Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Regatta and Hurricane Ivan update

I followed the yachts (that were racing around the whole island) as far as the Spelonk Lighthouse, which is probably easternmost point on Bonaire. In this picture you can see a yacht on the right side, as well as the lighthouse and one light spot on the shoreline where the waves from hurricane Ivan broke off some of the rock. The fossil coral reef that makes up most of Bonaire gets grey from exposure to the sun, but when a piece is broken off, it looks limestone white for a while.

You can click on the picture to make it bigger. It's a fairly large file.

If you've spent any time on Bonaire's rough east side, you've probably wondered about the big boulders that litter the plateau by the shore. The standard explanation for these automobile and small truck size rocks is that they were broken off of the coastline by hurricanes in the distant past. I've semi-believed this, but was a little skeptical, since hurricanes aren't exactly a common occurrence here, which makes the theory a little difficult to test.

Yes, you can click on this picture to see the boulders bigger.

Well, I'm a believer now, because Ivan did break off some pretty large boulders and kick them a hundred yards or more inland. The fresh ones can be identified by the white coloring.

Here's a view from on top of the lighthouse, showing some of the new boulders, in the foreground, and some of the old ones in the rear. The first couple hundreds yards of land, in from the sea looked freshly scoured. I think the water really washed up here quite strongly.

Click the picture to see the rocks bigger.

The final picture (below) is from the EXTRA newspaper (Sep. 10 issue) and shows just how powerful the waves must have been. The top of the lighthouse is way high and those waves are right there. And the water was definitely washing way inland.
You can click this picture too. Posted by Hello

I had other things on my mind that day when Ivan was approaching Bonaire, and rightly so, but I will forever be kicking myself that I didn't get out to see this!

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