"Aftermath" might be a strong word. Usually such a word is reserved for events on the scale of Mount St. Helens or Katrina, and here in Nassau it wasn't anything quite that bad.

Hurricane Irene's eye passed about 50 miles to the northeast of us, however, due to the way the hurricane had evolved, we were in a relatively calm pocket despite our proximity to it. The winds here were in the range of tropical storm force, not the hurricane force winds as predicts. The rainfall was also much less than it could have been. 

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I stayed up most of the night watching the trees outside our balcony door. I was enthralled watching them whip back and forth with each gust, but mostly staying bent in the strong sustained winds. As the eye approached, the winds were mostly parallel to our hotel, so the trees were bending a lot. The NWS predicted the eye would pass between 6 and 9am.

Around 4am I called it a night, slept for a few hours, then awoke at 7 to first light. By now the storm had increased greatly, however, the wind had changed direction and was blowing from the other side of our hotel wing, so the trees were now mostly sheltered. However, looking to the left or right of our building where the winds were coming around, the rain was nearly horizontal. By the time 8am rolled around, the winds were at their strongest. The sustained wind sounded like a taxiiing jet engine, and not a modern jet, one of those old smoky jets from the 780's like an MD-83. It was eerie and loud. There was significant debris on the grounds, palm trees obviously damaged and some large downed trees visible.


Amazingly enough, through the peak of the storm, we never lost power or telecoms. By late morning the winds had obviously diminished, though there was significant surf pounding the beaches. We were still confined the interior of the hotel, so I had to be satisfied shooting video through windows. There were some small signs of damage at various places at the hotel, mainly limited to roof and window leaks, but no major damage.

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The staff and organization of the Atlantis resort was beginning to show cracks. We missed breakfast because their calendar and concierge said it ended at 12pm (it closed at 11am) and they had 1 less buffet to handle the same crowd. Other than that, however, it was still a positive experience.

Finally, around 4pm, the winds had reduced enough to allow the hotel to open the front doors, so we could finally leave the confines of the hotel. Fresh air! We had likened the experience at the Atlantis hotel much like a cruise ship at sea: cafeteria food, large crowds of largely bored white people and a lot of nothing to do. It was nice to finally get out and see some of the damage.

The damage we saw within a few blocks of the hotel was mainly limited to palm tree fronds, roof tiles and downed trees, but nothing catastrophic by any means. A lot of broken light fixtures as well. The most significant damage we saw was a large metal gate that had been ripped at the welds from its hinges and thrown a couple hundred feet down a parking lot. That was quite impressive. 

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We walked back to our other hotel, the Comfort Suites to see how they fared, and it was in good shape. Interestingly, they were still in lockdown, and their lobby was still shuttered in steel. They were going to keep their guests in their rooms until tomorrow! They were also given a lot less food than we were, just a pre-filled plate at mealtimes. We no longer second-guessed our decision to double-book at the Atlantis. We had a choice of 3 or 4 buffets, free coffee, soda, wine and beer and a whole calendar of activities.

At around 6pm I gave another phone interview, this time with Matt and Chris of CruiseRadio.net, talking about how we got here and how things were through the storm and some of the damage we saw. A very fun interview with some nice guys. I now follow them on twitter (@CruiseRadio), if you're a cruise traveller, I recommend you do, too.

Before dinner we played "Team Trivia Challenge" and Jenn kicked butt and was in the top 3 finishers. She sent me up to participate in the tie-breaker, but I got a brain fart on who wrote "Of Mine and Men" (ARGH) and lost. Ah well, it was a lot of fun.

Looking out over the hotel grounds now, other than the debris, you would have never imagined a category 3 hurricane had passed less than 12 hours before. The winds were almost calm. The only tell-tale was the ever-pounding surf.

The evening ended at dinner with a truly beautiful sunset, which came as a welcome surprise.