Every year the Caribbean paradise is turned into a hurricane hell. From the beginning of June until the end of November its hurricane season in the islands. With winds of over 150 mph, 5 metre storm surges and torrential rain, the destruction caused by hurricanes makes them one of the most feared forces of nature. Forests are flattened, coral reefs pummeled and beaches washed away. How do the plants and animals survive this onslaught year after year?
The lush, evergreen forests of Grenada were devastated by one of the Caribbean's most recent and deadly hurricanes - hurricane Ivan. Seeing the trees stripped bare of all their leaves, broken branches littering the ground and toppled trees it's hard to imagine the forest ever recovering. But these are Caribbean forests, uniquely adapted and used to surviving hurricanes. The forest of El Yunque, in Puerto Rico has been repeatedly struck by hurricanes - hurricane Hugo in 1989 and then hurricane Georges in 1998.
Each time the forest appeared devastated but each time it and its inhabitants bounced back. From the smallest leaf litter creatures to the tallest trees we will see how the forest pulls together to repair the damage. Tabonuco trees join forces to withstand the high winds. Bananaquits, robbed of their usual food supply take to stealing sugar wherever it's found, while coqui frogs thrive in the post hurricane conditions.
Out on the coral reefs, from the Bahamas to Bonaire, the wildlife seeks cover. Lobsters move to deeper water and hide in the rocks and crevices safe from the swirling waters above. Sharks, sensing a change in air pressure, head for deeper, calmer waters. But the corals at the surface cannot run and hide, they get pulverised by the waves. But for some this is an opportunity. Broken bits of Elkhorn and Staghorn coral settle down in new areas and begin to grow. For them the hurricane has helped them colonise new areas. As the storm surge washes over a small island in the Bahamas the anolis lizards found there simply cannot survive.
On these low lying islands most of the wildlife is swept away by the force of the hurricane. But the lizards here have found a way to beat the hurricane. Their eggs can survive being underwater, ensuring that at least the next generation will survive. For the people and turtles of the Caymans there are winners and losers. Many homes and turtle nests are lost as beaches are swept away. But new beachfronts are formed when the shifting sands settle and with these new nest sites for the turtles.
For the green iguana washed out to sea the hurricane could become the opportunity of a lifetime. Letting it colonise new lands. For the Parrots of Puerto Rico it could be the end of the line and the extinction of the species. Across the Caribbean the plants and animals have learnt that it's adapt or die for them these storms can be just as much a force of creation as they are destruction.
Narrated by: Steve Toussaint
Written by: Sophie Cooper
Title: Wild Caribbean-Hurricane Hell
File Size: 744 MB
Video Length: 00:49:00
Video Codec: XviD
Video Resolution: 640x352
VIdeo Bitrate: 2075 kbit/s
Audio Bitrate: 192 kbit/s
Audio Codec: (AC3)
Subtitles: (External English)