Devastation and Recovery – Hurricane Sandy at Great Stirrup Cay

brown palms after a hurricane

Great Stirrup Cay shortly after Hurricane Sandy

Many cruise ship lines have private islands around the Caribbean where their own ships stop.  These islands have ways for cruise ship passengers to spend a pleasant day on shore.  Norwegian cruise line’s Great Stirrup Cay in the Berry Islands of the Bahamas is no exception.  With a beautiful blue lagoon and white sand beaches passengers bask in the sun or sit in the shade of palm trees.  They could swim with stingrays or slide down a hippo slide – the world’s largest inflatable slide.

hurricane damaged palm tree

dead looking tree

Then hurricane Sandy came along, leaving devastation in her wake.  Brown, dead-looking trees and bushes stood sadly over a choked lagoon.   The shredded slide would never hear the laughter of happy children again.  Where a gentle sandy slope once led to a sandy shore, a four foot sandless drop overlooked boulder-filled waters.  One pole remained where the stingray pen once stood.

beach restored after hurricane Sandy

sand restored to the beach

Working hard to make the island a nice place to visit again, island employees dredged the lagoon, replaced the sand on the beach, and on ship free days, work on removing the boulders.  A new slide will replace the ruined one.  The stingrays stayed in the area, sometimes seen by passengers snorkeling around in the lagoon.

hurricane damaged trees

trees at Great Stirrup Cay just after Hurricane Sandy

At first glance, all the island’s vegetation looked brown and dead.  Upon closer examination, we saw nature at work.  Bits of green started appearing amidst the brown.  A leaf here, a stem there.  Soon the trees and shrubs – mainly palm trees and sea grapes – will have more green than brown.  When enough time passes they will once again stand in a green finery of leaves.

hurricane Sandy left the water murky at Great Stirrup Cay

fish at Great Stirrup Cay

The water in the lagoon, described as crystal clear on Norwegian’s website, was cloudy and murky during our visit, probably due to the damage sustained there during the hurricane.  That too should settle down over time.

Overall, the island got off fairly easy in the hurricane.  Buildings on Great Stirrup Cay remained intact.   Other areas were not so lucky.  Hurricane Sandy killed people in some parts of the Caribbean, hit Cuba at its peak causing some death and much destruction, and devastated the north Atlantic coast of the USA.  It destroyed many of the popular seaside tourist attractions in Atlantic City, New Jersey along with many homes and businesses.  It left parts of New York without power for days.

We were there in November 2012, shortly after the hurricane while the damage was still new.  Likely by now much on Great Stirrup Cay has returned to normal.

About LBcruiseshipblogger

MyCruiseStories blog tells stories about adventures in cruising on ships big and small. Things to do onboard and in port. Anything connected to cruising. Also food, travel, recipes, towel animals, and the occasional random blog.
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5 Responses to Devastation and Recovery – Hurricane Sandy at Great Stirrup Cay

  1. Kris says:

    Wow. I sure am glad to be living in a place where we no longer have to worry about hurricanes.

  2. Chris Beath says:

    We had a freak freezing rain storm in Texas a few years ago. The city officials didn’t know what to do. All the main highways were closed, I was planning on going scuba diving with friends that day but we couldn’t get to the dive site. All the roads had already cleared but the police were still afraid to open them. It was also very hard on plants, especally palms. Most looked dead but within a few months showed new signs of life. Palms and banana plants seem to be able to recover better then any other plants I have ever seen. We have some bananas growing in the corner of our back yard but they need 18 months frost free to produce bananas. Every winter it will freeze once in a while so it’s enough to kill the banana plants from that year but they always come back, they just never live long enough to actually produce bananas.

  3. Sandy really New York City area hard. The lower Manhattan subway stops on my local line remain closed because that station suffered such severe damage from the flooding. My place of employ, which is in lower Manhattan, was closed for a week due to the power outage and no public transportation. Some of my friends and my boss live downtown. They had it very rough. Since I live uptown, aside from the tree outside my window uprooting, but it fell sideways so no buildings were damaged, I got off remarkably easy, as did my friend, Milton. At the time I suffered some survivor’s guilt, but he looked at the situation philosophically, He reasoned that when New York City is swallowed by a tsunami, then we’ll be included amongst the suffering.

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