With heavy hearts we watched Hurricane Irma gain strength over the weekend before tearing through northern Cuba before heading north and making landfall in Florida. It is not a nice feeling watching your friends face danger and being helpless to do anything to help as the reports came in from the Cuban and Bahamian operations as they battened down the hatches and prepared as best they could.

What has occurred in Florida and the southern states is horrifying and all our thoughts are with them, but the good news is that most of the Caribbean lodges have now checked in and have survived relatively unscathed which I am sure will come as a huge relief to all.

The hardest hit was the north coast of Cuba and Avalon reported Irma touching heavily at Cayo Cruz/ Cayo Romano, Santa Clara and Cayo Coco areas. Sadly it destroyed part of the new buildings and affected communications at Casona and surrounding areas. Luckily no one was hurt which is the most important, but the hurricane damaged the road that connects the main island (where Casona is located) and the marina of Cayo Cruz. It will take a few months to rebuild. At Santa Maria some of the boats have been partially damaged but replacement parts are already being organised. All the operations on the southern coast (Isla de la Juventud, Zapata, Cayo Largo and Jardines de la Reina) did not suffer any damages and are fully operational.

The Bahamas escaped relatively unscathed. Crooked & Acklins Trophy lodge sustained no major damage, only losing a few shingles on the roof and some painting to do again which is a huge relief after the pounding they took last time. Bairs lodge on Andros had some beach clean up to do and Kamalame Cay was unaffected, as were Abaco Lodge and those on Grand Bahama.

We hope all our friends in the US have escaped harm and our thoughts go to those who have not been so lucky.