“Fortunately, our staff, boat, and dive center survived Hurricane Frances with minimal damage. At the moment, we have been temporarily displaced due to damage to our local marine community including our dockage and boarding area, a county park that has been indefinitely closed for restoration. With the support of the local marine community, we will be able to offer dive charters from an alternate location in the coming weeks. Although we have not had the opportunity to personal survey the reefs of Palm Beach, we have heard reports that our shallower profiles have a lot of debris scattered throughout and also that the marine life is still incredibly abundant. In the meantime, we will continue to promote environmental awareness in hopes that our staff and divers collect as much debris as safely possible.”
“Hurricane Ivan did not affect Cozumel and our beautiful Presidente InterContinental Cozumel Resort & Spa.For safety reasons and for the proximity of Ivan to the Island the airport and Ferrys closed operations a couple of days but everything return to normally on September 14th. Our guests are enjoying absolutely incredible weather and many of the newly remodeled areas to include the recently opened Alfredo Di Roma with the culinary specialties prepared by Sergio Leoni, from Milan, Italy.”
Billy Wise, Club Caribbean Dive & Travel, Inc., Diberville, Mississippi
Bill & Nowdla Keefe's BIMINI UNDERSEA reports “absolutley no damage as a result of any of the hurricanes or storms. Both the Dive Operation and the Bimini Big Game Resort are 100% Operational. Business as ussual. No damage to reefs or other dive sites.”
“The resort had just closed for the month of September when Hurricane Frances came calling on The Bahamas. The storm passed to the east of Long Island, heading toward the Florida east coast. We heard from Stella Maris the next morning reporting no major damage to the Resort Club, Marina, or Airport. We thank all of you who contacted us expressing your care and concern. Please be assured, everyone, all boats, and property are safe and secure. Everything has been restored - shingles, tree branches, etc. Our aircraft have returned to Long Island. Boats in our marina are all okay, and the Marina remains open. Our airport is dry and operational. Resort will re-open on schedule October 1.”
Frances Roberts, General Manager, Best Western Crystal River Resort and Crystal lodge DiveCenter
“Lost Island Voyages and the Avalon have escaped any damage from the passing hurricanes. The Bimini area sustained very little damage and the visibility is excellant. We commend the DEMA organization for assisting those members who were less fortunate.”
Honorable Brenda Hood, Minister of Tourism, Grenada
Grenada has begun the rebuilding process after Hurricane Ivan.On September 21st the Honorable Brenda Hood, Minister of Tourism, gave the following statement and update regarding Hurricane Ivan’s effects on Grenada as the country begins to rebuild:
"To our family and friends throughout the world - - the people of Grenada greatly appreciate all of the support we have been receiving from a regional and international level. As you have heard, the effects of Hurricane Ivan have taken an overwhelming toll on the people of Grenada. Each day we continue to assess the damage and destruction left by this horrific storm. But, while the hurricane may have destroyed our homes, public buildings and resorts, it has not flattened our spirit. The soul of Grenada remains undamaged. We recognize it will take considerable time and effort to fully recover and rebuild. While it will be an arduous process, I have no doubt that our beautiful island will be restored to its former glory. As the rebuilding process unfolds I pledge to keep you informed of our progress."
The following update reflects all confirmed information that the Grenada Board of Tourism’s public relations representatives have received regarding infrastructure, airlines, seaports, resort regions and hotel status:
According to the most recent report issued by the National Emergency Relief Organization (NERO) on September 18th, water supply was 80% restored in the parish of St George, 75% in the parish of St. Patrick and between 25 – 30% in the parishes of St. John, St. David, St. Mark and St. David. Electricity has been fully restored to the parish of St. George as has telephone service to sections of this parish.Telephone service remains down in most of the country however and internal communications remain a major challenge.There is limited communication between the Emergency Operation Centre and its teams in the field, between the airport and seaport, and communication with the public.
All the major roads in Grenada are again open to traffic. Banks and shops are now open as well.
From a security standpoint, a dusk to dawn curfew remains in effect and is enforced by local security and soldiers of the Regional Security System of the Caribbean.
PointSalinesInternationalAirport is open for daily operations to both regional and international flights between the hours of , until further notice.
BWIA is offering flights from New York and Miami via its Trinidad hub while Air Jamaica has resumed all flights via its Montego Bay hub and its Tuesday, Friday and Sunday non-stop service from JFK/New York. LIAT is operating four daily scheduled flights to Grenada.
Bel Air Plantation sustained very minimal damage. The resort plans to reopen in mid-October or early November.
Blue Horizons Garden Resort expects to reopen within four months. The resort experienced water and roof damage, but no structural damage.
Calabash Hotel will remain closed until October 30th. The resort had already been closed for the remodeling of the Pool Suites during the storm and suffered minimal damage.
Flamboyant Hotel will reopen on December 20th with 36 rooms of its 61 units. The one- and two-bedroom apartments will be available in the spring of 2005.
LaSource sustained no major structural damage with only minimal damage to the roof.The resort is currently closed for visiting guests. 30 rooms remain open for emergency personnel.
Rex Grenadian will remain closed until mid-December. The resort reports damage to roofs, public areas and some guestrooms.
Spice Island Beach Resort will be closed for one year. The resort lost approximately 90 percent of its roofs as well as the main facilities including its restaurants, lounge, spa and water sports. All back of house areas were also compromised.
Grenada is in dire need of food, water, building supplies and monetary donations. The Grenada Embassy and Grenadian Consulates have established a relief fund to serve these needs. For more information, please visit the "How to Help" section at www.grenadaemergency.com.
“In the aftermath of Hurricane Ivan, the Aquanauts Grenada SCUBA dive shop in Grenadais in full operation at their TrueBlueBay Resort location.All employees survived the storm, although many are without a roof or home. In addition, two of their modern dive boats survived the hurricane.
The dive shop at Spice Island Beach Resort will remain closed along with their dive shop at the Grand Beach Resort. The True Blue Bay Resort dive shop experienced no structural damage as a result of the storm but it did sustain roof and water damage, which has been repaired. Hurricane Ivan did not have a big surge or high seas, and no major damage to the reefs is expected. This will be confirmed through a dive next week, to check dive site moorings, reefs and wrecks.
‘We still have a lot of work to do following Hurricane Ivan in helping Grenada to get back on her feet, but by October 1st, we expect to have our True Blue dive shop completely operational,’ said Peter Seupel, managing partner.
‘While Hurricane Ivan was not a welcome guest, we’ll take this opportunity to enhance our operation and make it even more appealing for our guest base of divers, nature enthusiasts and travelers seeking a tropical dive destination at affordable prices,’ Gerlinde Seupel, marketing director said. ‘In the mean time, we are assisting in restoring Grenada as a dive destination.’
They have already confirmed their first dive group from England beginning October 17 followed by a large dive group from the United States beginning October 23. ‘We will be a strong presence at DEMA beginning October 13, Seupel said, "and we will be taking reservations for dive trips.’
All visitors who have reservations made directly with Aquanauts will have their bookings moved to True Blue Bay Resort. Clients who made reservations via a tour operator or travel agent should contact them to have their holiday rebooked or reconfirmed.”
Jean Pierce & Kris Newman, REELDIVERS, GrottoBay, Long Island, The Bahamas www.reeldivers.com
"Reeldivers at GrottoBay on Long Island, Bahamas, is operational and the property has sustained no significant damage. Likewise, our Pro 42 dive boat is undamaged. Our primary dive sites fall along the Nuevitas Wall at the banks drop-off into the deep ocean. Fortunately these canyon-like sites are sufficiently vertical and deep to avoid damage during stormy conditions; the sponges and mountainous star corals are allowed to grow undisturbed and they remain huge and healthy."
“With the passing of ‘Ivan the Terrible,’ we are happy to announce that the Little Cayman Beach Resort, Brac Reef Beach Resort, Conch Club and The Club were lucky enough to come out of the storm with minimal damage to our facilities and grounds.After some minor repairs and beach clean up, all properties are expected to re-open no later than October 30th 2004.
Grand Cayman took a much larger hit from the storm and it is our hope that Bob Soto’s Reef Divers, will be up and running in the latter part of November.
We wish to thank our many friends and guests for their support and understanding during this clean-up process and hope to see all of you very soon.Any questions regarding upcoming trips or to receive updated information, please contact our Reservation Department at (800) 327-3835.”
“Hotel rooms are partially damaged, but the bar, restaurant, seawall and deck are undamaged.The parking lot is damaged.The dive shop is undamaged.Sea View is refurbishing rooms and will make them better than ever. The hotel will be open for business by the first of the year. Most importantly, the diving in Cayman is still great and that the diving business in Cayman WILL survive.”
Richard Mitsoda, Maduro Dive Fanta-Seas, Miami, FL (US representative for hotel)
“Habitat Curacao experienced only minimal effects from some of the outer bands of Hurricane Ivan as it passed over the region.No damages were reported and the hotel is completely operational.The dive operations also remained fully operational and reported that reefs and marine life are healthy and unharmed.”
Jack Chalk, President of STINAPA Bonaire, Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles
As first reported, preliminary assessments have indicated that the reefs came through our brush with Hurricane Ivan with very minimal impact, most of which was siltation, and which in many cases has already cleared (hard corals have cleaned themselves and the currents and divers are taking care of the sponges). Any coral heads that have been disturbed are being turned back over by very experienced divers. These cases of damaged corals are very isolated incidences and do not reflect the overall condition of the reef system of Bonaire which remains in very good condition.A more accurate and scientifically based assessment of the conditions of the reef system will be forthcoming from the Director of STINAPA Bonaire in collaboration with the Manager of the BNMP as soon as all data collected can be compiled and collated. The reef system of Bonaire covers a large area and making an accurate assessment is a very time consuming process. We ask that everyone please have patience while this report is being prepared.
Minimal damage was reported by hotels and dive shops. Hotels are offering full guest services and dive operations.More details can be found on Bonaire’s website.
Richard Mitsoda, Maduro Dive Fanta-Seas, Miami, FL (US representative for hotel)
“Captain Don’s Habitat on Bonaire reported that Hurricane Ivan did not cause any type of damage to the hotel or its dive operations, and the reefs were not harmed. Bonaire experienced some waves, rain and wind, but everyone at Captain Don’s was safe, the hotel and dive operations resumed to normal on the following day, and divers were back in the water within 36 hours.”
Pascal De Meyer, Photo Tours Bonaire/Yellow Submarine, Bonaire, NetherlandsAntilles
“Provo Turtle Divers has survived all of the hurricanes fine and we are still operational.We typically take our boat out of service anyways for September for yearly maintenance and at this time we have not actually seen the reefs. But we have heard there is minimal damage to the reef and sea life.”
”Thanks for the opportunity to let the diving community know the Keys are safe and sound. As far as we can tell, none of reefs have suffered any damage; diving conditions have generally been good. We really haven't missed a beat other than all the tourists being evacuated, thus no business.
It seems the Keys are the poor relatives of southeast Florida, so accurate information is not always forthcoming from the media. It would benefit our area to make sure that divers contact their dive operators for truthful information regarding weather conditions here. Remember that the Keys stretch for over 100 miles and storms that affect Key West have very little impact on the Upper Keys. Hopefully we have seen the last of the major storms for this season.”
“We were without power for a few days, and a tornado ripped through here within a few feet of the shop. Fortunately, our damage was minimal and we had moved our boats to safe harbor. We now have power and are back in business. If anyone would like to book trips with us, please call us at 888-874-3483. Even in north Florida, we have decent diving weather and water temperatures until at least Thanksgiving. Cooler water also has its benefits, with larger fish coming closer inshore and better visibility.”
”We made it through Frances with no major damage to our facility. The only major damage was to our dock which is being rebuilt as I write this. It is due to be completed by the end of this week. Our dive boat rode out the storm in the boat yard and is fine. It's having routine maintenance performed on it as the dock is being rebuilt. We have been open for business for everything except dive charters since September 10, including sales, classes, fills, etc. We expect our dive charter operation to be back to business as usual no later than October 1.”
“Captain Slate's Atlantis Dive Center, Inc. (and the Keys for that matter) is concerned we got no physical damage what so ever, but the Keys were evacuated three times from 10 Aug until 13 Sept which [hurt] our season, so everyone has lost tens of thousands but all are ok otherwise, we hardly even got rain from any of the storms, only Charley dropped some heavy rain in Key West, but not up here in Key Largo.”
Larry Speaker, US Reservation Office Manager, Stuart Cove, Nassau, The Bahamas
“Hurricane Frances was the biggest scare for us (Sept. 1-4, 2004). The two subsequent storms did not come very close to us and had no impact on our operations.All of our current hotel partners - the Wyndham Nassau Resort and Casino, Holiday Inn Nassau (Downtown), and British Colonial Hilton are all operational as well and received only cosmetic damage if any. None of the properties had to close after the storm for any type of damage repair. It has been a daunting season for all of us as the activity is level is quite unusual. However, everything has now returned to normal, the water remains warm, visibility is great, and it is a perfect time to enjoy a relaxing holiday. We are accepting new reservations and have some specials available both for immediate travel and for those who can plan several months in advance to take advantage of some Early Booking Bonuses.
It’s “Business As Usual” Stuart Cove’s Escapes Hurricane Frances With A Near Miss
Nassau, Bahamas - Stuart & Michelle Cove have just reported that it is business as usual beginning Monday morning (Sept 6, 2004) at Stuart Cove’s. According to Michelle Cove “The dive shop is fine, all the boats are fine. We have only suffered minor cosmetic damage and we will be back in business on Monday.”
During the night on Thursday and day on Friday Hurricane Frances passed to within 60 miles to the east of New ProvidenceIsland. Fortunately, that put Stuart Cove’s in the weakest quadrant of the storm. Hurricane force winds were felt; however, they were much weaker than what was predicted in the forecasts.
According to Stuart Cove “Some places get earthquakes, but when you live in the Caribbean, you expect to get a hurricane every few years or so. We had plenty of time to get well prepared for hurricane Francis. Nassau is well placed to miss a direct hit, as most of these storms tend to stay to the East of us. Fortunately this was the case with this storm. I am glad everything has worked out, and I am still thinking of other islands that saw the brunt of the storm.”
“Business as Usual” also means that guests who travel during this off season can save big. Stuart Cove’s divers who book a package at the Holiday Inn Nassau can receive their 4th night free when they book before September 30th for travel anytime between now and Dec. 20th. In addition to the free night, Stuart Cove’s will replace one of your package 2-tank dives with a complimentary upgrade to their Wall Flying™ program.
For more information or to book your upcoming dive adventure to Nassau, call Stuart Cove’s at 800-879-9832 or visit our website.
“Our boats and condos have survived Ivan. We expect the beach clean-up to be completed and the diving operations to resume at the Conch Club and Conch Club Divers on Little Cayman by the end of October or earlier. Little Cayman and Cayman Brac received very little damage, especially as compared to Grand Cayman and others in the Caribbean.”
“Spruce Creek Scuba in Daytona Beach weathered both Charley, Frances and the back side of Ivan with minimum damage. We are open for business. At this time the only fresh water dive site open is Blue SpringsState Park. We are awaiting word on when Alexander Springs National Recreational Area will reopen. The conditions off shore Daytona have been less than desirable. Visibility on the bottom 20 miles off shore was zero. We hope to see improvement by this weekend.”
“Other than an elevated stress level for a few weeks, our area has faired well. Our help and support go out to the locations that did not escape the hurricanes this season. (We are well aware of what they are going through, having gone through Andrew 12 years ago.) South of us, the Keys are open for business and the reefs are fine. See you in Texas!”
Bill Beard, Bill Beard’s Diving Safaris, Costa Rica
“The ‘Sea Dragon’ weathered Hurricane ‘Frances’ safely at the marina on Highbourn Cay Exumas (Bahamas). Due to a well protected marina and an extensive array of docking lines (nearly 30 lines of 1" and 1-1/4") we received no damage from the 100+ knot winds. We missed the eye wall by about 20 miles on the weak side. The water visibility went from 100+ feet to only 6 inches due to the storm passage, but returned to 100 foot visibility over the following 10 days. The "Sea Dragon" is currently in Fort Lauderdale for the fall maintenance season and we are taking requests for charter dates in 2005.”
Anna Schmitz and the Crew of EmeraldCoast Scuba,EmeraldCoast Scuba, Destin, FL
“From the Dive Station Orlando, FL.I had about 9 no sale days in August after Charlie, and so far 9 no sale days after Francis. Had store damage after both storms. Charlie went right on top of my store, with me in it. Took out a power pole, which took out the electric wires and left me without power for 12 days. Water in the store from roof damage from both storms and an every day rain. Hopefully next year will be good.”
Capt. Bill Grosscup, Owner, CaptainsCornerDiveCenter, Key West, FL
“I am writing from the Inn of Last Resort in Roatan Honduras. We are a 30 room dive and vacation resort on the west end of Roatan. As you may well know the island of Roatan was unharmed by any of the recent hurricanes. The island did receive a little residual wave action from the passing hurricanes but nothing major. The reef surrounding the bay islands is in great condition and life continues as usual.”
Marco Caruso, Zeboz Caribbean Resort, Placencia, S.C., Belize www.zeboz.com
”We have not been affected by the recent hurricanes and we’re looking forward to a prosperous season here in Belize.”
“Yes, we are up and running. Despite many false stories which have apparently been reported by the news media, the Florida Keys have really not suffered any physical damage from the storms, and there has been no impact on dive sites.The only setback is economic, as people tend to believe everything they see on the news, and they are very much hesitant to visit the Keys. They can not believe that we are telling them the truth about the local situation. Ocean Divers is fully operational, and we are running our regularly scheduled dive charters. Complete charter information (schedule, rates, etc.) is on this page: http://oceandivers.com/charter/index.htm.”
“Clean up from Hurricane Ivan is underway at the Divi Tiara Beach Resort in Cayman Brac, and the resort and staff looks forward to welcoming back guests once the Cayman Government lifts its restrictions for non-resident entry.The Divi Tiara Beach Resort sustained damage to its dive pier and beach bar as a result of Hurricane Ivan. Resort management reports that repairs are moving quickly. Three custom dive boats, including the newest ‘Brac Fever,’ are operational and ready for diving.
Divi Tiara general manager, Max Hillier, credits his remarkable staff for the quick recovery, stating ‘Divi Tiara is so blessed to have a team of people so instrumental in the protection and restoration of our slice of paradise.’
Resort staff went on their first dives today, and reports that the visibility is good.
The resort is open in a limited capacity to house residents displaced by the Hurricane, and will re-open to guests soon.”
“The Scuba Shop located in south east Florida , Kendall Miami to be exact [is] up and running and was not affected by the hurricanes.We have been on some of the deep 150 fsw - 260 fsw wrecks and we are happy to report that there is little evidence that they were disturbed or affected by any surge.
Captain Jim Wyatt, Florida Keys Reef-Divers, The Florida Keys
“The Florida Keys escaped any direct damage from Charley, Frances and Ivan but have been severely impacted economically from cancellations and mandatory evacuations. I have spoken with numerous shops and everybody is way down in business. It appears that the phones are just beginning to ring and business is slowly coming back.”
Heidi & Bill Ferrell, AbyssDiveCenter, Marathon, Florida Keys, FL
“Thank you for your email. We are happy top report we had NO damages from hurricanes. All boats, dock and DiveCenter fine! We are in operations and open for business. Our island had minimal damages overall.”
"Hurricane Ivan did pass on the north side of Tobago and stirred up the water quite a bit, however there was only minimal damage to the reef no damage to the vessel. We disembarked passengers from Wind Dancer and housed them at local hotels. They returned to the boat, made a few dives but the visibility was very poor as would be expected. They will receive future compensation according to our hurricane policy. The upside to all of the rain associated with the hurricanes and even more so, the rains in Venezuela that cause the Orinoco River to flow into Tobago have brought good manta encounters, active hammerheads in and around the Sisters and nice cold blue water below the river runoff (which brings in the hammerheads).
Sun Dancer II left Belize and arrived in Mobile, Alabama just two days before Hurricane Ivan arrived there. Both crew and vessel are fine."