Report from Jack
of damage from Ivan in Grand Cayman
A note from here in England obviously a good distance from Ivan and what
it did in the Cayman Islands. We have obviously been worried to
death about the effects on our home on Grand Cayman, and what condition it
was in after the passing of the great storm. Days passed and no word
from anyone. All electricity was out, water had been turned off, and
land line telephones were out from the first day of the storm. A few
Cell Phones were working, but the circuits were completely out from the UK
to Cayman. Try as we may, all we got were busy signals, and more
busy signals. I finally got through on Wednesday (By Cell Phone) to
a friend on Grand Cayman who promised to go by our house and check things
out. Thank goodness he reached Dave Schudel, who has been staying in
our house while we were off the islands.
Well we were overjoyed last evening to receive a phone call from Dave who
works as the Forensic Pathologist at the Hospital via the Hospital phone
system which is back in service. I was almost afraid to ask him what
had happened after all of the horror stories we had heard on TV. He
simply said that we would be happy to hear that our house was still
standing, and that the roof was still attached.
Some minor damage in the form of a lot of the shingles that had gone with
the wind, a plaster board ceiling in our car port that had given way, and
fallen on to Barbara's Car. Speaking of the Honda CRV, it started
although the alternator was out because salt water damage. My Mazda
truck also started, and were still in the two car ports where we had
Considering that cars were floating out to sea or submerged on the
streets, ours came though with no damage.
Our satellite dish was still standing but all of the aluminum forming the
dish had been shredded and blown away. All of our trees are down as
are practically every tree on the island. My outside storage shed
got blown away but its contents stayed on the cement slab to which the
shed was attached. Our fresh water cistern, is now brakish as
seawater with a tidal surge of 8 foot inundated everything in
its path. This included 2 to 3 foot of water which passed though the
interior of our house soaking just about everything but the air mattress
on our bed. Obviously the water left the house as the water receded.
O well we wanted to redo the interior anyway.
Peak gust off 208 mph were recorded at the Airport, but the airport and
its tower survived, Plans of course had all left well before the
storm. Some flights have resumed in the last 2 days, bringing
food, water and emergency supplies to the island, and taking stranded
tourists back to Miami. As you can appreciate, fresh water is at a
premium, and food is scarce although two of the three supermarkets on the
island have resumed business opening with
in 36 hour of the storms end.
Kirks supermarket appears to have exploded, and nothing is left of
the building or its stocks. It was 1 block from the western
shore, and apparently 20 foot seas cam crashing down on it, carrying away
everything in its path. Light, and telephone poles litter the
streets, crushed cars are the norm, and practically every business down
town George Town has broken glass, lost roofs, some buildings completely
demolished. The Hyatt, and Marriott hotels lost their roofs and in
general the carnage of property was almost total. Only about 10% of
homes and business's escaped with only minor damage Ours was amongst
that 10%. Mariners Cove a condominium complex along the South Sound
road, was completely demolished and debris strewn across the east west
highway. All that was remaining was an empty cement slab where the
buildings once stood. Nothing was spared.
Dave who had his sailboat tied to our dock lost the boat as it broke lose,
and got impaled on one of the pilings of the dock. It still sitting
their, with the only hope of salvage being a lifting crane to get it up on
dry land for transport to the boat yard 3 blocks from our house.
Hopefully the hull can be repaired, and the boat re floated.
So far no reported loss of life, due to good planning, and sufficient
storm shelters. We hope that when the final chapter is written we
will be the only island to report 0 fatalities.
Having been through 5 hurricanes during my life, Ivan is one that I am
happy not to have had to sit though. It is far and away the largest,
most devastating, and most powerful one in my memory, and I believe the
biggest storm of the 20th century. Our house is cement block
construction with reinforcing rods between the blocks, and poured cement
from ground to roof. We had accordion hurricane shutters on all windows,
and not one shutter was damage, nor one pane of glass even cracked.
With all this preparation, Dave told me that at the peak of the storm
sitting in the North bedroom, he could feel the wall actually vibrate, and
he felt that it was going to let go at any moment. He was absolutely
terrified, and I don't blame him.
Well alls well that end well, I guess. A lot of clean up to do, and
I am going to try to head back as soon as possible probably within the
next 10 days two weeks or when the power is returned. Not much you
can do with out power or water. Barbara will stay here
probably until the first of November, when she will meet me in Florida for
a little rest I HOPE.
The storm Ivan