On the evening of August 3rd and the morning of August 4th, a category one hurricane came ashore in the northern and central coastal areas of Belize, impacting fisheries and operations on Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker, San Pedro, Belize City and Turneffe Atoll. We were immediately in touch with all of our lodges in Belize in the hours following the storm, and we are happy to report that all staff, guests and guides are safe. The storm did cause a fair bit of damage to some of our operations in Belize, but early reports indicate that Hurricane Earl caused more of a “mess” and less serious destruction than previous storms.
El Pescador Lodge on Ambergris Caye reported high winds and partial loss of their dock, but otherwise the property and facilities are fine. Yellow Dog staff members Cameron Davenport and Doug McKnight (along with several Yellow Dog clients at the lodge for the Tres Pescados Fishing Tournament) rode out the storm in the comfort of the lodge’s bar. Early Thursday morning, staff and guests alike joined clean-up efforts, and fishing and guide days will resume on Friday morning.
Turneffe Flats Lodge received a fair amount of damage to their dock facilities, and will be closed for the coming week of August 13th as a result. A number of guests also rode out the storm at the lodge, and everyone is safe and sound after a long night of heavy rain and strong 90-100 mile per hour winds. The dock at the Radisson in Belize City (where Turneffe guests load and depart from Belize City to get to wthe atoll) was badly damaged and will be out of service for weeks to come. Alternate docking arrangements will be made for the near future. Turneffe Island Resort reported no damage.
Our friends at Belize River Lodge near Belize City suffered high winds and many downed trees, which resulted in damage to several buildings. As a result, the lodge will be closed until approximately August 20th. Yellow Dog clients Craig and Doug from Georgia opted to stay at the lodge throughout the storm, calling the hurricane a “true adventure.” Oddly enough, it seems as if Belize River Lodge’s Long Caye Outpost Lodge on Long Caye may have weathered the storm better than the main lodge did! Reports from their caretaker indicate that the main house is fine, with minimal damage to the dock.
San Pedro lost most of the docks and shore infrastructure, including Ramone’s Dive Shop and the Palapa Bar. The six foot storm surge brought sand and debris into the first floor of many homes but no injuries have been reported. As of this morning, power has been restored and clean up efforts are under way.
As for Caye Caulker, early reports are similar to those from Ambergris: a big mess, lots of debris and high water, but otherwise things should be fine in the very near future. Areas further to the south in Hopkins, Placencia and Punta Gorda all appear to be fine.
With the exception of a one-week closure at Turneffe Flats and two week closure at Belize River Lodge, all of Belize should be open for business as of tomorrow! Flights have already resumed, and anglers headed to Belize in the near future can expect some great “post-storm” fishing action. Oftentimes we see a storm event like this completely “shuffle the deck” and refresh the flats and overall fisheries.
The Tres Pescados Fishing Tournament will take place on Saturday and will now be a one-day tournament as a result of the hurricane. Visiting anglers and participants are currently assisting in cleanup efforts where possible.
Please feel free to contact us here at Yellow Dog with any questions.
Photo credit: Jason Miller.