During the second week of September the power of Hurricane Irma was felt far and wide across the northern Caribbean and Turks and Caicos Islands. The eye passed mere miles south of Provo and the winds lashed hard against homes, businesses and the islands. We were very grateful not to experience the anticipated 15ft sea surge, and with the exception of a handful of boats and dock systems, it was the wind that did the damage over the land.
A solid preparation plan secured the Big Blue vessels to underground concrete blocks and the water sports gear was stored safely indoors. These all weathered the storm admirably. The elevated Big Blue base, one of only four of the original iconic Leeward buildings still in existence, took a beating and the wooden front section and balcony were ripped away. It is testament to the builders that the majority of the original roof and walls stayed intact and the stone foundations held fast. Despite what seemed like a large amount of debris and rain damage our beloved adventure base will live to fight another day.
While we bare witness to the devastating power of a hurricane and sympathize enormously with those who lost of lot more and remain temporarily homeless, we have taken the opportunity for a spring clean and an office revamp. The onset of another large hurricane named Maria hastened our clean-up operation and the staff rallied around to prepare. With great relief she passed by Provo with barely a scratch so under blazing sun and through days of windless and relenting heat most of the hard work was painfully completed. The kayaks and paddleboards returned to their racks by the waterfront and the resumption of power fired up the dive compressor. The boats, new fleet and old favourites, made their way back to the Big Blue dock ready for action. Our office has been relocated to the former dive maintenance room and the effervescent Sherline is standing by to answer calls and reply to messages. We are grateful that the cooler weather of autumn is just around the corner.
The beaches survived and the mangrove wetlands have stood up to nature’s ultimate test. The sand, churned up by the wind and waves, continues to settle and the vivid colours we all love so much are becoming evident once again. Even the wind is blowing out of the east as it should. The whole island is rallying around and while there is still much to be done we are all keen to return to our respective passions. We look forward to welcoming everyone back to the magical playground of the Turks and Caicos.