ABACO’S ‘HOLE-IN-THE-WALL’ BEFORE SANDY DEMOLITION: FIRST & LAST EVER IMAGES


ABACO’S HOLE-IN-THE-WALL BEFORE HURRICANE SANDY DESTRUCTION

THE FIRST & LAST EVER IMAGES OF A GEOGRAPHICAL LANDMARK

This post follows on directly from my PREVIOUS POST about Hurricane Sandy’s destruction of Abaco’s Hole-in-the -Wall rock ‘bridge’. Thanks to Abaco resident Jack Bowers, his camera and his kind permission, I am able to show what are almost certainly the very first and the very last pictures of Abaco’s Hole in the Wall aka ‘Hole in the Rock’, the landmark rock formation at the southeastern tip of the island.

THE EARLIEST KNOWN PICTURE OF HOLE-IN-THE-WALL

The earliest picture that I have been able to trace is a fine nautical aquatint dated 1803 by J.Wells based on a shipman’s sketch. There’s more detail about it in the previous post, but for the full details of this picture, its origin, and a very early description of  one of Abaco’s best-known features CLICK HOLE-IN-THE-WALL AQUATINT 

THE LAST PICTURES EVER TAKEN OF THE HOLE IN THE WALL, ABACO

Jack Bowers and some friends visited Hole-in-the-Wall a week before Hurricane Sandy swept in from the south. He writes “I hiked all around (and foolishly IN) the Hole on 10/17/12, a week before its demise. I may have the last photos taken of various aspects of it, if needed. I noticed some serious cracks (mostly on the proximal side of the arch) and placed my feet carefully away from them, but the collapse did not seem this imminent. I also shot some nice shots of the lighthouse from the distal point of the rocks (a shot not easily obtainable now). Trying to find a positive, the new “Window” should provide some spectacular new splashes that the arch used to largely contain”. Please note that the very fine photos below are all ©Jack Bowers

The ‘Land’s End’ promontory of Abaco, taken from the lighthouse station. The Hole is (was) near the tip.

Looking back to the lighthouse on the hike south

Rough seas ahead…  foreshadowing the later rock destruction                

A last view of ‘Hole in the Wall’ as it used to look….     

The dramatic view from below the arch – it will never be seen like this again…

ABACO’S CHANGED GEOGRAPHY AS FROM 10.24.12 FOR ALL ETERNITY

HOLE-IN-THE-WALL: LATE PLEISTOCENE EPOCH to LATE OCTOBER 2012

Very soon after these photos were taken, the history of the Hole and the geography of Abaco abruptly changed. The weather worsened, Tropical Storm Sandy gathered strength north of Cuba to reach hurricane force, and a week later the rock arch had been simply smashed into the boiling sea by the combined power of wind and the water. It seems unlikely that in the intervening week, with a major storm approaching, anyone else will have made the long rough drive 15 miles along the track to the lighthouse, traversed the difficult terrain of the promontory, risked the increasing winds and swelling seas, and calmly toted a camera at the underside of the arch. So unless and until I hear otherwise, I shall consider Jack’s pictures to be the final record of an Abaco landmark known to sailors for many centuries, mapped by name since 1738 (or earlier), first depicted in 1803 and probably in existence since the last ice-age. R.I.P. (Rest in Pieces)

AFTERWORD: DOES THIS SORT OF THING HAPPEN OFTEN ON ABACO?

Yes. As elsewhere in the Bahamas or indeed any hurricane zone. Here’s an example from last year demonstrating the power of Hurricane Irene, which also scored a direct hit on Abaco. The top photo is a shot of the Delphi Club beach at Rolling Harbour looking south, taken by me in early 2011. I have cropped it to enlarge the view of the large rock in the sea beyond the small bay on the middle left. It’s a substantial, solid, slab visible at all tides.

Hurricane Irene passed directly overhead on August 26 / 27 2011. Here’s my photo taken this year, showing the rock with the centre blasted out during the storm. Impressive damage! (That little piece of foreshore needs a clean-up… most of that stuff looks like plastic junk / nylon rope etc, the sort of detritus that takes a mere century or three to degrade…)

GREEN TURTLE CAY, ABACO 6 WEEKS AFTER HURRICANE IRENE


Michelle, a resident of Green Turtle Cay who contacted me just after Irene had hit, has emailed this update of the situation there. I’m still getting searches from people asking for news on GTC, so I’m posting this now – there may be some images to add in due course. I have a feeling that many people outside Abaco / Bahamas have no idea that the comms are still down over many areas 6 weeks later, and that the great repair and clean up continues

“Thankfully everyone is fine except for the continuous cleaning up and trying to restore the phone service.  I hear BATELNET has been sold by the gov. So there is now one hapless phone line repairman scampering around trying to get all the lines drained of water and serviceable… Irene came in on both sides and on high tide (as usual… remember Floyd?). It would have been good to have been able to receive news in the US while Irene was approaching the chain, but typical that unless it directly concerns [the US], you have to have other news sources. The patience of Bahamians is simply amazing!”

Although I have stood down from temporary hurricane-watch commentary, I will continue to post with news from individual areas for as long as I am getting online queries. All credit to WordPress for the detailed daily stats breakdowns…

 ©rh

WHALES & DOLPHINS ABACO: BMMRO BLOG – the Irene effects


 Click logo!

Charlotte Dunn has posted a report of events at Sandy Point in August on the BBMRO site. Her account includes photos of Hurricane Irene as it passed over Sandy Point, and of some of the damage in the aftermath 

For the direct link to Charlotte’s  blog  CLICK DOLPHIN ===>>> 

Hurricane Irene on its way towards Abaco, directly in its path …Image credit BMMRO

TILLOO CAY ABACO: UPDATE & IMAGES POST HURRICANE IRENE


                                                           Click me!                                                                                                          ©Brigitte Bower Carey

I have been in touch with Brigitte Bower Carey from Tilloo Cay, whose cheerful painting of a Sergeant Major graces the usual rh Logo space above. She has kindly sent an update on the post-Irene situation on Tilloo, and a couple of images showing the effects of the storm on foliage. Luckily, it sounds as though the birdlife is ok in the aftermath. But no phone, a month after…

“Everything is good here – the house and we weathered the storm just fine. The dock is a mess, but is repairable. Nothing at all like most of the south facing docks on our island and our neighbouring island, Lubber’s Quarters – only the poles survived there. So we are grateful. Still cleaning up, the yard was in bad shape, but it is coming along… Communications are a weak point here after the storms – we still don’t have our phone back.

Abaco is starting to look like in spring time now, because a lot of the foliage got burned in the 140 mph gusts of Irene. So now all of the surviving trees are pushing out new leaves, plus all the rain has helped revive things. But nothing at all like after Floyd – when we came home in November ’99 there was not a leaf on any tree, and no birds at all. So we are considering ourselves very lucky now”. 

BAHAMIAN MAHOGANY REGENERATING AFTER IRENE

A WIND-BURNED SEA GRAPE PLANT PRODUCING NEW LEAVES

Both images © Brigitte Bower Carey
www.islandwatercolors.com
www.abacoislandartists.blogspot.com

DELPHI CLUB, ABACO, BAHAMAS – NEW SEASON / RH TAKES A BREAK


The Delphi Club reopens for the 2011 – 12 season on October 1st. For details please go to the Club’s website CLICK===>>> DCB 

Meanwhile, in the rollingharbour household a quick break is imminent and there will be no further posts until near the end of the month. I notice from my stats that there is still plenty of interest in Hurricane Irene and the after-effects on the Island, its Cays and the wildlife. I have not added to my original posts during 10 days or so before, during and after the storm. There is a great deal more information available online from other sources, so I hope people are finding the information they need.

Finally, here is an interesting map of South Abaco from Parrots International (see sidebar for direct link). It was prepared for use during research a while ago into predation of Abaco Parrot nesting sites.

©Parrots International

ABACO BARBS: HURRICANE IRENE VIDEO & NEWS UPDATE


I have been in touch with Mim at ARKWILD to find out the latest news on the Abaco Barbs, and in particular how things are after Hurricane Irene. She has kindly sent a brief update which speaks for itself – not very optimistic-sounding, I’m afraid: 

“Horses did fine, but we are down to the three mares inside, and one, possibly still two, stallions outside, we’re still fighting but it’s hard to paint this picture in pretty colors right now  . . .”

Mim has also sent the link to a dramatic 4 minute video which includes vivid footage of Hurricane Irene’s power as it passes over on August 25; and the aftermath on August 26 with graphic footage of damage, debris and flooding. Luckily the mares in the compound and her dogs were ok. Her boat home, well secured before Irene struck, still had various parts including its solar panels blown off, which she was fortunately able to recover by diving for them! 

CLICK IMAGE TO VIEW VIDEO===>>>  

HURRICANES: THE ESSENTIAL WHAT, WHERE AND WHY


During the recent depredations of Hurricane Irene, the news station based in Miami / F.L. was one of the very few to cover events unfolding on Abaco, with excellent live reports from Marsh Harbour as the storm passed overhead. I included the links on a daily basis during the last week in August.

It is worth saying that in addition to its normal weather coverage, the station has a dedicated hurricane section that is well-worth having a look at, and indeed keeping bookmarked for future extreme weather: CLICK LOGO===>>>

Here are the various topics that are covered at present – many people (like myself) unaccustomed to hurricanes will have wondered about many of these topics – especially some of the terminology. Click on one to find the answer! (Oh. You’ll have to endure some 15 sec ads. Sorry. Nice little Fiat 500, though!).

1. HURRICANE Q & A

Hurricane Housecall: Don’t Forget Your Roof

Hurricane House Call: Screen Enclosures

What Is A Hurricane?

When Is Hurricane Season?

Where Is The National Hurricane Center?

Who Are The Hurricane Hunters?

Hurricane Categories: Differences Between Each

What Is A Tropical Cyclone?

Do All Continents Get Tropical Cyclones?

What Is A Subtropical Cyclone?

How Do Hurricanes Form?

What Is A Cape Verde Hurricane?

What Is The Eye Of The Hurricane?

What Is The Dirty Side?

Hurricane Watch Vs. Hurricane Warning

What Are Spiral Bands?

What Is The Eyewall?

What Is A Storm Surge?

What Is The Saharan Air Layer?

Video Why Do Storms Weaken Over Land?

Year Without A Hurricane?

Should I Tape My Windows?

Should I Open Windows And Doors?

Can We Control Hurricanes?

Why Are Hurricanes Given Names?

Hurricanes Vs. Tornadoes

How Much Energy Does A Hurricane Release?

What Was The Busiest Hurricane Season Ever?

2. JUST WEATHER HURRICANE CENTER

Storm Tracker And Tropical Updates Continue reading