Vieques, Puerto Rico - October 2018, Chapter 2 - Horseback Riding (VIDEO)

Nothing much to say here, the attached video says it all.





Vieques, Puerto Rico - September 2018 - Chapter 1 - VLOG

This is new for me as I'm posting a Video LOG (VLOG) versus a written posting.  The video will show the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Maria (September 2017) and what it looks like today.

A lot of progress has been made in the islands recovery, but there still remains a lot to be done.  I must say though, Vieques is open for business.  A few new businesses have started, some have changed ownership, and all the islanders are welcoming and friendly.




After you've reviewed the VLOG, please let me know your thoughts; should I keep doing VLOGs or should I do written BLOGs?  Ideas that you would like to see on either or both options, and your general comments.  All input will be appreciated.

Travel safe, have fun...
Mike

Mosquito Lagoon, Florida - May 2018 - Fishing with family & friend


Recently, my brother Jack, a great friend Jimmy and I took a little fishing trip to a place called the “Mosquito Lagoon”.  This lagoon runs along the east coast of central Florida, from Cape Canaveral to New Smyrna Beach.  The deepest water we found was in the Intercostal-Waterway (ICW).  Once outside the channel, we were in water that ranged from inches to about four feet; with most of the lagoon being what we know as “skinny” (or shallow) water.  The weather conditions for the two and a half days was a steady win from 10 to 15 mph with higher gusts, some scattered clouds, and temps running around the mid-70’s. 
 
Sunrise from the Indian Mound Fish Camp


Vieques, PR - September 2017 - Chapter 4 - Hurricane Maria Hits

Ryan, Corina, and myself have completed our preparations for hurricane Maria; we've put away or secured everything we could.  We have plenty of food and water, and the house is solid. We know personal safety is paramount, and know our roles and the rules of engagement.We're as prepared as we can get.

Hurricane Maria is taking dead aim at Puerto Rico and we're in the direct path; the storm has arrived.


Satellite track of hurricane Maria


With the most severe winds and rain from Maria passing us about 0400, we could see, hear, and feel the weather calming.  The sky lightened enough for me to see inside the house.

After checking for any apparent damage I turned my attention to cleaning water that had blown through the windows into the kitchen.  Ryan soon joined me in the kitchen while Corina started mopping water from the master bathroom.  In total, we took about 34 gallons of water from these two areas; we filled a two gallon mop bucket 17 times.

This is the same type window that is in the kitchen
Master bathroom
It took about two hours to clean the water, then we went outside to take a good look around.

Outside the entrance - before
The outside patio - before
The steps down to the patio
The outside patio - after
The trees between the road and outside patio - after
The yard looking up to the house - before
The yard looking down from the house - before
The yard looking down from the house - after
The neighbors destroyed wooden house (as mentioned in video)
The breezeway between the driveway/parking area and house - after (note the cistern  and satellite dish)
The parking area is just to the right
The parking area
More of the parking area
A close call, no damage to the car
A neighbor clearing the road, making it passable

After looking around the house and not finding any major damage, we decided to walk to the house Ryan and Corina were sitting. As we walked along the ridge-line is soon became obvious that we would not have been able to drive.

The bottom of the hill head up to the ridge-line
The ridge-line starts here
Tree debris
One of the four concrete power poles that fell across the road
What's left of a frame house on top of the ridge-line
My friends house that lost the entire second level (as mentioned in the video)
The house Ryan & Corina were sitting
The driveway

At the end of the driveway, there used to be a carport

This house is located across the street from my friends house above.  To be totally honest, we fully expected to find this house destroyed, or at least the roof missing.  Not only did the house remain standing, but the chicken coup in back only sustain minimal damage.

After walking back to the house I was sitting, we got in the car and headed to check out the damage at the Esperanza Inn.


A short video leaving the house and going part of the way off the hill            


 This video compares (2016 and 2017) part of highway 997 to Esperanza the day Maria past

The Esperanza Inn sustained some damage, but considering its proximity to the ocean, I would consider the damage minimal.

This door was blown open
And the room had a couple inches of water inside
A look at the pool from the top
The fence surrounding the property was almost all blown over
Another shot of the fence
The driveway from above
From the Inn we walked to the malecon (boardwalk) to check out the damage and ocean.

Waves remained high after Maria passed
Damage to the malecon was by winds and waves
The waves undermined the boardwalk, leaving several holes
The majority of the street was cleaned early in the day
Side streets, not so clean
Random shots


 







That should do it for this post, but before we go, let me give you the latest information I've received on the recovery of Puerto Rico, in particular Vieques.

-  Electricity remains out and will be out until sometime in early 2018.  The power grid is severely damaged and outdated.  There are a lot of personal generators, but commercial power is non-existent.
- Running water remains an on and off again situation; mainly due to faulty/aged equipment.
- Food, both free and for purchase is slow to arrive.
- Gas, while it is available the time spent in line and the amount permitted to purchase varies.
- Most importantly, at least in my mind, the people of Vieques remain friendly, adaptable, and willing to help their friends and neighbors.

If you have any particular questions regarding the life before, during, or after the storm, post a comment on the blog.

Until next time, travel safe

Mike