Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Boats and Wind
The other day, the Cayo Blanco, which is our largest passenger ferry, managed to hit the dock and sustained some minor hull damage. Minor in that the boat didn't sink, but major enough to be taken out of service for repairs. So, we are back to cargo boats only, and we have been given the slower boats. The upside being that the word is boats, not boat. That means we have two of them. This does not mean however, that you can rent a car on the main island and bring it over. Every year at least one person does this and ends up with a huge mess.
Here's how it usually goes. You rent a car from say, Hertz. You decide that bringing the car over will be a better financial decision than leaving it in Fajardo while you pop over to Vieques to visit for a day. Right? Why rent another car on Vieques when you are already paying for one. So, you head to the docks and wow, there is a spot on the cargo boat and you jump right on it. No one explains that you should see about return passage, but more on that in a minute. You land in Vieques and head off to find Navio beach that you've heard so much about. It isn't until you are halfway down the goat path (with potholes the size of a minivan) which serves as the road, that you figure out your budget friendly sedan from Hertz might just not be the right vehicle. After having to pay a small ransom to a couple of local kids to help you change the flat tire you got when you hit one of those potholes you get back to Sun Bay to enjoy some sun and sand. You spend the night enjoying Bio Bay and all is going well. Morning arrives and it's time to get back to the big island. You head off to the boat, but first you need some gas. Upon arrival at the gas stations, you find them locked up tighter than a drum. Your first thought is that maybe they took a coffee break. Finally, someone takes pity on you and explains there is no gas, but maybe it will be on the next boat. You head off to the ferry and plant yourself in the loading area. You are told maybe there will a space and just to wait. The first boat is full, so you decide to grab some lunch and wait for the next one, no problem. This time you are loaded, but then unloaded because the milk truck has to get on. Now, you are out of boats and have to spend the night. You also have to figure out where to stay while using only a thimbleful of gas to get there, because the gas trucks were not on any of the boats. You know this first hand from spending the day in the parking lot at the dock.
This scenario repeats itself until you are out of time. Hertz is looking for their car and your room at the fancy hotel in San Juan that you have never stayed in has cost you a a bundle. The only solution left is to leave the car and head home. Hertz now has to secure a cargo reservation, send someone over to pick it up and fill it with gas at $9 a gallon. Your credit card is being charged so fast it is smoking. And no, I did not make this up.
Surprisingly, with the winds and currents as strong as they have been lately, Red, Blue and Secret Beaches have been OK for snorkeling. The water is very clear. You do get a pretty good cardio work out while doing this. No lazing around floating right now. Similarly, be careful of floating on a raft with your cocktail. It is possible to end up in Humacao before you know it.
The Trust has a few things going on. There is a tour to Playa Grande, a Bird Walk and a jewlery show all this week. The MANTastic kids program has been scheduled for July 16-20 and 23-27. This program is open to children visiting the island as well as locals. Call the Trust for more info.
The 12 x 12 art exhibit and auction begins at Siddia's on the 16th. I have seen some pieces and they are over the top great. Proceeds will go to the Humane Society.
While you are in town, be sure to stop in at the Funky BeeHive and Sol Creations for a bit of shopping. Both shops have fantastic clothing and jewlery. The pieces are unique, and have that certain kind of flair. When on the south side, the same can be found at Diva's Closet. Ask Michelle about her hand stamped pendants. Really cool.
After all that work, shopping, I mean, stop in at the Trade Winds for a happy hour TWIPP. (Trade Winds Island Passion Punch). I was told last night that the Winds has the best drinks on the island.