Visiting Abaco since '73 when it was still part of the UK.
Hurricane Dorian, a category 5 hurricane, made landfall Labor Day, Monday Sept 1, 2019 at Marsh Harbour, the Abaco Islands Hub and the Bahamas third-largest city. It then moved on to Grand Bahama, which includes Freeport, the second-largest city in the commonwealth, where it sat for over 24 hours as a category 5 hurricane.
As for Abaco, reports started coming in from Marsh Harbour soon after the storm passed. How I don’t know, maybe a sat phone.
Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said, “Thousands of homes were believed to have been damaged or destroyed and where at least five deaths (later revised upwards to 20 but will no doubt be in the hundreds). The United States Coast Guard was assisting in rescues”.
From the early images, plus the blogs and facebook accounts of Bahamian friends, Dorian has to be the worst Hurricane ever to hit the Abacos. The two words repeated at numerous sites were 'Devistation' and 'Catastrophic'! From what I saw, I concur, having seen first hand the results of a half dozen hurricanes from Floyd to Sandy. They were nowhere as severe and I dont remember any causing death.
On a personal note; a personal friend of my brother in law had a home & rental home on a creek on Marsh Harbour Eastern Shore area. He was an advertiser on our website and passed along this message from state side. "Lost 2 houses, two cars, and 2 boats and Never Going Back”.
On the positive side, I’ve always been impressed by the Abaconian Joie de vivre, the willingness & enthusiasm to rebuild as witnessed in earlier hurricanes. But as a few voicers pointed out, this wont be a rebuilding, it will be a starting over - a new beginning.
It will definitely be a long long time before there will be any semblance of normalcy in Abaco. Just the infrastructure will take a more than a year. In the past, reconstruction relating to the tourist industry, Abaco's life blood, was given priority to get cash flowing and folks employed. The governments suspension of import duty also aided in the rebuilding process. Whether they do that again, remains to be seen.
I had intended to predict when one might see a resort open, but I cant after seeing those images. Whenever that be, say by summer 2021, the scars of Dorian are deep and will last for a long time.
I will update this page sometime next year, so until then, if you want to keep current on the rebuilding progress, my suggestion would be to stay tuned in, to the state side, Abaco Forum. And when up and running, The Cruisers Net.
Vicki Hatfield a longtime Abaco visitor and who has a home on Great Guana Cay has been a contributor to our website in the past, has posted this account of her return to her island home. It's a must read with great images too. /span>
Here is a collection of over 500 aerial hi-def .heic images if you want to poke around. Turn on slide show.