QUEEN TRIGGERFISH AND GOOD RIDDANCE TO MARIA


Queen Triggerfish Bahamas (Melinda Riger / Grand Bahama Scuba)

QUEEN TRIGGERFISH AND GOOD RIDDANCE TO MARIA

I can think of no sensible connection between the colourful yet undoubtedly strange and grumpy-looking looking queen triggerfish Balistes vetula, and a hurricane. However, Hurricanes Irma and Maria have been rightly dominating the news and everyone’s thoughts for nearly 3 weeks now. And most of the recent posts from Rolling Harbour, for that matter. It’s not been a great time for looking at the birds, beasts and fishes. So, as Maria drifts eastwards and away from the Bahamas into the open ocean, it’s time for a splash of colour – and a fish I have not featured before. 

Hurricane Maria tracking at 11.00 EST on Sept 22

Queen Triggerfish Bahamas (Melinda Riger / Grand Bahama Scuba)Queen Triggerfish Bahamas (Melinda Riger / Grand Bahama Scuba)

The queen triggerfish, sometimes known as an Old Wife, is an Atlantic reef fish. This species is sometime fished for as game, and I know that a few have been taken from off the rocks at the south end of Delphi beach over the years – though perhaps not exactly on purpose.

Queen Triggerfish Bahamas (Mark Peter, Wiki)Queen Triggerfish Bahamas (Melinda Riger / Grand Bahama Scuba)

This fish typically is coloured with shades of  blue, purple, turquoise and green with a yellowish throat, with pale blue lines fins on head and fins. It’s minor superpower is to be able to change its coloration to some extent to match its reef surroundings and assist camouflage. Its favourite food is the sea urchin.

Queen Triggerfish Bahamas (Clark Anderson / Aqua-images)

Let’s hope this is the last post to feature anything about hurricanes for a good long time, as we think of all those still struggling to make sense of the terrible destruction they have recently experienced – in some places, twice over.

Credits: Melinda Riger / Grand Bahama Scuba; Mark Peter, Wiki; Clark Anderson / Aqua-images

HURRICANE MARIA: TRACKING UPDATE for SEP 20th (Abaco, Bahamas)


HURRICANE MARIA: TRACKING UPDATE SEP 20th

Abaco, Bahamas

Hurricane Maria is currently passing over Puerto Rico as a Cat 4 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale. The big question for those to the north-west in general and (for this blog) Abaco in particular is, has the storm’s swerve to the east continued? And it’s now clear that the tendency has indeed been maintained. This means that today, more of the Bahamas Islands are now free for now from the cone of the predicted path. Here are the latest trackers for 11.00 am EDT today.

CURRENT POSITION

PREDICTED PATH

For the Abacos, the situation continues to improve for the moment at least. It’s certainly way too soon to be sure, but right now the outlook is good. And of course, Abaco may still experience a buffeting as the storm gradually progresses to the east. 

LOOKING FORWARD

Here is an estimate – and only that – of the position of Maria in relation to Abaco on Saturday Sep 23 at noon, if the current course holds. It will be a close shave, for sure.

Credits: NOAAW / GOES; GOES East; NASA; Wunderground; Accuweather; NOAA / NHC; Windy.com STAY SAFE

HURRICANE MARIA: TRACKING UPDATE SEP 19th (Abaco, Bahamas)


HURRICANE MARIA: TRACKING UPDATE SEP 19th

Abaco, Bahamas

In the life of a massive Cat. 5 hurricane, a lot can happen over 24 hours. One source reports ‘mind-boggling devastation’ on Dominica. Other islands on the storm’s path are braced for their own tragedies for their populations, many still reeling from the passage of Irma just 2 weeks ago. Here are the latest trackers for 11.00 am EDT today; and a calculated prediction for the position on Friday midnight.

CURRENT POSITION

PREDICTED PATH

The first thing to note is that (after a slight drop in wind speed) the storm has now intensified to become Cat. 5. In due course wind speeds are expected to reduce gradually, as shown, but of course it won’t necessarily turn out that way.

For the Abacos, however, the situation is notably better that this time yesterday, when the islands were squarely with the cone (though not right at the centre). However the distinct tendency of Maria to hook right / east that was evident yesterday has increased to the extent that Abaco – and indeed the northern Bahamas – is no longer within the cone. Much the same happened with Irma. Both sources below show a similar prediction. Again, it won’t necessarily turn out that way, but there’s at least some encouragement for a better outlook. And of course, this does not mean that Abaco won’t get some heavy weather as Maria moves on…

LOOKING AHEAD

I’ve used a realtime tracker and moved it forward along its timeline to midnight on Friday. I’ve centred the prediction on South Abaco (white circles). There’s plenty of scope for the course to alter in the meantime, but the model suggests the main storm will progress mainly to the east of the Bahamas – and if the veer continues, then the more so for the northern islands. But remember – the predictions are just that and no more…

Credits: NOAAW / GOES; GOES East; NASA; Wunderground; NOAA / NHC; Windy.com STAY SAFE

HURRICANE MARIA 2017: TRACKING THE NEW THREAT


HURRICANE MARIA 2017: TRACKING THE NEW THREAT

‘A PROBLEM LIKE MARIA’ feat. ‘DROP OFF THE QUAY, LEE’

It never rains, but it pours. Sometimes doubly so. Just as those so cruelly affected by Irma are beginning to deal with the trail of terrible damage and destruction of the huge hurricane, so another storm, Maria, approaches along a similar path. This has now been upgraded from a tropical storm to a Cat. 1 hurricane, and is expected to continue to pick up intensity.

The trackers below were all updated early this morning. The good news is that Lee is forecast to break up and dissipate. So at the moment, that threat can probably be discounted. Maria, on the other hand, is one to watch with eagle eyes: already on course to reach the Leeward Islands today, then expected to intensify and probably reach the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico as a Cat 3 or 4 hurricane by Wednesday. After that, the storm looks set to pass Hispaniola and may hit the Turks and Caicos by Friday unless there’s a more significant hook to the right along the way. Beyond that, the Bahamas…

You may wonder why I put in 3 or 4 trackers of the many that are out there. It’s because they each present the information in a slightly different way. Some are easy to interpret; some are overloaded with info or otherwise confusing; some seem to me to be less accurate. The ones here are the ones I have used and found useful (= clear and reliable) since 2011, Hurricane Irene…

OPTIONAL MUSICAL DIGRESSION

I initially decided to omit my usual OMD, often added when a relevant song gets name-checked hereabouts. Then I rethought it. I’m not meaning to be frivolous nor to downplay the seriousness of extreme weather events on all those so badly affected.  But on the other hand, there are a few things that can lighten the spirit, albeit briefly. A really well put together song with clever lyrics is one such. Get rid of the squall, Paul; Drop off the quay, Lee; Just sing ‘see ya, Maria’; 

Credits: NOAAW / RAMMB / GOES; GOES East; Wunderground; NOAA / NHC; Paul Simon

AFTER THE STORM: ALL THINGS BRIGHT & BEAUTIFUL


Abaco (Cuban) Parrot (Melissa Maura)

ABACO PARROT

AFTER THE STORM: ALL THINGS BRIGHT & BEAUTIFUL

For tens of thousands of people, the past 2 weeks have been dominated by one cruelly aggressive female: Irma. In terms of a lucky escape, Abaco’s gain was elsewhere’s pain. Recently, only the vivid Wunderground trackers I have posted have stood out from the bleakness of the ominous clouds, pounding waves, and sluicing rain. With the prospects for Hurricane Jose wandering around in the mid-Atlantic looking increasingly good, it’s time for a look at something more cheerful.

Birds can lighten the spirit. As yet, I’ve seen few reports of how the birds on Abaco have fared, but the ones I have seen have been encouraging. A west-indian woodpecker back on his usual tree; a piping plover foraging on the beach at Winding Bay, even as the storm raged; bird business more or less as usual at Delphi. No news yet of Abaco’s iconic parrots, which will have most likely headed to the National Park for cover. They usually manage OK. The header image is a tip of the hat to them, their raucous beauty, and their healthy recovery from near-extinction over the last few years.

Here’s a small gallery of some of Abaco’s most colourful and striking birds for some light relief. Have a nice day!

Painted Bunting, Abaco, Bahamas - Tom SheleyBananaquit, Abaco, Bahamas - Keith SalvesenWestern Spindalis, Abaco, Bahamas - Craig NashWhite-cheeked (Bahama) Pintail, Abaco, Bahamas - Keith SalvesenCuban Emerald Hummingbird, Abaco, Bahamas - Keith SalvesenBahama Woodstar, Abaco, Bahamas - Tom SheleyBlack-necked Stilt, Abaco, Bahamas - Tom SheleyCuban Pewee, Abaco, Bahamas - Keith SalvesenOsprey, Abaco, Bahamas - Tom SheleyBahama Yellowthroat, Abaco, Bahamas - Gerlinde Taurer

Photo Credits: Abaco (Cuban) Parrot, Melissa Maura; Painted Bunting, Tom Sheley; Bananaquit, Keith Salvesen; Western Spindalis, Craig Nash; White-cheeked (Bahama) Pintail, Keith Salvesen; Cuban Emerald (f), Keith Salvesen; Bahama Woodstar, Tom Sheley; Black-necked Stilt, Tom Sheley; Cuban Pewee, Keith Salvesen; Osprey, Tom Sheley; Bahama Yellowthroat, Gerlinde Taurer. Storm tracker, Wunderground

HURRICANE IRMA AFTERMATH: ABACO’S SIDESWIPE(S)


Hurricane Irma, Abaco

HURRICANE IRMA HITS CHEROKEE, ABACO, BAHAMAS

HURRICANE IRMA AFTERMATH: ABACO’S SIDESWIPE(S)

Hurricane Irma barrels on northwards as Florida begins to count the cost.  Abaco has had its turn to experience the awesome power of this brute of a storm. Or make that turns (plural) because such a massive storm 400 miles across, spiralling longs strands of filthy weather outwards with centrifugal menace, can strike more than once as the main storm passes further off.

Hurricane Irma, Abaco

Thanks to the relatively late shift of the storm’s path to the west, there was no direct hit on Abaco (as was once forecast). High winds and heavy seas, but none of the cruel devastation elsewhere that we have all been watching and reading about with horror and sympathy for the victims.

Seaweed covering the beach at Casuarina, AbacoHurricane Irma, Abaco

By Saturday evening, relieved messages were already being posted. Later, an official statement confirmed limited harm and damage. The airport was reopened. Albury’s Ferries announced the forthcoming resumption of services. Gradually, the overall picture took shape as more reports and messages came in from the mainland and the cays.

Tahiti Beach, Elbow Cay, Abaco

At Delphi, Jason confirmed that the worst of the storm passed quite quickly and that there was no structural damage, though doubtless the gardens have taken a beating – a minuscule inconvenience comparatively.

Hurricane Irma, Abaco    Hurricane Irma, AbacoHurricane Irma, Abaco

By yesterday morning, the only area I hadn’t seen anything about was the west side of Abaco – Sandy Point. Might things have been different -perhaps worse –  on the west coast? Then I heard from BMMRO HQ that the situation was much as elsewhere. The whales and dolphins of the Bahamas will continue be researched when the boat can put out to sea…

Atlantic Spotted Dolphins seen off Abaco before Irma came alongAtlantic Spotted Dolphins, Abaco, Bahamas (BMMRO)

Like the aftershocks of an earthquake, bouts of high winds and huge gusts have continued to pass over; and in places the sea has been sucked out from the beaches. There have been outages of course (not a novel experience even in calm times); and I’ve seen reports of interruption with water supplies. But I think it can be said that Abaco has escaped quite lightly – and certainly in comparison with the terrible devastation elsewhere.

Roof tiles have been lost, but there seems to have been limited structural damage. Trees have been trashed of course, and there has been plenty of beach erosion. Many beaches have been smothered in seaweed. But all-in-all, Abaco has fared alright, which is not to say that people’s thoughts have been absent from those who have taken the hit and borne the brunt of Irma’s rage.

Bahama Palm Shores, Abaco

The Low Place, Man-o-War Cay

WHAT ABOUT HURRICANE JOSE?

The tracking for this pursuer of Irma has appeared to show the storm going round in circles in mid-Atlantic. Until quite recently. This morning’s prediction shows a determined move to the west towards the end of the week. One to keep a very close eye on still.

WHAT ARE THE VIEWS FROM SPACE RIGHT NOW?

NASA-NOAA’s Suomi NPP satellite: night-time view of Irma over Florida

NASA / GOES East satellite: daytime view of the storm moving north over Florida

Credits: Karen Eldon (1); Olivia Patterson Maura (2, 9, 10); Andrea Janeen Sands Albury (3); Abaco Buzz (4); Jason Prangnall (5, 6); Dive Abaco (7); BMMRO (8); Beth Nace (11, 12, 13); Charmaine Albury (14); Wunderground for the Jose Tracker; NASA / NOAA / GOES for the space shots 

HURRICANE IRMA UPDATE (2): ABACO, BAHAMAS 9/9


Hurricane Irma NASA

HURRICANE IRMA UPDATE (2): ABACO, BAHAMAS 9/9

It’s Saturday afternoon. Irma has (surprisingly?) weakened from Cat 5 overnight to Cat 3 right now – but is expected to regain Cat 4 strength as the core of the storm reaches the tip of Florida. The hurricane has now cleared the north coast of Cuba and is heading for Florida, where the first effects of this massive storm are already being felt.

For Abaco, the situation is better than feared and expected at one stage. I’ve seen several reports from the main island, including a video from Jason who is holding the fort at Delphi. He’s also sent a video sweep of Rolling Harbour taken from the verandah of the club a couple of hours ago.

 

Here are a couple of photos from Olivia Patterson Maura taken from her stretch of beach, taken earlier today. It hasn’t taken long for the sea to build up from rough to scary.

Below are some trackers and screenshots, mostly issued at 11.00 am today. The top one segues into a path prediction. I think it’s now certain that for Abaco, at least, the hurricane will be more of a violent sideswipe than a critical event. Not so elsewhere, for sure.

WHAT NEWS OF JOSÉ AND KATIA?

It looks as though JOSÉ will continue north-west, with an increasing hook to the east over open water. A complete change of course obviously remains a possibility, but for the moment it retains the status of ‘one to watch’. KATIA has dissipated, and although there are remnants of the storm

Credits: NASA (1, 5, 7);  live tracker screenshot NotableMedia (2);Olivia Patterson Maura (3, 4); Wunderground (6); NOAA (8); Video Jason Pragnall. Stay safe.