Monday, September 26, 2011
Just finished checking the weather websites to confirm that both Ophelia and Phillipe are not an issue for us at all. It is unusual for us to be able to take a break during this time of year, but all looks like we can breath easy for a week anyway.
Not much new is happening here. There is the old issue of the ferry. There is still no permanent resolution and we do not have a regular schedule. For example, on Saturday I went over to the island with Ingrid (great massage lady) to deliver some puppies and cats to the airport for a ride to their new homes. Yea! We planned on using the 11am boat, which actually showed up and was the cargo ferry and went directly to Fajardo. We fortunately did not plan on taking the 8pm boat home, because there wasn't one. The cargo ferry came back at 5pm and was the last boat to Vieques. So the moral of this story is; do not rely on the posted schedule. If you are traveling here, get to Fajardo as early as you can and get your tickets. Hopefully, the ticket office will be able to give an estimate of what time you might get on a boat.
We do have a certified personal fitness trainer on the island. Saud is from Puerto Rico and spends Monday through Friday here on Vieques. He is not just available to help you lose weight, but to work on any physical issues you might have. His rates and schedules are personalized so for more information give him a call at 787-410-7417.
Chef Michael, formally of Coconuts, just opened his new business called Food Space, in the Luquillo kiosks, number 37. Luquillo Beach is kind of a fun stop if you are on the main island with extra time. The kiosks there offer everything from fresh clams on the half shell to mofongo and everything in between. Michael's storefront is reminiscent of his original shop in Esperanza. It is a combo deli, restaurant, fancy food grocery. You can eat in, take out or buy something to cook at home. He plans on being open 7am to 6pm Wednesday thru Sunday.
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Wonder of all wonders, the bridge on the (fake) middle road is finished!!! This gives anyone going cross island another route. Because the road was closed for so long, there are very few potholes of any significant size. The Garcia Road, however, is full of them. Just on the Esperanza side of the Wildlife Refuge gate are two holes that without exaggeration (well, only a little) are at least the size of a Volkswagen. Be very careful with these, they are a ball joint just waiting to snap.
Now that getting around the island has gotten easier, getting on or off Vieques has become a bit of a challenge. The ferry system is a mess. There is only one passenger boat operating for both Vieques and Culebra. It is one long ride getting to Fajardo and back. MTA, the government agency that runs the boats, released an improvised schedule last week. In true island form, the schedule was released on the last day it covered, so what time the boats are running is anyone's guess. It is also anyone's guess where they will go. Sometimes it is Culebra and sometimes it is Vieques. At the moment, the only sane method of transport is to fly.
According to some articles in various island newspapers, the issue should be resolved by mid-October?? (It's mid-September right?) Of the boats that are not being run, some are in various states of repair and some need Coast Guard approval. One thing about the ferry issue, it always remains the same. If you look in the newspaper archives, this same scenario has occurred every year. The only difference are the names of the MTA officials and the politicians.
Humane Society President has solved her transportation problems and is riding a bike. She is riding in the 50 mile ride in the Mujer Brava event on October 2 in San Juan. She has donated $50 (a buck a mile) to the shelter and is inviting others to do the same. Go the Humane Society website (viequeshumanesociety.org) find out how. While you are at it, send an email to the shelter and request that a copy of their newsletter be sent to you. The newsletter is being distributed electronically only to save on printing and mailing costs.
Friday, September 16, 2011
Puerto Rico holds one of the planet’s last bright spots
by Leigh Ann Henion, September 15
I’m standing in a narrow alleyway when a stranger approaches to tell me that he can channel the power of the ocean. Crazy? Maybe. But I’m on the island of Vieques with a similarly far-fetched quest: to swim in a celestial sea. I tell the man, who introduces himself as Charlie the Wavemaster, that the Milky Way will soon crackle and shimmer as it slips through my fingers. Bits of stardust will cling to my hair.
Vieques’s Mosquito Bay, also called Bioluminescent Bay or Bio Bay, is one of the last ecosystems in the world where dinoflagellates — microscopic, single-celled organisms — create halos of light around whatever disturbs their nightly flotation ... [Read More]
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Wow. Maria finally got here, we think, around noon on Monday. The surf came up a bit and the wind was strong enough to play Mary Poppins with a few patio umbrellas. She left some scattered rain showers and then called it a day late yesterday afternoon. As a tropical storm, we'll take her any day.
We are experiencing some issues with the cargo boat. We don't have one. At least we don't have one that is part of our fleet. The government is leasing a private boat to make the runs, meaning one boat, plus two islands, equals long trip. There was a rumor that the Cayo Largo was back, but apparently it was just a rumor. The passenger service does have a boat, it's just not the big Cayo Blanco. We've seen the Atlantis (little, but pretty fast) and, again there are rumors, of a sighting of the Vieques II. If this story sounds like one you heard about ten years ago. It is.
Today looks like a perfect one in the Caribbean.
Monday, September 12, 2011
It appears that Maria might finally show herself here today. She sure is late to her own party. The center is located at about 20 north and 66 west, and has reported winds of almost 50 miles per hour. From the looks of the radar, we will get wet today. (I know I said that yesterday) Of course today, since several of us planned to meet at Blue Beach for some snorkeling later. Once again, it is very quiet. Maria is pulling wind away from us so you can really feel the humidity.
As you all know, September is a month in which many restaurants take a hiatus for cleaning, painting and a breather before gearing up for the season. Getting creative with dining out is a must. A little thought of spot is the cafe at the airport. Eddie and Theresa have really cold beer and really good sandwiches for a great price. I always grab something when I'm waiting for a flight, but the cafe isn't just for flying. It's perfect for a to go lunch on your way to Green Beach.
Barbara Rumore, president of the Vieques Humane Society, is biking in the fifty mile event, in the annual Mujer Brava event in San Juan. She has put up $50 and a lot of sweat to raise money for the shelter. To donate, use the paypal button on the VHS website or send a check. Just put "sweat" in the memo column. The ride takes place on October 2.
Sunday, September 11, 2011
Well, so far Tropical Storm Maria has done a great job of avoiding Vieques. At this moment she is centered just a little north and east of us. It is eerily quiet here, except for the roosters of course, and the sun is starting to peek out. The last bulletin issued by San Juan is focused mainly on marine interests as Maria is producing significant waves along her path. The south shore of Vieques is almost pond-like. I just watched a sport fishing boat cross outside of Esperanza, skating along the water. I would assume the north side of the island has a bit more chop.
The backside of Maria will be passing by us beginning midmorning. The reports all indicate that the north and east sides of Maria are the most active ones. We will probably see some more intense shower activity as the day goes on. Oh, those dreaded drinking clouds.
Friday, September 9, 2011
Well, we are at it again. Gassing up, filling up the water jugs, bringing in the patio furniture and chilling the Medalla. Maria looks as though she will pass to the north of us, which hits us with the weaker side of the storm. Hopefully, she will continue moving quickly and be in and out of here in a short period of time.
Trade Winds closed last night for about five weeks. Bananas. Bili and El Quenepo are closed. Duffy's, Lazy Jack's and Belly Buttons are open, and operating a full seven days. Belly Buttons offer ribs and football on Sundays and Mexican on Thursdays. The Inn on the Blue Horizon is open as well. Over on the north side, Coconuts and Conuco are closed. The Mar Azul will be open on Saturday, with the generator running if Maria disrupts the power. The Ocean View is open and Mr. Sushi are open. The Deli Viequense is open everyday from around 6 in the morning to 4pm.
The long awaited bridge on the middle road is getting closer. The 18" gaps on either side are gone. The whole thing needs a coat of blacktop and we should be in business. Time frame on that? No se. If Maria is a big rain event, we might get to see if the new engineering on that bridge is a success.
Thursday, September 1, 2011
Life in Vieques has returned to it's normal, wacky pace. Just as I finished using up all the water I had stockpiled for Hurricane Irene, the water went out. Fortunately, this was only a twenty four hour inconvenience. Last week, right after the storm we had plenty of gas. Tuesday, the small station was closed and there was a minor gas line. Yep, back to normal we are.
Labor Day weekend promises to be a great sunny one, even with Hurricane Katia. She is looking like she will pass well to the north of us. Yippee! This is also the last weekend for several restaurants as they closed for a few weeks to get ready for next season. Trade Winds will close after dinner on the 9th. Coconuts will close after dinner on the 7th. The Mar Azul is closing on the 6th for a week only. (Do not panic.) Dan will reopen after a bit of cleaning and menu revamping. Bananas will close after the weekend for a month or so.
Bili and El Quenepo have already closed. Irene did enough damage to the refrigerated items that they both decided to just clean up and wait for November.
The Next Course will be open for September, Friday thru Tuesday. Duffy's and Lazy Jack's will be open as usual seven days. Belly Buttons will be open seven days for breakfast and lunch and will continue with Sunday night ribs and Thursday night Mexican.
Nicole of The Barefoot Bistro has set her cart up across from the Green Store. She is there most days around noon or so.