When we arrived back at the hotel last night we were told that there would be a hurricane update meeting by the Thomas Cook rep at 11 am this morning and that everybody must attend. Here we were told that as a hurricane warning had now been given, overall safety and preparations were now in the hands of the Cuban Security and that everyone had to comply with any instructions given. Basically we now confined to the hotel and its surrounds, there would be no trips out and from tomorrow no alcohol would be served until the hurricane had passed – sensible precaution as people can do silly things when they have had a few. All the boats, sun shades and sun beds were all moved to safety, tied together and strapped down preparing for the worst. Many of the staff remembered clearly the devastation here after Hurricane Ike in 2007 when it took them nine weeks just to clear up the wreckage in the hotel grounds. We were told there would be regular update meetings, the next at 1pm, and at this it was announced that those with return flights on Monday and Tuesday would be transferred to Cayo Coco by coach at 5pm this afternoon and then flown back home from there. Cayo Coco is on the north coast 400km to the west. Other people would remain for the time being. We were quite pleased about this as we didn’t fancy a long coach drive.
Apart from all the preparations going on and few people about everything was remarkably peaceful around the hotel…
We spent a while photographing Cuban Coast Anole Anolis jubar that we had hardly noticed here on previous occasions but at this time of year seemed to be particularly active with males with readily displaying their dewlaps as a warning to others. They have a yellow patch at the base of the dewlap with a crest on the head, back and tail that are all lacking in Cuban Brown Anole Anolis sagrei.
There were still quite a few butterflies about and we saw 27 species today including Devillers' Swallowtail Battus devilliers and Smudged Yellow Eurema lucina which is quite common here.
In the late afternoon by the lagoon we watched Caribbean Banner Lucinia sida and Florida Purplewing Eunica tatila while chatting to a nice chap from the adjacent Paradisus hotel. He was a Belgian working on a dredging ship that had been dredging the harbour at Moa when news of the approaching hurricane reached them. They dropped some of their crew who were then relocated westwards while the ship sailed east to Hispaniola and shelter.
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Here we will post interesting news about what we and others have seen in Cuba.