Wednesday October 19, 2005 - Preparation day 2


Hurricane Wilma is a category 5 hurricane now predicted to pass between us (in Cozumel) and Cuba. The predicted CPA (Closest Point of Approach) time is late Thursday night or early Friday morning.
Plans Things are looking a bit more serious. We are now planning for a day of being stuck indoors.
Expectations Everyone is betting that the storm will come through overnight Thursday then we will have a day of cleaning up on Friday, but we will still make our Saturday afternoon flight.

Everyone was very surprised today when the morning dives were cancelled. The harbor master decided to keep all small boats in the harbor. It was a beautiful day with only very slightly rougher than usual seas. I took the morning to go downtown and do some touristy stuff. Lots of time share guys were trying to get attention using the "since you can't dive today come with me and get a free Jeep for the day" pitch. Lots of people did shore dives in the morning and reported that the current was only a little above normal for here. The dive shop required everyone to get their tanks back by noon. The weather was still beautiful. Even the locals came out to play.

People spent the day mostly sitting by the pool, in the hammocks, or just hanging around down by the water. It was a day filled with a strange mix of exciting anticipation and boredom. A few people made a run for it. Out of our group of 29 we had a group of 2 get out of Cozumel and another group of 4 that had to take the ferry over to Cancun then got a flight out from there. Everyone else in our group is sticking it out.

While we were lounging around being bums the hotel crew was hard at work really preparing for the storm. All the chairs around the pool and down by the water were put away early.

Step one, board up the bottom floor of the restaraunt. This one we pretty much all expected to happen.

Step two, strip all the rooms on the first floor that face the water of everything and move the residents to higher ground. This one was a bit of a surprise. We expected them to board these up. Talking to the hotel folkes they said that it's easier to just strip it and clean it out later. This is mainly because it can take a while to get new glass if some of the windows happen to break. Makes sense when you see the rooms. They are made entirely of concrete and tile so it is pretty easy to clean them out after a storm.

At the end of the day we got a little bit of rain. We all thought the storm was starting and we still thought it would be over fairly quickly. The weather channel was on constantly in the bar part of the restaraunt and the internet connection was still working. We felt fairly well informed. Many people made the comment of how odd it was that the weather channel was focusing almost exclusively on the evacuation of the Florida Keys when the were not supposed to be hit for a few days and it was right on top of us.

Today saw the departure of the cruise ships that had been visiting the island. By early afternoon the downtown area was mostly shutdown. Only the hotel guests and residents remained.

Today ended with a meeting for everyone in the hotel to go over the logistical details of the next few days. On Thursday we were going to have a normal buffet style breakfast just like every other day. For lunch we would only have the special available, no ordering from the menu. Then at lunch we would be getting some sandwiches for dinner Thursday and breakfast on Friday (we still thought the storm would be hitting overnight Thursday and be done by Friday afternoon).