Tropical Storm Alex

by Nancy Rifenbark

My plan for the weekend was to hit Caye Caulker for Lobsterfest 2010.  There are three Lobsterfest events in Belize, one in San Pedro, one in Caye Caulker and one in Placencia and if you are anywhere in the area during the month of June make sure you check one of them out (  I hadn’t been to a Lobsterfest since moving to Belize in 2008 but my daughter had been to one in San Pedro and had rave reviews despite some light rain.  A group of us were going, my friend Capt. J, his family, my friend Amanda and me on Capt. J’s boat.  We knew a storm was coming but when we left on Friday the projections of the severity of the storm weren’t too bad – we could deal with some rain.

Tropical Storm Alex

Caye Caulker the day before TS Alex

So we left on the boat on Friday the 25th around 9am from Corozal.  This would also mark the first time I’ve had an overnight stay on Caye Caulker so I was really looking forward to the whole weekend.  The seas were a bit rough and there was some slight rain but nothing totally new – we’ve had a few rough days on the sea with Capt. J.  We finally docked the boat around 11am and checked in to a cute condo in a complex called Caye Reef (    To help save a bit of money we brought groceries in order to cook at the condo so we got all those unpacked and my friend Amanda (an extremely good cook) started to make a chocolate cheesecake – so delicious.  We broke out the wine and started to enjoy some homemade sourdough bread dipped in pesto.  It was turning in to a perfect afternoon regardless of the looming dark clouds on the horizon.  We were all hoping that the weather report was wrong but these clouds were telling us otherwise.

A little later we met the manager of the condos, Ralph, who joined us for a drink and a visit.  We ended the evening with a BBQ utilizing the BBQ spits out by the pool (this place also has a hot tub – a rarity in Belize).  That night I had to make one more stop at the Havana Bar – I had discovered this cute place a few weeks ago on a previous trip to CC.  Rafael (their bartender) really made the visit here last time – I had been promised a salsa lesson from him and it certainly doesn’t hurt that he is very easy on the eyes.  I took the girls over to meet Rafael and got my salsa lesson.  By the time we left it had started to rain and the wind had definitely picked up so we opted for a cab to get back to our condo ($5/pp in Caye Caulker compared to $5/cab in Corozal).  We all went to bed that night looking forward to the festivities tomorrow would bring.

The next morning we were rudely awoken by Capt. J at 5am telling us to pack up because Alex had turned in to a Tropical Storm and coming quick.  We all rushed around and packed everything up and headed out.  The sky was an eerie color and the clouds seemed to be churning – the seas were very rough so Capt. J told us all to hold on tight since we would be traveling fast to beat the storm to Corozal.  I ended up just plopping down on the floor of the boat since there weren’t many places to hang on to that weren’t already taken and I have a bruised butt to prove that.  We made it to Capt. J’s dock in record time and scrambled to get the boat unloaded and on to the lift so that waves wouldn’t beat it up.

Amanda and I got to our houses as quickly as possible to make sure everything was secure and then headed off to another friend’s house for a storm party – what else is there to do when you’re waiting around for a storm to hit?  The party was great fun – why do we need a storm to have this party??  The menu was beef soup, breads, chips/dips, chocolate cheesecake and wine.  It turned out that TS Alex made a turn at the last minute and moved away from Corozal so we hardly suffered any rain.  The wind gusts were the worst of it.  I am happy to report that I still have not felt the full effects of a tropical storm or hurricane hitting straight on and I am not holding my breath to experience that.  I guess we’ll have to wait for Lobsterfest 2011 and hope for nice weather.

Tropical Storm Alex

Not too much damage in Corozal after the storm

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