hurricane maria damage

I did not take many pictures of the damage on St. Croix and in Christiansted, where I was living. When you look at wreckage it’s easy to forget what you’re looking at are the remains of someone’s home or job.

In Christiansted the older buildings, some dating to the mid 1700s, sustained minor facade damage. I suppose that says something about under-engineering an overbuilding. When in doubt go sturdy.

The natural environment was shredded. The mountains behind my neighborhood were covered in dense and deep green jungle. After Maria they were brown – like brown hills in the American west just before the first snowfall. The sea came well into Christiansted, bringing with it tons of seaweed and unfortunate sea creatures that didn’t make it back into the ocean.

This pier was just repaired after Irma. I think it was in operation for a few days before Maria. There was a small shack and gate just off the boardwalk in the foreground. These are very difficult to repair and this one is missing some pilings towards its end. Dive boats used to tie alongside this pier for their trips.

The catamaran is a Lagoon 440 – a forty-four foot boat. It’s alongside a monohull. The white floating object in the photo’s foreground is the emergency raft from the catamaran. Hopefully not too little too late for the owners.

A half mile or so from this spot I found a deployed emergency raft the second day after Maria – it was not there the day after the hurricane. I hope it’s presence after the storm meant it was deployed by people who made it ashore.

This actually got a little worse in the days after hurricane – more stuff came down. It was a very large tree that grew alongside the facade. Before Maria I used to walk through here because as the tree grew the buildings grew along with it. So there was a walkway that crossed the street but was beneath the tree’s canopy. It was a Christiansted landmark.

There were probably 18 boats in Christiansted harbor before Maria. Only about six survived, and most of these were de-masted. Several that did stay on their moorings sunk in the weeks after the hurricane. Left of this, just past the seaplane port, are about twelve sailboats washed ashore. They are all careened against the rocks or sandy beaches.

This was the first picture I took the evening I arrived. Calm water, silky skies and a setting sun. The port was always full of boats coming and going: cruisers sailing around the Caribbean and excursion boats. It will be sometime before the harbor has a view like this.