We recently heard from one of our wonderful past guests, Susan Saraf. Susan has visited us twice on our Belize island, but both times she joined us, it was ages ago (we hope she will come back someday soon). Susan just sent me a bunch of photos from early 2000, which was only about a year and half after Hurricane Mitch, which really rearranged everything on the island.
As a result of that hurricane we lost our dining hall and several of our cabanas, along with about 75 feet of our island on one side. But land doesn’t just disappear in a storm like that, this sand ended up around the corner, on the other side of the island, giving us a brand new beach. All it all, the island was much better for it; the hurricane turned out to be a good thing.
But this new beach had zero trees on it, because before the storm, that area was water. Also, the hurricane (October of 1998) coincided with the arrival of the palm tree disease, Lethal Yellowing Disease, which hit Belize at about the same time the hurricane did. Subsequently, we had a tree crisis. This started us on a huge tree-planting and tree-treatment program which continues to this day.
So Susan’s photos are a joy to us, because it’s so much fun to see the results of all of this hard work. Here are two photo comparisons, before and after. We have so much shade now, it’s easy to stay out of the sun the whole time except when you are actually in the water. We have planted about 400 trees (resistant to the disease), and we treat about 500 other trees. We now know more about palm trees than we ever dreamed there was to know when we started in this business in 1977!