December 1st, 2008

  • mokele

Ruins of Ivan

About four months ago, my wife and I got married and went to Grand Cayman for our honeymoon (absolutely spectacular, I highly recommend it). Anyhow, while there, we went looking for a new beach to snorkel, and I spotted something ruined through a gap in the foliage. We circled back, found a road leading down the coast, and found this

This is apparently Dolphin Point condominiums, or was until 9/11/04, when Hurricane Ivan, one of the strongest hurricanes ever recorded passed within 30 miles of Grand Cayman (at its time of peak intensity). Apparently, the owners simply gave up, because the office we found was littered with financial records, computer debris, even signed checks (no photos of that stuff, for obvious reasons). One of the condos seemed to have been rented by a dive photo shop, judging by the ruined equipment and slide books.

The devastation was clearly immense, especially close to the beach. Some units had been ruined, others had the walls completely removed, and others had been completely obliterated, leaving nothing but foundations. Presumably, there were paths of concrete allowing people to traverse the jagged, uneven rock of the beach, but these were also gone, leaving my wife and I to negotiate the terrain as best we could.

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The units farther from the beach were being rapidly overrun with local wildlife. Aside from the tropical plant life, we found anole lizards (Anolis conspersus), curlytails (Leiocephalus carinatus), green iguanas, bees (that was NOT fun), woodpeckers, and a most common species of snake on the island (Alsophis cantherigerus).

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For more leisurely perusal, the photobucket album is here: