St Martín one year after the Irma hurricane….

It’s been nearly a year since the strongest ever recorded hurricane Irma passed over St Martín in the Caribbean…

The recorded winds reached 185 mph, (300 km/h) but it is said to blow even stronger in some acceleration zones. Irma became the longest lasting category 5 hurricane, over 3 days peak time and over 11 days hurricane status. The most powerful Atlantic storm in the history. The scale of destruction was unimaginable.Nowadays, 10 months after the catastrophe, things seem to be coming back to normality. Most of the cars on the streets are still slightly damaged. Many abandoned houses, new or provisional roofs, buildings being restored. Saint Martin feels quite poor and many areas, despite not being one, feel like a ghettoSint Maarten or Saint Martin, depending if you are on the Dutch or French side, used to be a very popular cruising destination. Known in Caribbean as the place to sort your technical problems out. It definitely still is The Place to fix it up. It is not As for the Caribbean standard it seems to be well supplied with boat hardware, materials and specialists. After the hurricane there must be also a lot of second hand equipment on the back market. Still hundreds of sailing yachts can be found seriously damaged stacked up on the boatyards or simply on the bottom of the Simpson’s Bay. The governments are trying to bring the boat owners to responsibility to clean the mess up as it has gone out of scale. You can buy boats here cheap but the best catches have been already taken, most of what is left require a serious work to be done. All the boats stranded on the shore or boat yard seem to have a value and owner here. Maybe more investigation would lead even to some free yachts, but these usually require serious repair.Here are some photos I recently took during my short visit on the island.Not all the houses were rebuilt.Obviously marinas were not safe.Yachts on the shore have sometimes been left untouched untill the insurance claims were resolved. Some of them were simply removed and dumped afterwards, some are still there…Some became beach houses… There are numerous stories. Some boats supposedly at being slowly worked of jus habited by the owners. Some got stuck here properly providing the island is full of addicting temptations too.Digging keels in the ground was one of the hurricane survival tactics. In some cases it helped, in others the boats were broken or even ripped off their keels by other boats flying around the boatyard….Steel versus fiberglass. Metal boats have a greater chance of surviving a hurricane while thrown on the rocks or in collision with other craft or floating and flying debrisOne of the boatyards or… a graveyard.Still there are many great boats out there, waiting for a better future or the next strong hurricane.The Simpsons Bay full of dismasted yachts. One has to careful entering to not hit a submerged wreck.Another yard seen from the street.I didn’t really bother looking around. Normally shipwrecks draw a lot of my attention but in case of St. Martín It was just too much to bother.Total destruction… A wooden classic that will never be back on the water. Teh fallen out belongings and the clear view of the interior suggest that the boat was a very DIY project for a long time before it was destroyed.Ordered up. The boats with a future here. High density on the yard. Hoping the coming season won’t result in a domino effect.There are no masts available on St. Martín they say. All what you can see here are masts broken into many pieces.People slowly work their way out… There are not many masts around though.The Simpsons Bay

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *