Residents and rescue workers in the Bahamas began to take stock on Wednesday of the damage left in the wake of Hurricane Dorian, which tore through the islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama over the weekend.
The devastating storm stalled over the Bahamas for more than a day and a half, releasing torrential rains and winds that gusted up to 185 miles per hour. The storm surge raised water levels by as much as 10 to 15 feet above normal levels in parts of Grand Bahama Island.
While Abaco and Grand Bahama Island sustained the biggest hits, the all clear has been issued for New Providence, including the capital of Nassau, neighboring Paradise Island, as well as for Eleuthera and Andros.
Islands in the southeastern and central Bahamas were also spared, according to the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation. That includes the Exumas, Cat Island, San Salvador, Rum Cay, Long Island, Acklins/Crooked Island, Ragged Island, Mayaguana, and Inagua.
Currently, the Grand Bahama International Airport (FPO), and the Leonard Thompson International Airport (MHH) in Marsh Harbour, Abaco, remain closed. The Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA) in Nassau is open, but there have been numerous flight cancellations and delays so travelers should contact their airlines directly about possible schedule changes. All other airports throughout the Bahamas are open, the ministry advised.
Hotel closures on Abaco and Grand Bahama
Many resorts in Grand Bahama and Abacos shut down as the storm approached and many of them remain closed as they assess the damage.
The Grand Lucayan in Grand Bahama posted a note on its website and Facebook page stating that for the safety of its guests and staff, the property has closed until the weather threat from Hurricane Dorian passes.
Pelican Bay Hotel in Grand Bahama posted on its Facebook page on Wednesday that everyone who weathered the storm at the hotel is safe, but that there is damage to the property, although it’s too early to assess how much. Pelican Bay reported that whatever rooms it does open for stays right now will be made available only to people involved in the restoration of Grand Bahama Island.
Taino Beach Resort & Clubs on Grand Bahama Island announced that it, too, is closed. At Old Bahama Bay, all guests were asked to vacate the property by noon on August 30, and following Dorian, the resort reported that its marina and resort grounds had been completely submerged by the storm surge. The property has established itself as a “command center” for donated supplies and has set up a GoFundMe effort for the West End of Grand Bahama Island, where it is located.
The Sandpiper Inn Abaco noted on its website that the property was not severely impacted by the storm and sustained minimal damage. It plans to reopen on October 1.
Hotels in Nassau and Paradise Island remain open, including the Ocean Club, a Four Seasons Resort and Atlantis Paradise Island. Atlantis is working with the Bahamas Red Cross and chef José Andrés World Central Kitchen on relief efforts in Abaco and Grand Bahama for which it has created a GoFundMe page.
Cruises disrupted, too
As for cruises, Nassau ports are now open and operating as normal, but Grand Bahama Island’s Freeport Harbour, a popular cruise port, is closed.
Many cruise lines also have private islands in the Bahamas and most reported that following some minimal cleanup, the islands will be back up and running.
“All is well at Castaway Cay,” Disney Cruise Line stated about its private island. The cruise line said it is awaiting the arrival of survey equipment to evaluate the pier and ship channel, after which it will be able to reopen Castaway Cay to guests.
Royal Caribbean said it plans to reopen its private island, CocoCay, on September 7. Norwegian Cruise Line did not provide much detail about its private island, Great Stirrup Cay, other than to say that it hopes to return there soon.
The tourism ministry encouraged supporters to visit bahamas.com/relief for verified ways to help, such as donating to the Bahamas Red Cross Society or to the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s Hurricane Relief Fund.
The Associated Press contributed reporting.