Every year in December the trade winds start to blow harder. They're call the Christmas Winds. Christmas Winds can be quite strong during the day - 20 25, even 30 mph. They usually die off at night, only to return n the morning. They blow through the winter until about March, then back off to "normal" breezes.
This year the Christmas Winds seemed especially strong, regularly gusting over 40 mph, which by the way is in the "tropical storm" range. And they seemed to blow longer. day and night, with little reprieve.
When it rains hard in those winds, we get "sideways rain," rain blowing parallel to the ground. For a lot of people the wind and sideways rain induced "hurricane flashbacks" and real anxiety, real fear. For Elaine it was the sound of anything banging in the wind, a shutter, a door, a gate, anything.
In this post-hurricane aftermath, we live with the myth, the illusion, of restored electricity. We've had electricity back for 40 days, It has gone off for at least part of 10 - 25% - of the 40 days. Yesterday power was off here for 15 hours. For some people this random loss of electricity, even for a few minutes, causes hurricane flashbacks and is a severe stress-inducer.
The rumors about water shut-offs and/or water rationing are back. The latest rumor is the water levels in Lake Guajataca are very low because we haven't had much rain since January. (Duh! This is supposed to be the dry season!) Just the rumors of no water are enough to send some people into a tizzy.
For me it was last week's huge wave event.
We haven't had waves this big since Semana Santa (Holy Week), 2008. We could see the tops of the waves from out deck. This was in some ways my worst nightmare. The dunes and the beaches were already so badly damaged, so fragile. Water came over the dune at the end of the calle where we get to the beach.
The ocean breached the dune in three places, flooding the hay field across the street with sea water, killing the grass.
There was more damage to the dune in addition to the breaches. More trees along the edge are down, more of the dune is undercutting the trees that remain.
The ocean pushed water up the river and trapped it there. The road back to Villa Tropical et al flooded and stayed flooded for four days. Getting in and out was through three feet of salt water.
I didn't get to shoot any of the big wave surfing. We had people coming in to look at the property and all my time was spent either getting ready for their arrival and then meeting with them. Good news coming soon!