Grand Isle and the swimming pigs in the spotlight as ABC live broadcasts from the resort; property re-opens just days after storm passes through Exuma.
It huffed. It puffed.
But Hurricane Matthew came and went in Exuma, leaving Grand Isle Resort and the entire island almost completely unscathed.
The storm came in like a lion. After becoming a Category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean, the first to do so since Hurricane Felix in 2007, the storm hit Haiti, Cuba and the Dominican Republic hard.
Fortunately, as it curved upward towards the Bahamas, Exuma remained far enough outside the storm’s path to avoid any serious damage, flooding or loss of life.
Grand Isle Resort, the second largest hospitality offering on the island, managed to open just days after Hurricane Matthew passed through.
“We couldn’t be more pleased with how Grand Isle and all of Exuma faired during the hurricane,” said Shonalee Munroe, the CEO of GIV Bahamas Inc., the largest villa owner at the resort. “All of the staff and our fellow owners pulled together and did exceptionally well to prepare the property for the storm. It is a true testament to their hard work that the resort was able to open so quickly afterwards, and we look forward to another very busy fall and winter season.”
Grand Isle, originally Residences of the Four Seasons, are as well built and sturdy as they are luxurious. The property itself is perched on a cliff, high above the mile-long Emerald Bay Beach, providing even more security in the event of any storm surge.
While Exuma has not endured a serious hurricane in recent memory, the property is nevertheless privileged to have hurricane insurance in the case of any eventuality.
In fact, not only did Grand Isle and Exuma fair incredibly well in the storm, but it also received some rather unexpected publicity from ABC, the same network that broadcasted ‘The Bachelor’ to much fame and acclaim last year.
A film crew set up shop at Grand Isle as Hurricane Matthew approached, providing live updates on the storm’s progress towards the United States. The network even offered a streaming service through its Facebook page, allowing viewers from around the world to see Grand Isle and the storm as it approached.
But while Hurricane Matthew might have been the focus, Exuma’s most famous residents, the swimming pigs, were the stars of the show.
“Bypassing the best beaches by boat in Exuma is what tourists do each and every day, for the area’s most popular attraction – the swimming pigs,” said Terrel Forney, a reporter for Local 10 ABC News in Miami.
The broadcast, which was carried across North America, assured viewers that the swimming swine, living on their own island in the Exuma chain of islands, were being well taken care of. One tour operator described the island of Exuma as “booming” in recent years as the attraction becomes increasingly more well known among tourists.
Exuma’s continued good fortune in the face of hurricanes is especially significant when compared with the overall impact of Matthew in the Caribbean and the United States.
At its peak, the storm delivered high winds of 260km/h (160 mph). It is estimated that Hurricane Matthew resulted in some $8 billion in damages and more than 1,500 deaths. The majority of fatalities and injuries occurred in Haiti, Cuba and the Dominican Republic.