NATURAL DISASTER UPDATES: Bali’s Volcano and Caribbean Hurricanes
Most of the regions that we operate in are prone to natural disasters – it’s a fact of adventure sailing, as how else can these striking islands form without a few tectonic movements here and there?! However, this does mean we are frequently asked a) the likelihood of a natural disaster striking during a trip, and b) how a region has recovered after such natural disaster. So, we thought we’d keep you (with the help of our operators living in affected regions) up to date on current situations on the ground/water.
MT. AGUNG – BALI’S ACTIVE VOLCANO
Firstly, Bali is open for business!
In late December 2017 and early January 2018, the island of Bali experienced a hand full of eruptions out of Mt. Agung. The biggest – on 11th January 2018 – threw an ash cloud some 18,000ft into the air, however, it stayed away from Bali’s airport, therefore, did not lead to the cancellation of any flights. Again, a week later, the volcano produced another, smaller, ash cloud after a medium eruption. Yet again, transport services remained uninterrupted. Since then, there have only been 3 small eruptions on the 20th and 22nd January causing ash to fall only a couple of kilometres from the summit of Mt. Agung.
There have been no eruptions since 22nd January 2018 and services both on the island and in the region are operating as usual.
HURRICANES IRMA AND MARIA
Hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated much of the Leeward Isles during the 2017 hurricane season. Although the region was severely hit, they are certainly back on their feet for the sailing season. Here’s a rundown of the regions we sail in and what the recovery is like:
Bequia, Carriacou, Grenada, Martinique, Mayreau, Mustique, Petit St. Vincent, Saint Lucia, Union Island, were all unaffected by these hurricanes.
Antigua & Barbuda
Antigua somehow got off lightly compared to its island neighbour, Barbuda. Antigua is fully operational, and services have been unaffected. The news is not so great for Barbuda. The island was decimated, and most islanders have sought refuge in Antigua whilst an extensive clear-up operation takes place. It is still possible to land to anchor off Barbuda’s famous pink sand beaches, but services ashore are very limited.
The Bahamas is back open and fully operational after the hurricanes only really affected Ragged Island and Acklins Island.
British Virgin Islands
The BVIs took a hard blow from both hurricanes. Media widely reported huge losses to both property ashore and afloat. The great news is, these beautiful little islands are, in true islander style, getting back on their feet. Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport (Beef Island, Tortola) is open and operating in its usual manner.
Most of the famous beach bars have now reopened, except for the infamous “Willy T’s” which is due to be refloated in a couple of weeks. As for the beaches, the clean-up operation is on going so some areas may have lost a bit of their shine, but they are still naturally beautiful. Most resorts in the BVI are closed with many not opening until 2019. However, the sailing scene is 100% back on its feet. With all marinas having recently reopened the locals have planned a jam-packed 2018 season.
Although Cuba had some damage to the North Coast, all the affected services (mostly beach resorts) were reopened and running normally within a month of the hurricane hitting the island.