Posts Tagged ‘Hurricane season’
Saturday, September 3, 2005
Horrific though the recent events have been due to Hurricane Katrina in some of the southern US states, we applaud the vibrant American spirit of always keeping the show rolling, and we welcome the imminent start of the new North American football league which seems to be all set to go… barring finding a temporary stadium for the New Orleans Saints so they can play their home games.
So as to maintain our tradition we will be showing this season’s games in the Playa Vista bar as usual via our satellite system and wall-to-wall screen. The opening clash is, as you might know, between ‘The Oakland Raiders’ and last season’s worthy champions ‘The New England Patriots’ on Thursday 8th September with the kick-off time being 9 pm. We will also be following two other traditions: Hot dogs will be available for the hungry patrons and the gamblers can be satiated with the football pool which costs a mere RD$50 per square to have the chance of sharing the pot and winning up to RD$5,000!
We wish all you football fans a good season!
Sunday, July 17, 2005
All is well on the southern front as the outer sinewy reaches of Emily’s rotating package of discomfort, very much like Dennis, simply, though be it ominously, brushed along our coast. We were once again basking in the usual bright sunshine and calm air a mere 24 hours after Emily trundled on by leaving nothing more than the memory of rather beautiful high rolling surf breaking on our ever-so-protective coral reef a few hundred yards out from the Playa Vista terraza where we ourselves and a substantial group of guests enjoyed the majestic play of mother nature’s forces.
This leaves us with the perfect gateway to a pleasant weekend down here on the beach. For those of you not familiar with our backdrop, Boca Chica is THE beach for people from the capital Santo Domingo to enjoy a swim or merely a watery or sandy frolic. At this time of year another major attraction is the possibility of escaping from the usual negatives of living in a large city with its noise, dirt and a far more intense kind of heat… especially in contrast to the balmy breeze almost invariably caressing our little stretch of paradise.
For people-watchers a Sunday is often an unmissable sight with so much natural and peaceful pleasure being had by great numbers of people strewn all along the beach. For those who like it quieter then perhaps Monday is a good day to visit but, biased though we may be, we can clearly recommend you will have fun whichever day you come.
Thursday, July 7, 2005
Charlie welcomed us back from our minor break in the fine routine with this e-mail:
I didn’t realize you guys would take a holiday. I was very concerned about your health when you didn’t post anything on you page for a month. I check it every morning in hopes of news from the Dominican Republic. I love your page.
A faithful fan, Charlie
(- honestly we didn’t make it up!)
Meanwhile Dennis welcomed us in quite a different way. The warmth of his welcome was soon felt in the strength of his powerful winds, accompanied by a number of heavy downpours of rain and then finally a 3-4 inch deposit of sand on the beach before he passed on by, a respectful distance well out in the Caribbean Sea, quite harmlessly for all of us here in the Dominican Republic at least.
We hope for the sake of the good folks along the coasts of Cuba and Florida that daunting hurricane Dennis will not end up nicknamed ‘Dennis The Menace’.
Friday, November 19, 2004
In the coldest periods of damp winters in those far away British Isles when the wind shifts direction from the usual south-west the refrain begins, “When the north wind doth blow, we shall have snow…”. Though we are not suggesting we really expect Caribbean snow, we do have a Dominican Republic equivalent, namely a shift in the usual prevailing south-east wind direction here in Boca Chica to the north, though it has to be stressed that it is very much more wafting than really blowing.
It has been stated since Columbus’ time that the weather here in the Dominican Republic is like perpetual June back in the old continent, and we can certainly verify this to be the case. The only interruption to this are occasional hurricanes which this year, you may recall, were reported to be unusually active during September but now thankfully long gone. Though hurricanes bring high winds and heavy rainfall be reassured that those perpetual June temperatures remain constant. So it is by way of a slight variation from the norm that this week the temperatures, with the change of wind direction as mentioned above, are reported as actually dipping. There is of course no need for alarm, because the reported below freezing temperature of -4ºC was recorded at a height of over 2,500 meters in the central mountains of the country! Those pleasant daytime June temperatures carry right on permeating our little paradise. The only notable difference is that night time temperatures currently make air conditioners and fans redundant. The advice would be to certainly not cancel your air ticket to these parts merely shut the bedroom window in the ‘chilly Caribbean winter night’!
Thursday, October 14, 2004
The extraordinary hurricane activity of September seems a long time ago now. The only visible evidence that something untoward happened is the still debris-strewn reef which is either waiting for the local council to get their launch out there with a cleaning team or for a very high tide to release the stranded material mostly consisting of bark-denuded tree branches.
As is usual for this time of year beach visitors mid-week are none too plentiful but the weather gives us it’s best with a recent sequence of stunning sunsets that as always can be viewed ideally from the Playa Vista terraza.
Bar talk frequently refers to the new government still getting its feet under the table. Much is reported nationally on a daily basis regarding changes. The peso appears to have reached a stability midway between the value that the previous government inherited four years ago and its lowest point to the end of their administration currently, for better or worse depending on your viewpoint, about 32 pesos to the dollar. Lack of electricity continues to present difficulties in many parts of the country but happily in Boca Chica we are spared almost all inconveniences. Long may that continue and hopefully spread further afield too. The more underlying changes will almost certainly need more time to bear fruit.
Meanwhile… as tourism is one of the cornerstones of economic development in the Dominican Republic in general, and therefore needy of government attention, we remain very hopeful that planning and support of international standard tourism will be further spurred on in our small corner of the country in a way good old Boca Chica deserves!
Meanwhile seven years later:
Frankly speaking not even the most enthusiastic PLD/Fernandez supporter can claim much progress was made for the man in the street. The peso has been kept under that 40 to the dollar level throughout that Fernandez administration and the second that has followed however the polls currently indicate that Hipolito Mejia is favorite to be the new president next year as a very disappointing signal to that PLD/Fernandeez government over these last seven years.
Wednesday, September 22, 2004
This year for some strange reason or reasons still unknown to the meteorological boffins those tropical storms sometimes alias hurricanes just keep on happening.
Poor old Haiti has been hit hard, its decidedly poor infrastructure always contributing further to its misery. To the east and north of the Dominican Republic too the heavy rainfall caused considerable flooding chaos. We in Boca Chica have to be thankful yet again, for we managed to escape any dangerous affects from the passing of Jeanne which brewed itself briefly into a low category hurricane as it touched our island’s most easterly coast. As it passed to the north and downgraded to a tropical storm, we saw no rising of the sea level this time, but we did endure three days of cloud, a fair bit of rain and one shortish period in the middle of the night last Wednesday of very gusty winds. Again no damage here in Boca Chica, but due to the rise in river levels and currents to our east, in particular the rivers Higuamo and Soco emptying into the sea in the area near San Pedro, we have been inundated with driftwood being forced onto and over the Boca Chica coral reef. The local council has helped in a big way employing a very large John Deere payloader and trucks to cart away the mountains of flotsam and jetsam that continued to wash up on the beach. With the beach neatly cleared of debris and the peak storm season hopefully running out of steam after this year’s unusual extravaganza Playa Vista is gratefully, after a very minor interruption to service, back to its regular sunny ‘business as usual’ disposition!
Meanwhile seven years later:
We are still naturally weaving ourselves through the storm season but the end of September is in sight which gives hope for another safe and sound year. By way of example Ophelia should pass well to the north next week.
Saturday, September 11, 2004
Hurricanes come and thankfully they go… and even more thankfully sometimes they go without ever coming. We left you last time seemingly looking down the barrel of a gun called Ivan. It looked like there was no escape, but remarkably we managed to slip free yet again and this time in large part thanks to another hurricane. While Ivan was advancing into the southern Caribbean, Frances was still active over continental America. This created a ridge of pressure over the Caribbean which forced Ivan to take a more southerly route than has been seen in many many years affecting islands such as Curacao and Aruba and even parts of Venezuela that have never seen such phenomenon before.
Here in Boca Chica we waited and watched from the Playa Vista Terazza as Ivan whirled by several hundred miles to the south. At about 10 pm on Wednesday the sea rose to start flicking the terazza wall, and for 24 hours we watched the grand spectacle of extremely large rolling waves breaking onto the reef sending spray dozens of feet into the air and surf surging well inside our paradisal lagoon even as far as the steps leading up to the terazza itself ultimately licking the topmost step. In contrast to the roaring sea the air remained extremely placid, and a light cloud cover brought merely a sprinkling of rain on just one occasion throughout the entire time it took Ivan to swirl by. Mercifully the sum of our damage was no more than one broken plastic table leg which was crashed into by a couple of logs that floated by during the marine melee.
Some of the worst Ivan affected islands in the Caribbean this time around have previously claimed to be hurricane-free in their efforts to attract visitors… perhaps the Dominican Republic should now take the slogan up instead!
Meanwhile seven years later:
That was of course very much tongue in cheek. So far we have averted such hurricanes as Katia, Nate and Maria but September still has a long way to go so fingers crossed.
Monday, September 6, 2004
The flavor of our current Caribbean season has to be hurricanes. The sea-breeze caressed pleasantly warm weather we experience allows us to enjoy a completely open-air style of life and pretty much for a full 365 days a year. This closeness of living to nature means we have to accept the reverse side of the ‘almost perfect weather coin’ too from time to time and around here the flipside does pop up in the form of the occasional tropical storm or hurricane.
We note that the subject is currently figuring prominently in the world’s media headlines because this year is setting storming new records around the globe. This week news from Florida’s latest pounding (the second in August) was echoed by extreme typhoon activity in Japan too.
Here on our island we feel that we have been ducking and diving over the last two weeks as Charley slid by to the south before thumping into Cuba and then Florida, tropical storm Earl thankfully ran out of steam just to the south of us and then most recently category 4 Frances just skirted by to the north. So big was Frances that we experienced quite strong winds and unusually warm air even down here in Boca Chica on the south coast. However, lucky though we have been so far we cannot ignore that Ivan “El Terrible” at the time of writing appears to have us right in his sites, almost as if the last three storms were tracer shells (powerful ones at that) and now the big cannon has our exact coordinates. We naturally hope that fate will intervene in our favor again, but if you see this blog space go quiet for a while it could be because we have our hands full with other matters.
Meanwhile seven years later:
Well, Ivan really was terrible: the 10th most intense Atlantic hurricane ever recorded. The damage was severe in Grenada, Jamaica, Grand Cayman and western Cuba as well as Alabama but again the Dominican Republic managed to miss the worst of that one. The hurricane season is truly dependable and Irene has already passed by this year, again causing severe damage to other parts namely the east coast of the USA. The drenching we got here in Boca Chica is testament to the sheer magnitude of these storms but other than water infiltration (especially of computers) Irene was not so unkind to us.
Sunday, August 15, 2004
Last time around we referred to some of the events behind the Dominican Republic’s independence. In order to fill out the history plot a little more we have to point out that the first hiccup to the country’s independence arrived in 1861 when Spain, clearly not being able to break with an old habit, decided on re-annexing the country. Power swayed to and fro between the Spanish rulers and the supporters of independence for four years before full independence was restored and it is the anniversary of this restoration which is celebrated each year on August 16th as ‘Restoration Day’. It is a national celebration and a national holiday usually bringing a great number of people out on to the streets even in the form of carnivals. This year’s ‘Restoration Day’ on Monday will be a particularly auspicious day, for it is also the day when Leonel Fernández begins his four year term of office as the new president carrying many hopes for a return to the steady progress that we witnessed up until 2000 in his previous term.
After a very brief flirt with the outermost effects of hurricane Charley earlier in the week the weather is currently at its very best with almost constant sunshine and light winds drifting along the beach every day. A festive hopeful mood of renewal is in the air and we expect there to be a very big crowd at Playa Vista celebrating in happy good-humored fashion on our “double whammy” Restoration Day!
Meanwhile seven years later:
And the people will be out on the streets celebrating again in glorious color and good humor. Everybody loves a party but in our experience the Dominicans perhaps a tad more than most.
Saturday, May 29, 2004
Saved by mother nature’s own drainage system!
- the story from Boca Chica this week.
As you must have noticed the Dominican Republic was in the world’s news headlines again this week and regrettably for the very worst reasons. A tropical depression dumped the kind of water on our island that a Hollywood movie director might have imagined recreating in the shooting of ‘Noah and the Ark’.
The island of Hispaniola is sizeable enough to have quite a diversity of climate: the north typically gets more rain than the south. Here in Boca Chica on the south-coast May has the reputation of being a rainy month, but we know in recent years that it has barely lived up to that tag. This year however, it has rained, even if for just brief intervals most days of the month, but with little undue interruption to operations here… until last weekend that is.
It started raining on Saturday evening and it was still raining on the Sunday evening. In between it was either raining steadily or with a vengeance. The entire country was deluged and in the greater Santo Domingo area 53 cm (about 20 inches) – approximately one third of the annual rainfall – fell in those 24 hours with the devastating effect on the muddy slopes in Jimani and the surrounding area being relayed on TV screens around the world.
We are pleased to report that the damage in Boca Chica was minimal in spite of this downpour thanks entirely to the fact that there are no overland rivers running anywhere near here. The local terrain is pitted with underground caves, underground lakes and underground rivers, which very conveniently carry the water effortlessly and harmlessly down to the sea for us. Within a day everything was largely dried out, the minimal damage repaired and the severe downpour already seems like a distant memory here in our little corner of paradise.
Meanwhile seven years later:
Rain when it comes is usually heavy here: that is the tropics! But even prolonged torrential rain is rarely a problem in Boca Chica. The only footnote is the always lurking possibility of a hurricane. In the seven years we have seen hurricanes bounce all around us but since the infamous Hurricane George back in 1998 we have been saved from anything worse than a soaking so far. Fingers crossed the 2011 season begins this week!