Delphi Sunrise, Abaco 3


There’s a moment when certain photos suddenly look as if they are paintings. This may be especially true of skyscapes or seascapes – or both together. Here are some recent daybreak views from Abaco which could as easily have been painted from a bright palette. And in case you think the effects have been produced or enhanced by some photoshop-style jiggery-pokery, all these images are exactly as I downloaded them, and no ‘special effect’ settings were used to take them. I just pointed and shot… J.M.W.Turner, what could you have done with a Pentax?

Delphi Sunrise, Abaco 1Delphi Sunrise, Abaco 5Delphi Sunrise, Abaco 2Delphi Sunrise, Abaco 6Delphi Sunrise 4


Hurricane Irene 2011 - the eye right on course for central Abaco

Hurricane Irene 2011 – the eye right on course for central Abaco


STOP PRESS – UPDATE Following yesterday’s post (below), the hurricane’s tendency to track further away from the Bahamas is confirmed by later models, for examples this one from Wunderground. So I think we are officially ‘off-risk’. But Bermuda is definitely not… Anyway, read on a bit and you will find out how hurricanes get their names! 


Yesterday I posted on my FB page an NOAA hurricane tracking map update for Hurricane Gonzalo, currently rated Cat. 2 on the SAFFIR-SIMPSON SCALE. It is making its way north through the Caribbean right now, and at one stage the storm cone looked on a possible course for the Bahamas. Abaco has been spared a major cyclone for a couple of years. However memories are very recent of Hurricane Irene (2011) which passed directly over Abaco as a Cat. 3 storm; and Hurricane Sandy (2012) that passed marginally to the east with (at that stage) an intensity of a Cat. 1 before going on to wreak havoc further north. During those ‘extreme weather events’ I posted regularly about them, with tracking maps and photos. At the time of Irene there was remarkable little information around online and I got a huge number of hits – 5000+ in a day, 15,000+ in a week. I also replied to lots of inquiries from the Bahamas, US and Canada, both general (“How are things at Cherokee?”) to very specific (“Do you happen to know if my boat ‘Blowdakidzinheritanz’ moored in Little Harbour is Okay?”).

Hurricane Sandy Earth from Space 2

Hurricane Sandy over Abaco from the International Space Station

I  have been surprised at the response the map generated by way of ‘Likes’ and comments expressing relief… So from my current safe distance of precisely 4250.00 miles from Marsh Harbour, I am posting an update with helpful maps and a bit of general hurricane info. The agencies all agree that Gonzalo will hook east as it progresses northwards. The Bahamas outlook is promising, though for example Bermuda looks to be at risk.  There’s more on hurricanes on the page ABACO WEATHER. I always think that Wunderground produce the clearest maps for general purposes, though there’s a great deal more information to be had from the NOAA site, to which there’s a direct link in the Sidebar (I’ve moved it to near the top for the time being).


WUNDERGROUND 3-DAY TRACKING & WIND MAP at201408at201408_satat201408_radar



ACCUWEATHER SATELLITE VIEW & TRACKERHurricane Gonzalo Tracking Map  - clip jpg


Here is a reminder of how tropical storms and hurricanes are measured for intensity, as decreed by the S-SS, followed by the National Hurricane Center’s explanation of the gradations of relative intensities.

Saffir-Simpson Scale (Wiki) jpgT

The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale is a 1 to 5 rating based on a hurricane’s sustained wind speed. This scale estimates potential property damage. Hurricanes reaching Category 3 and higher are considered major hurricanes because of their potential for significant loss of life and damage. Category 1 and 2 storms are still dangerous, however, and require preventative measures. In the western North Pacific, the term “super typhoon” is used for tropical cyclones with sustained winds exceeding 150 mph.

Category   Sustained Winds Types of Damage Due to Hurricane Winds
1 74-95 mph
64-82 kt
119-153 km/h
Very dangerous winds will produce some damage: Well-constructed frame homes could have damage to roof, shingles, vinyl siding and gutters. Large branches of trees will snap and shallowly rooted trees may be toppled. Extensive damage to power lines and poles likely will result in power outages that could last a few to several days.
2 96-110 mph
83-95 kt
154-177 km/h
Extremely dangerous winds will cause extensive damage:Well-constructed frame homes could sustain major roof and siding damage. Many shallowly rooted trees will be snapped or uprooted and block numerous roads. Near-total power loss is expected with outages that could last from several days to weeks.
111-129 mph
96-112 kt
178-208 km/h
Devastating damage will occur: Well-built framed homes may incur major damage or removal of roof decking and gable ends. Many trees will be snapped or uprooted, blocking numerous roads. Electricity and water will be unavailable for several days to weeks after the storm passes.
130-156 mph
113-136 kt
209-251 km/h
Catastrophic damage will occur: Well-built framed homes can sustain severe damage with loss of most of the roof structure and/or some exterior walls. Most trees will be snapped or uprooted and power poles downed. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.
157 mph or higher
137 kt or higher
252 km/h or higher
Catastrophic damage will occur: A high percentage of framed homes will be destroyed, with total roof failure and wall collapse. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last for weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.


Check out the page ABACO WEATHER


Hurricane Irene 2011 Bahamas Map Accu jpg Hurricane Sandy Map Bahamas 2012 jpg



“Life’s a beach”, it is said. On Abaco, a new season is starting at the Delphi Club, and the first guests will be sorting out their fishing tackle, reaching for the sun cream and abandoning pre-Delphi diet boot-camp. If they have been eating Marmite™ sandwiches for a week before their arrival, they won’t need  to waste energy slapping no-see-ums. The day-dreaming becomes reality, perhaps involving his ‘n’ hers rods near the rocks at one end of the beach

That’s all well and good. But in more northern latitudes the slide from summer via autumn to winter is accelerating. The trout fishing season has just ended, with my final efforts washed away by heavy rain and flooding – this photo is the road leading to one of the beats, a sure meteorological sign that a visit to the local pub would be sensible… 

A pint of beer in front of a log fire soon puts things into perspective, and the mind can wander to warmer climates, the bonefishing prospects for the season, and the calm beauty of Rolling Harbour…

Two days ago, the UK temperature dropped sharply, the skies began to clear and the sun came back. Ah! Autumn – season of tum-ti-tum and mellow wotsit… 

At one moment there was a wonderful double rainbow across the fields

This was followed by a bright starry night & the thermometer dropping abruptly to -6˚F. And then this – the first frost of the year…

  These photos are of patterns on the car roof & windscreen, before the sun thawed the ice


Brrrrrrrrr. Best not to end on a freezing note. Back to Rolling Harbour for some warmth


MARCH 2011 Fires swept through large areas of South Abaco, spreading rapidly and jumping the firebreak of the Highway in several places. At any one time, there were several ‘non-natural’ seats of fire. For 3 days the flames were uncomfortably close to the Delphi Club, halted only by the natural boundary between the flammable pine forest and the damper less combustible coppice. The smoke caused some amazing visual effects, especially at sunset. The first image was taken looking east from the Club verandah one evening as the fire got nearer

The vegetation alongside and between the drives was dense and lushly green before the fires. Here is a photo as fire began to take hold near the top of the drives towards the road, having jumped the Highway in the night…

As the fire rapidly spreads, this tall dead tree is actually flaming from the top

During the next couple of days, we took photographs along the drives of the apocalyptic scenes where there had so recently been impenetrable vegetation. Nearly a year later, indispensable beachcomber and photographer Kasia has taken some pictures of the drives as they are now. First, two ‘then and now’ views of the same scenes to illustrate the extent of forest regeneration





2011 The burnt-out forest between the drives

2012 A wander round the drive circuit

In some places the undergrowth has returned but trees have not recovered

Elsewhere, blackened stumps are visible in amongst the vigorous regrowth



                    ABACO, BAHAMAS & HURRICANE IRENE                         A SCIENTIFIC RETROSPECTIVE

The contents of this post must be credited at the outset to the excellent website UNIVERSE TODAY and NASA where you can easily get Lost in Space for an eon or two. 

For 1o days at the end of August / in early September, the rh wildlife focus was supplanted by intensive weather blogging about Hurricane Irene from an Abaco perspective – the approach, direct journey north over the island, real-time reports and images of the storm and its aftermath, communication links and so forth. All from a safe distance of 4250 miles. On 26 August alone, this small blog – average daily hits 20 – had over 5000 hits…

3 months on, I have decided to revisit Hurricane Irene and the Bahamas because there is still a great deal of interest out there – I still get plenty of hits for the ‘storm posts’ – and much more available information. Some of these UNIVERSE TODAY / NASA images & videos are truly spectacular. The focus is on the 3 days August 24 – 26: before, during and after Abaco was struck by the storm


August 24, 2011 14.55 EDT Irene (taken by the GOES satellite) approaching the Bahamas. It now has a distinct eye and the clouds spiraling around the center are becoming more compact. The image also shows how large Irene has become, measuring several hundred kilometers across 

August 24, 2011 15:10 p.m. EDT View of Hurricane Irene from the International Space Station 230 miles above the Bahamas, moving northwest as a Category 3 hurricane with winds of 120 mph, expected to strengthen to a Category 4 storm imminently

August 25 2011  8.00 EDT Hurricane Irene 65 miles east-southeast of Nassau, Bahamas. Irene’s top sustained winds remain at 115 mph, moving to the northwest at 13 mph

August 25 2011 16.30 EDT Hurricane Irene from the International Space Station, clearing the Bahamas and heading north towards the US coast


1. HOW DOES A HURRICANE FORM? Insight into the process can be gleaned by watching a rapid time lapse movie of the formation of Hurricane Irene as it sweeps northwards across the Caribbean region

2. HURRICANE IRENE FROM CARIBBEAN TO CANADA This astounding NASA video tracks the path of Hurricane Irene from August 23 to August 29, showing the formation in the Caribbean region, the path over Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, the Bahamas and the US East Coast northwards to Canada 

3. HURRICANE IRENE IN 20 SECONDS (NOAA/ GOES) A psychedelic trip

CREDITS for images, videos and text (as adapted) go to the websites of UNIVERSE TODAY,  NASA and GOES PROJECT (NASA)


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…



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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