IRMA & CAPTAIN ALAN
UPDATED SEPT 21st 2017
First impression: September 7th 21:00 local time:
Major damage, almost all houses have damage, roofs gone, lots of houses completely destroyed. Most of the hotels/resorts destroyed (that means the concrete structure is still there but the inside heavily damaged (blown out windows-shutters-sliding doors)
Infrastructure that was above ground-> destroyed
Telephone/internet only in a couple of areas available (Not in ours L )
No electric and no city-water
Airport heavily damaged.
Oysterpond had a 3-4 mtr (10-13ft) surge/wave which destroyed practically all the boats and marinas, and one-level buildings/places. (slammed also through the first level of the great house ) The area is almost unrecognizable.
Marinas in Simson Bay area heavily damaged or completely wipe out
All gas stations ripped away by the winds
Massive (hundreds of people) looting of all stores/shops on the island -> very scary !!
Today at the end finally CHECK POINTS with police and marines….and more marines arrived on the island.
I am still processing all I see…it is massive!
Yesterday evening GEBE-current came in in most of the areas with undergrounded cables. Later in the evening 3G internet. YOHOO !!!!
Even after 5 days the looting is still not over. All shops, warehouses no matter what they sold have been looted ..but also schools, private villas, marinas boats, communications facilities (Antennas, generators, diesel…) ..it is just unbelievable. People breaking waterlines to take the water that is still resting in the pipes. Cars parked along the roads go ruined by stealing the gas. (with screwdriver and hammer they hit a hole in the tank and let the gas run out.) Sad to see even people I know joining these activities..…apparently this is the real St. Maarten.
Since 3 days: Checkpoints at the biggest intersection with police and military and patrols trough the neighborhoods 2-3 times per day….still not enough to stop the anarchy….though at the moment more and more control and law enforcement by marines/military.
I am fearing the coming weeks…concerning safety. My place is up and running and has besides a missing piece of rain gutter and a stripped garden no damage at all…The hillside I live on has considerable less damage. Good for me but inviting for the bad guys.
People are very frustrated about the government . It took them 3 days to come in action. Fire fighters, policy, even managers…..a part of them too busy with looting themselves. Or just hiding.
Alan, Coleen, Myles, their place is destroyed so they “moved” to our place. The same for a friend of us. We also have a German Family of 4 in the house that had to evacuate from The French Side.
I went to Oyster Bay Beach Resort and the Marina the last 4 days. Try to clean up the marina office and figuring out how to salvage some of captain Alan’s Boats.
The guests of the Hotel where able to leave the island with the first flight. And a cruise ship the came in for that purpose. Personnel of the hotel now are cleaning up…. Annemarie is doing a great job managing this.
September 13th. >>>still in survival modus
Driving to the west of the island again the devastation is inplessing. Airport heavily damaged, Sonesta Maho destroyed…and it goes on… The whole island is looking like a serious war-zone.
Amazing how fast the roads are getting cleared -> humongous piles of roof sheets, wood and other debris rising up. VROMi is doing a great job !
At Oysterpond we are progressing too. Once the Big catamarans that are blocking the road are pushed aside (need a big crane for that) it will speed up the cleaning,
At Oysterpond: no current, no water and no phone network/internet available.
We started to salvage thing from the boats and making plans how to get the boats out of the water. Most probably we will have a big crane that will help us tomorrow.
Today a couple of shops opened their doors…and more tomorrow.
Lot of people leaving the island by military planes.
Curfew is changed from 24hrs to between 15:00pm – 8:00am.
The communication to the people is really bad.
Our house: comfy ! current and internet on…still waiting on City Water…but we have cistern water in the meantime.
Tomorrow another day…
September 17th. >>>feels a little numb…though small progresses but also concerns
Home and family still ok. Current is back…waiting for the water but we have (stinky) cistern water and so far enough water you can drink. Internet is still working.
The island is waiting for supply of all sort of goods to really start fixing
We kind of made one of the lifts working. We got one of the boats (The Gama 2) that was ready to sink. back in a lift. The damage is fixable. Now we make plans for the other 2 boats (“Coastal pleasure” that is on land…and the Scarab that is upside down submerged. The problem at the marina and the whole Oyster pond area is: still no electricity-no water- no communication/internet.
New storm is probably coming close enough to the island to cause additional damage (expect lots of rain) on Tuesday. Feel sorry for all who lost their roofs with that rain.
On the French side of the island (hit very hard by the hurricane) their seems to be a lot of violence. People getting beaten up, killed and according to some (unverified!) news raped….and that really worries.
Lot of (especially white) people leaving the island because they do not feel safe. From Carol’s team of teachers already 20 left for Holland.
Today (still early) we will bring a generator to the marina and will reconfigure some electric so we can make more lifts operational…
Military distributing feed and water in most of the district
Step by step.
September 18th. >>>preparing for Hurricane Maria
Hurricane Maria, initial a Tropical storm that would pass the Caribbean 100 miles south from Sint Maarten, actually has developed unexpectedly into a dangerous category 5 Hurricane and at this moment : 9:30 pm local time, flattening Dominica. If nothing changes Maria will cause tropical storm winds over Sint Maarten, big (up to 5 meter) swells/ waves and especially on the south side (Philipsburg) surge/flooding. Lots of rain is forecasted which will bring flooding also inlands. As always reality van be better or worse. According to the latest information the path is moving a bit to the north. This would mean more impact on Sint Maarten
Today we prepared our boats and marina (from what is left over) for Maria.
0% tolerance Curfew has been set until Thursday morning.
We will follow Maria by the hour during the night and will adapt our preparations for the house accordingly.
communication about this storm to the public is at least inaccurate so lot of people don't know what to expect. The Officials indicate "only" tropical storm winds while the computer models show worse.
finally 3G internet at our Marina
I love the spirit on the island and especially the Oyster Bay Beach Resort. People helping, cleaning up the place. This is completely different on the French side of the island. No cleaning, looks if they are still in a shock... I have to admit that the devastation on the French side is much worse compared to the Dutch side. For instance the Orient Bay Area is almost completely flattened out.
So Maria makes us stay in our home tomorrow, probably working on my backlog in answering emails
September 19th/20th >>>Maria
It was very quite on the island. The Curfew kept people inside their homes or what's left off it. As expected Maria Stayed at least 100 miles away from St. Maarten, even a bit further than initially forecasted. We still had 30-40 knot winds with some heavy wind gusts. We still have to find out what the ocean (swelles) did. The rain-showers are there but not the expected heavy rainfall and flooding....So at first glance not too bad. Electricity on the whole island is down at the moment. The same for water. We feel bad for Dominica, St. Croix and Puerto Rico. They got or will get the full load of a Maria.
We are eager to get to Oyster pond to check for damage ...but the strict curfew may prevent us from getting there. All businesses will stay closed today ...so I am afraid that today will be another day at the house -> don't worry I won't be sleeping .. have more than enough work on hand :)
In the mean time we are making up the bill of material damage to tools&parts >>est.$20k (tools storage and offices were submerged with 5-6 ft of salt water) and boats (2 boats survived without damage, 1 boat probably salvageable, 1 boat not salvageable and 1-2 boats with a lot of damage). >>est. boats $250k (not insured) . We still did not talk about business impact which will go way beyond the material damage.
We are good at fixing boats -> so might become our business for the coming time :)
I cannot wait to start restoring a couple of boat slips and get our part of the marina operational again.
We receive a lot of warming emails and donations. Thank you so much !
September 21st >>>After "Maria"
· Today the Curfew has been lifted.. so back to clean and recovery mode again. The spirit is positive around us which give a lot of energy.
· The current where I live is on/off due to load shedding. GEBE-water is still missing. But after the rain “Maria” brought we have plenty of cistern water…though a bit smelly. At the marina…still no current - no water. I have a small generator in the back of my truck to be able to hook up parts of the Marina electric so we can play with some of the boatlifts that are still working…. after repairing motors and making bypasses for over damaged wiring.
· Today we fixed 2 of our lifts and prepared the “Coastal Pleasure” boat for hoisting it into the water (On land now on the French side)
· Tomorrow we will start to making/repairing a couple of emergency finger pears ..since most of these were ripped off by the hurricane and these are much needed to access the boatlifts.
· The island:
September 22nd >>> another day with progress
· Today I got our first newspaper after the Hurricane. It says : St Maarten STRONG. That was a great start of the day!
· "Grand Marche" one of the biggest supermarkets opened its doors for the first days after the hurricane
· We fixed the 4th boatlift and to our surprise the water supply to the Marina has been restored...Yohoo !!! though.. water spitting out of all pieces of broken pipes. I had to close all the main-valves. so tomorrow we play plumber to fix at ,least one water point /tap. With water we can speed up the salvage of what is left over of the boats. Now we want to have back our current!
· Supply of gas and diesel on the island further improved.
· Crazy busy with cars on the road /long lines/traffic jams. Looks if everybody wants to be on the road to show that they are still alive.
· The sense of reality=kicks in...for the coming season no tourism = no income . Especially for those directly employed in that industry toughest times still have to come.
· First estimate of material damage Captain Alan's Boat charters is $240k.
· Tomorrow another busy day for me in "paradise" getting "the boat Coastal pleasure (what is left of it) from land into a boat lift.
Find my complete log on https://captainalan.com/irma.htm
Paul Boonstra , September 22nd 2017