since they are closer to the small peninsula that sticks out into the bay, that this property was in the lee of the trees for most of the storm and was sheltered from the bulk of the wave action.

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The first of the supply boats came in yesterday and brought a lot of building materials.

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Amazingly, the cluster of shacks that makes up the area called ‘Fish Fry’ is still there. I was fully expecting to see foundations wiped clean, as most of these structures are just 2×4 walls with plywood nailed to the outside. How these managed to not get carried away I have no idea. Most of them are damaged in one way or another and almost all of the roofs will need to be replaced, but as of Thursday evening they were mostly open and Friday and Saturday night is rumored to have been quite the party!

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Moving South from Fish Fry, the defunct resort that never was appears to have suffered some more damage. I noticed several broken out windows that I know were intact before the storm, and some of the roofing has been damaged. I’d love to know the story behind this property if any of our readers know it. It seems like someone had a grand idea and got most of the way there and then just… left.

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Peace and Plenty reportedly came out of the storm with very little damage. I heard that they had some water intrusion from wave action, but other than that they appear to be ready to open for business!

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The Government building just South of Peace and Plenty lost some shingles, but also came through fairly well.

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The exhibition stands on Regatta point are still standing, remarkably. I suppose with no walls for the wind to push against that there wasn’t a lot of horizontal force on the structure. I’m surprised that the roof stayed on though.

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The low slung concrete buildings that make up the port authority and Dive Exuma buildings came through just fine, though I was told that they did have some water ingress from wave action against the pier.

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Regatta Point also is intact, though their roof and some of the balconies appear to have suffered minor damage. This structure also suffered from water ingress. Regatta point was exposed to the full fetch across the harbor during the height of the storm, and I’ve been told that at times people could see waves spraying OVER the two story building.

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The docks on the backside of Regatta Point turned out to not be very good shelter.

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All over George Town, there are roofs that need replaced. It’s a testament to the character of the people here that quite a few of them are already in the process of being repaired. At the rate that they’re going, it won’t take long to put everything right (assuming the materials can be found).

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There is a sailing vessel hard against the West wall in Kidd Cove.

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Locals are burning up piles of debris as fast as others can gather it.

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Quite a few of the trees in the area are down, and the sound of chain saws in the background is everywhere you go.

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The entrance to Lake Victoria fared well. I half expected it to be clogged with debris, but the channel is clear and the dinghy docks in the lake are intact.

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This building just to the South of the entrance to Lake Victoria is relatively undamaged, with the exception of missing about half it’s shingles.

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The Docks at Exuma Yacht Club did not fare well at all. They will need to me almost completely rebuilt before they can be used again. The building at EYC fared better, with only one staircase and a few railings appearing to be structurally damaged.

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Here’s a closer view of the damage to EYC’s main docks. The debris from the disintegration of these docks is all over the shores nearby.

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The more modern, MUCH more expensive structures on February Point appear to have come through with no damage at all. I suppose it’s a testament to modern building techniques and expensive materials that these all look the same as they did before the storm.

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The same cannot be said for the floating docks on the South side of February point. Though they were concrete docks, Matthew tore them apart and scattered them across the bay.

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Our friend Matthew’s boat Coup D’Amour weathered the storm at anchor and appears to have come through with only minimal damage to canvas, paint, and lifelines.

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Another broken floating dock on the South side of February Point.

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The fishing vessel ‘Fish Rowe’ will need to be pulled off the rocks and repaired before she’ll bring in any more bounty from the seas.

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Moving South and passing through the bridge towards Redshanks, the vessel ‘The Last Time’ has indeed gone to sea for the last time. Her hull is holed in multiple places and her engines are swamped.

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I stopped in at the far South end of my tour to get something cool to drink at Brown’s Marine. They report having come through the storm completely unharmed, and give God the thanks for the fact that it appears none of the hundred or so small craft here were destroyed. Their home and business also came though without damage.

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The same cannot be said for the vessels on the hard just around the corner at Masters Boat Repair. There are several larger sailboats here that had straps and/or anchors fail during the storm and they came crashing our of their cradles. There are still many boats here though that weathered the storm just fine.

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Entering Redshanks, there are currently no boats present other than those that have run aground. This small sloop Panacea is hard against the rocks and has to have taken quite a beating during the latter part of the storm when the winds clocked around to the West and Southwest.

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The Catamaran ‘Shamrock’ appears to have drug anchor all the way through Redshanks and ended up on the sand. Her bow line and anchor are still intact, and the anchor rode still has full tension on it. Not a failure of the hardware, just a failure to hold on the bottom. She appears to have run into the rocks in several places and is holed and half submerged.

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That concludes the circumnavigation of Elizabeth Harbor. I did not go across to Sand Dollar, as there isn’t really anything to see there. Lumina Point and Chat and Chill are both intact and the reports I got say that they were relatively undamaged.

If you’re a fellow cruiser and are headed this way any time soon, you might contact anyone you know here and see if there are needs that are not being met from a materials standpoint that you could help with by bringing some down with you. I’ve not yet heard of anything that is in strong demand, but if I do I’ll pass the info along through our FaceBook page.

All in all, I was very pleased with the outcomes here in George Town and it’s surroundings. Having sat through the storm, I was fully prepared to see most of George Town destroyed. Happy Endings, indeed!

See my other posts on Hurricane Matthew:

Preparing for our First Hurricane

Hurricane Matthew: Waiting for the Eye of the Storm

Watching from Afar as my Family Preps for a Hurricane (Byn’s perspective from the US)

Weathering Our First Real Storm

Broken Dreams and Happy Endings: The Aftermath of a Hurricane in Georgetown, Bahamas

Hurricane Matthew Salvage Report

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