Arrivals went to one tent, departures left through another with the gates now being in the bowels of luggage of the old terminal. There is going to be a SIGNIFICANT problem with this airport trying to get more tourists in here as hotels and things open as this airport can maybe handle one more departure a day. I did like the naked statues in the departure area, it was an interesting touch.
storm surge destruction..
broken windows on cars
there is gas and some restaurants are open
but the island isn't able to handle many tourists but they have done a lot of work
HERE IS BAIE ORIENTALE ON THE DAY AFTER THE HURRICANE FROM A GETTY PHOTO.....
HERE IS THE SAME VIEW YESTERDAY....
Our place on the hill, as suspected, was livable and slowly we got things sort of working…more on that a little later. We got the storm shutters that had withstood 185 -200 mph winds open, the subsequent bow had pushed the outer set off its track, luckily we had a second set behind the first ones to protect our house. We got in and we got the lights on but it turned out our water was disconnected somewhere down the line. It ended being a campout in our house, but that was okay, many on the island had to do worse for weeks, we were just here for an action packed week. Views from the hill...
We only really lost a single tree.
Where the resort used to rent beach chairs and had a bar, an enterprising employee of the resort (still being paid) had built a beach bar and was selling drinks and renting recycled chairs for his own profit. Unfortunately under French squatting laws, it might become impossible to remove this venture if and when the area is ever rebuilt.
they have more trees...
A floating shipping container had scoured out the mangroves destroying the blind. A pile of cars sat across the road and the Coralito Hotel, the few rooms with at least three walls on the second floor came complete with squatters. Abandoned power wires laid strewn everywhere.
At least there were a few white-cheeked pintails in the pond
the mangroves here are such a mess....you can't get your hands around it to be honest
Earlier, I found a woman who had a single hummingbird at her feeder, so at least one of those survived, but as of yet, it is the only one I’ve found.
There was plenty of bottled water on the island so we bought a car load to drink. We went to our French speaking neighbor and tried to call again, then tried to get a plumber to come by. In short we even tried to drive around in the hopes of coming across a person that worked for the water company. I came home from going for a walk scouting and eventually a second water guy came back, if it took us laying down in the middle of the street to make them stop we would do it. He stopped and yes, our water was turned “on,” as it was the regional main that had been turned off across the street. The French are never wrong. A turn of a four foot tool gave us something that seemed like magic, water.
one of the best views of the trip....
Hey, someone bought one on Amazon yesterday....a shocker.
I also had doubt about the hummingbirds. Three species used to be found on the island with the purple-throated carib being extremely rare. I heard about the “crazy bird woman,” a local, who post-hurricane went door to door, bumming sugar to feed the birds. She lives a block away from our house we had for sale. Her feeding station was like a packed tavern, with 100 bananquits drunk on sugar, as many as I’d seen in total around the whole rest of the island.
I had put up feeders right when I arrived but only attracted a handful of bananaquits.
I staked out the bird woman’s house and then I spotted it, a lone male green-throated carib, which was the only hummingbird I saw anywhere on the island. Eventually, probably the same one, found its way twice to my feeder before zipping back towards its previous confines.
To be honest, though, the forest looked better than I expected.
The mountain was littered with suspicious looking characters loitering about, and when the local hiking troop from Marigot left (they hike to the top every Sunday from the sea) we also left. No use taking chances. I then concentrated on the mountain by Anse Marcel.
and many, many green iguana, also non-native, we flushed two scaly-naped pigeons.
Like many encounters with this bird, it was too quick for a photo, but at least they were here, a couple of them anyhow, so it gave me some hope. It could have been so much worse. It seemed quite odd to me then and almost like the birding gods spoke to me as I waited to leave for the airport the next morning, not 50 yards from my villa, there appeared on a snag, in a perfect photo opportunity, a single scaly-naped pigeon. I’d never seen one anywhere near there, and to have it wait for me to photograph it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. Coincidence? Fate? A gift from the birds?
Except near my destroyed property, the island is cleaning up pretty well. Insurance payouts are slow as it takes at least 90 days to get payment after a report is filed. We haven’t seen the report on the property we had for sale. We are unsure if the sale will ever go through. I don’t expect to get anything for our other property except a large bill and what we will do with that is unknown. We had planned on living there all winter but now we are getting the feeling of moving on. This does not seem to be our island anymore and the places we liked to hang out will never be the same. Many of our North American neighbors down here are still clinging to their dreams and seem hopeful, but the reality is stark and staring them in the face. They do not live here full-time and I think all of the memories may be clouding their judgement. I have other dreams and ambitions. To them, all I can say, is good luck. They are going to need it.
I viewed a juvenile pied-billed grebe and a parent on a small pond.
This young grebe had to be born after Irma as it still had the juvie plumage. The 13 red-billed tropicbirds that live in the crevices of Green Key until they emerge in the late afternoon were chasing each other in a prelude to mating. I have never seen them so close to the beach, maybe it is that there were only 20 people on a beach that typically has thousands...maybe next year there will be 18....it might be a good year for them.
A small flock of ruddy ducks have stopped by in migration
and despite the mortality of 90 to 95% of some local species and the destruction of the shorebird and mangrove habitat...It could have been worse
.In February I tallied 37 pearly-eyed thrashers in the same areas this visit I saw three (above). I saw two in Anse Marcel on a trail I've never seen under ten before. I did flush a lone unphotographed scaly-breasted thrasher, an ultra-rare resident bird here and my third sighting ever....so I guess life goes on.
Material possessions are just junk we think is important when, in fact, our lives are what matters and we luckily weren’t here. Living for a few days without water was bad enough and a reminder of the stark reality that others had to face and in some places, are still facing and heck...I found pigeons........
La vie pas facile, My friends …life is not easy!