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


Vieques, PR - September 2017 - Chapter 3 - Hurricane Maria Approaches

Crazy; that's the best way to explain this house sitting assignment in Vieques Puerto Rico. This is the fourth consecutive year I've been here, so I've seen and experienced a lot on the island, but this trip, by far was the most exciting.

First, we dealt with hurricane Irma (posted earlier) then hurricane Maria. This posting and one that will be published next Tuesday will cover my experiences with Maria.

Hurricane Irma track
Hurricane Maria track

As many of you know, while traveling, I like to ‘live like the locals’ and on this house sitting assignment, I truly did that. What an adventure.

Vieques, PR - September 2017 - Chapter 2 - We Dodged A Bullet

WOW what a journey. This post will entail some reading, but a lot has gone on with the preparation, arrival, and aftermath of hurricane Irma. While we didn’t get hit directly, we did experience winds and rain. The majority of damage on the island was limited to trees, which in turn took out power.

Hurricane Irma tracked north of Puerto Rico
We’ll start with my arriving to Vieques about 2 hours early.

Vieques, PR - September 2017 - Chapter 1 - Into the eye of a storm

Late last week, I arrived home from house sitting in Naples Florida to prepare for the next leg of my summer, southerly migration. As I awoke, the morning was calm and illuminated with clear blue skies; but I knew that was only here, not my destination of Puerto Rico.

For the past few days, the local news channels had been mentioning a tropical system that had developed off the African coast and further development was expected. Within about 30 hours the system had grown from a tropical storm, to a major, category 3 hurricane with sustained winds of 115mph, and it had since become known as Hurricane Irma. While it’s still too early to determine an accurate track, Puerto Rico is within the cone which is the ‘most probable path’ of the storm.

Naples, FL - Aug 2017 - Sun is back in the Sunshine State - Chapter 2

The week started with rain, but today it has moved on. The sky is now a brilliant blue with the white puffy clouds that let your imagination run wild. Gazing skyward, I decided to revisit the Naples Botanical Gardens. A short drive from where I’m staying, this is one of my favorite places that is close to walk the well maintained paved trails with boardwalks and a bird watching tower. Walking these trails, you’ll not only be able to enjoy the natural beauty, but get about 3 miles of exercise.

Naples Florida - Aug 2017 - My Annual Southern Pilgrimage Begins – Chapter 1

As has been for the past three years, in August I house/pet sit in Naples Florida for a couple weeks, return to my home, repack, and make my way to Vieques Puerto Rico.  This year is no different.

Arriving late in the evening, I joined Jim and Cynthia for dinner.  We renewed our friendship, and enjoyed reminiscing our significant events of the past year.  While much had changed in our lives, many things remained the same, and we shared most of it.

So without further adduce, let’s GO!!!

Places in and around Naples that I've visited over the past few years

Tuesday Traveler - Florida Lighthouse Tour – Chapter 2 – Key West Lighthouse

As some of you know, I started my Florida Lighthouse Tour earlier this year.  It started with the lights in the Florida Panhandle and a few weeks ago I took at trip to Key West.  While there are many lighthouses throughout the Florida Keys, eight of them, I only went to the one located on the island (key) of Key West (Key West Lighthouse and Museum).

Even though our primary trip to Key West was for some relaxation and exploring, the number one thing on my list was the lighthouse.  So 'Let's Go' to the lighthouse and the town of Key West Florida.

MISSISSIPPI - Day Trip 2 - Destination Nowhere - Jan/Feb 2017

I've been here in Pass Christian MS for almost six weeks and about to start my journey home.  After a stop in Louisiana to visit friends for Mardi Gras, I'll make a stop in north Florida.  I'll stop at a lighthouse that time didn't permit seeing on my way.

Most of my time here in The Pas was spent golfing, eating, talking with locals, and sight seeing.  This posting is going to cover several towns, attractions, and eateries.  Like my previous post, these are in no special order, just places for you to consider when you make your way to the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

The first thing I want to discuss is the amazing sculptures that can be found along Highway 90, the Gulf Coast 'Beach Road'.  These sculptures are what remains of trees otherwise destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.