2018 Life Logs, Day 69—Arrival in Mayaguez, PR
Date: Saturday, March 10, 2018
Weather: Sunny and Hot; High 88, Low 72 degrees F
Location: AT Anchor Off Mayaguez, Puerto Rico
What a great ride across the Mona Passage. It was a little rough at times, mostly motor sailing, some sailing, and some just motoring. The most peaceful part was my last hour and half of watch motoring from Rincon to Mayaguez. Clear night, a crescent moon for light, and peaceful seas. I woke Sam up when we were half a mile from the anchoring destination, and we anchored with no hitches. When we awoke this morning, the sun was shining brightly and we headed to shore with Piper. We are anchored where I thought we would be, but it looks different than it did when Mark and I were here in 2015 and took photos of a possible anchorage in Mayaguez. There was a big red round building to the north of the anchorage and it is no longer here. As we assumed, it was taken down by Hurricane Maria. But just next to the pilings on which that building stood, we met Justin, Jo, Ziggy, and Coco this morning. I was so excited to see them on the dock. But by the time they arrived the winds had kicked up a bit and there was no way Coco was going to get into a dinghy and come out to visit on Windbird. But Ziggy wanted to, so Justin and Ziggy came with us in the dinghy and Coco, Jo, and Jo’s adorable new puppy, Maya Moon, headed to a skate park on the water where we could come visit with them later. Ziggy loved being on Windbird again. We visited for a short time and then headed back to shore to visit with Jo and Coco. Justin, Jo, Ziggy, and Coco rode on their skate boards, sometimes with Maya Moon. Justin and family had plans to head further south to have a late lunch with a friend, but Ziggy convinced them he needed to stay on Windbird for the afternoon. So, he returned to the boat with us and we enjoyed a relaxed afternoon of reading and playing games. At 5 pm, we headed back to shore with Ziggy to play in the park and after sunset, Justin and Jo picked him up. In the meantime, we sat on the beach together to watch the sun go down. So beautiful. Justin and crew plan to return tomorrow morning at 7:30 am for a sail from here to Boqueron, about 10 miles south.
Our first day in Puerto Rico was fabulous. Hot, sunny, and lovely time with family. Many thanks to Sam and Dawn for making all of this possible. I would love to post photos, but can only use enough data to post the log and one very special photo from today. At some point, I will get to a source of internet that will allow me to post photos.
2018 Life Logs, Day 67—Leaving Puerto Bahia in the DR
Date: Thursday, March 8, 2018
Weather: Sunny and Warm; High 82, Low 72 degrees F
Location: Leaving Puerto Bahia, DR for Mayaguez, PR
The plan was to leave here today for a slow 36-hour sail to Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. The weather report this morning was okay, but when Sam went to tell the Commandante that we were leaving today, he said no one was allowed to check out because of the excessive northerly swell. He said he would be talking to his superior at 9 o’clock and he would have the final say. At 9:45 the Commandante came to the boat. He and Sam talked and we were given the go ahead to leave. Whew! Because the next opportunity would not be until next Thursday. If nothing changes in the next four hours, we will be leaving the Dominican Republic for Puerto Rico tonight. The north swell and any sea breeze should be calmed considerably by 8 pm, so we will leave the marina at 4 pm after checking out with the Commandant. Then we will anchor off a nearby island waiting for the calmer nighttime conditions. Leaving that late in the day will require sailing overnight tonight, all day tomorrow, and slowing down overnight tomorrow night to time our arrival in Mayaguez at first light. So, unless there is another hitch this afternoon, we will be on our way. The marina here is really first class, so if we are stuck here, at least we will be comfortable. The hotel is quite fancy and we use all the facilities. There is a small pool outside one of the bars in the hotel and another larger pool out by the Samana Bay. There is a small convenience store and at least three bars and three restaurants associated with the hotel. And there is a large, friendly staff attending to almost no one. There are condominiums all around with armed guards, but no one in them. And locals are not allowed to drive in here to go the restaurants. So a very few cruisers have the whole place to themselves. Very nice, but strange indeed.
As I said in yesterday’s log, you won’t hear from me again until Saturday when we reach Puerto Rico. Here’s hoping for a smooth Mona Passage crossing.
2018 Life Logs, Day 44—Update from Puerto Rico
Date: Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Weather: Sunny and Cold; High 32, Low 27 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Studio, Falmouth, MA
I emailed Justin yesterday asking him about how things are going in their part of Puerto Rico. They were still without power the end of December when the solar was installed, but I hadn’t really heard any details since then. But this morning I got a long response to my questions from yesterday. Basically, due to their amazing resilience and the support given to them by family and friends, they are doing great. They had electricity restored for a few days in early December, but then it went away. About a week and half ago at their house, it returned again. So, they can now use electricity from the grid to supplement the solar. But the grid continues to go down, so they are very thankful that they have the solar. They have had running water since November, but it comes and goes as well. They hope to install a rain water catchment and solar hot water system on the roof when they can afford it. They still do not have internet and have no idea when it will return, so they are hoping to have satellite installed soon. Justin continues to be able to work, either by driving to and from Mayaguez every day, which takes at least 45 minutes each way, or working in local cafes where it is harder for him to focus on this work but he doesn’t have to face the commute. One way or another, he is able to work. After Maria, Ziggy and Coco never returned to school and Jo has been homeschooling them. For now, the kids don’t want to go back to school and Justin says Jo finally has a good rhythm with them. They just got official non-profit status and they have put up a website where you can read about what they are doing. Just go to http://fincamaravilla.com to check it out. When you go to that site there are pictures at the top. If you keep clicking on ‘Load More’ you will go through all of the photos highlighting life since Maria. Absolutely amazing.
My day was consumed with more technical issues. I went to Tai Ji this morning and to the gym late this afternoon, but in between, I dealt with continued computer issues, and now cell phone problems. I called Comcast tonight and had my internet upgraded to the fastest they have. If that doesn’t solve my issues, which I don’t think it will, I’ll have to go to plan B. Not at all sure what that is, but I’ll figure it out. In between dealing with technical issues, I shop for food, cook, and watch the Olympics. Life is good.
2017 Life Logs, Day 360: Food Shopping on Boxing Day
Date: Tuesday, December 26, 2017
Weather: Partly Sunny and Chilly; High 30’s, Low 20’s F
Location: At Home with Patsy and Joe in Mt. Juliet, TN
Today was Boxing Day, a shopping day in this country, and my sister Patsy, my niece Janet, and I spent our day food shopping. We did a massive Costco buy and then went on to Whole Foods to fill in the blanks. It was a successful trip and we spent the rest of the day eating and enjoying cooking!
2017 Life Logs, Day 294: Catch-Up Day
Date: Saturday, October 21, 2017
Weather: Still Warm and Sunny; High 70, Low 53 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Studio, Falmouth, MA
Today was a nice chance of pace. I couldn’t make phone calls to inquire about things for Justin and Jo, so I took the opportunity to catch-up on my own affairs. I went to Zumba this morning and then to the post office to mail another package to Puerto Rico. Just as I was turning into the drive-way, my phone rang. I took a quick look and saw it was Justin, so I answered immediately. He called to let me know that all is well and that they were driving north today to try and buy a milk goat. They heard that someone north of Aguadilla still has goats, and while they were near Aguadilla they were going to Maximo Solar to check out solar systems. I have researched Maximo’s mini off-grid set-up, but the website doesn’t go into detail about the type of batteries that come with the system. Before I could tell Justin to get specific information on the batteries, the call dropped. Justin did explain that “they” (I assume he means FEMA workers, army personnel, or volunteers from the states) are now starting the clean-up of fallen telephone and electrical lines. The people that live in the area cleared the roads of fallen trees and poles the poles after the storm, but they didn’t touch the lines. When he said that they have just been driving over them, I tried not to gasp too loudly! But the clean-up “they” are doing seems to be causing people who have had internet connectivity of sorts to now have none at all. He also said that packages are coming more slowly than they were. The post office in Rincon has told them that there are at least a half million packages in San Juan and not enough personnel to process them even though they are working 24-hours a day. I know things always have to get worse before they get better, but I sure hope things get better quick. The call was short, but it was wonderful to hear that all is well. I next turned my attention to playing the catch-up game. My monthly bills go out automatically through on-line banking, but those bills that are a different amount each month like the electricity bill need to be updated by a human—me. I have paid absolutely no attention to this since the hurricane hit five weeks ago, so I was too late for some things, but that’s no big deal. I finished that job and started the process of checking on things that have been sent to Justin and Jo. I set up a spreadsheet listing donations and how that money has been or will be spent. I thought I would get that done on Monday when I first returned from New Hampshire, so I’m only six days behind on that job. And somehow, when I looked at the clock it was 5:30 pm. I jumped in the car to go to Heather’s to get jars and the pressure canner so I could can the chicken mineral broth I made on Thursday. I have spent my evening doing that and now it is time to get off this computer and read myself to sleep. Another day in the life.
2017 Life Logs, Day 284: Good News from Justin
Date: Wednesday, October 11, 2017
Weather: Partly Cloudy; High 69, Low 52 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Studio, Falmouth, MA
My morning was listening to an online summit about best ways to deal with osteoarthritis. I seem to know someone very well who suffers from knee pain due to this. And yes, that person would be me. I didn’t learn a lot of new information, but I was reminded sternly that not drinking enough water can exacerbate the pain. So, I once again have that water bottle by my side. In the middle of one of the sessions, I got a call from Justin. He had been standing in line for two hours to try to once again to get the cash I sent to him on Saturday via Western Union. When he finally got to the head of the line, they couldn’t give him the money because I had not included his middle name when I sent the money. The name has to match what is written on your government issued ID. The person who met with gave him a number I could call to fix the problem, and because he was in town, he had a cell signal so he could call me. I called the number and I was able to add his middle name without too much fanfare. But by the time I sent Justin a text to let him know the name was changed, the people manning the Western Union window had gone to lunch. While he was once again waiting, he saw that people were getting money out of a nearby ATM machine. He gave it a try and was actually able to get money out of his account for the first time since the hurricane. Very good news. And then he was successful in getting the cash that had been sent through Western Union. So, I can breathe a little easier now knowing that at least Justin and Jo have cash . . . and hopefully continued access to their bank account. But that could come and go, so they can’t ‘bank’ on it. At least in terms of the ability to get cash and to communicate, there has been some improvement. Unfortunately, that has not been the case for food and water, at least not in western Puerto Rico where Justin lives.
There was a little bit of unsettling news from Justin, along with the good. Coco was not feeling good today. Justin said he had a bug of some sort a couple of days ago and Coco seems to have the same symptoms. Justin thinks it is just a result of eating too many carbs—just rice and beans and more rice and beans. He thinks their bodies are just telling them they need something green. But there is nothing green to eat right now. So hopefully he’s right and hopefully those sprouting seeds and trays will arrive soon. And hopefully our Coco Belle will feel better by tomorrow. But I don’t have my head buried in the sand. I know that the Governor of Puerto Rico today said that the first deaths have been reported from the water borne disease called leptospirosis. It is treatable if you have the right antibiotics, but people have no easy access to antibiotics. The deaths so far are close to San Juan, not in western Puerto Rico where Justin and Jo live. And J & J did receive the water filters they ordered before the storm. So hopefully their water is safe. I have sent hundreds of water purification tablets for others, but those have not yet arrived. It was three weeks ago today that Maria ravaged the island of Puerto Rico. I knew that if the hurricane hit hard, the entire island would be without electricity and cell service, but I guess I really didn’t believe that an entire island would be left without any source of fresh water. And even if they were, I naively thought that our government would find immediate ways to air drop water bottles to the people. But that hasn’t happened. Our government is still traveling around asking people to fill out forms to get relief. And I am still having a hard time believing this even though I know it to be true. Where is the government of the country I thought I lived in? There are good people down there ready to deliver food and water, but somehow the leadership is not allowing that to happen. Mail has not reached Justin yet, but so many things have been sent through the generosity of so many friends and family members with more on the way. So even if the government support system is broken, the goodness of the people of this country shines through. Thank you so much to everyone making contributions.
I’m headed to Concord, New Hampshire, tomorrow to attend a Concord Yacht Club meeting. And then on Friday I head to the coast of New Hampshire to visit with other good friends. I need some input from others to help me figure out how to prioritize what we are sending to Puerto Rico. This trip will give me time with friends who can help me with this task. Sitting here at my dining room table without input from others is leading to dysfunction. So I am really looking forward to brainstorming with friends.
I invited myself to dinner at the Goldstones tonight so I could see Heather, Jed, and boys before heading to New Hampshire for four days. And then I went to see Victoria and Abdul with Terry and Olivia White. The movie is about the unlikely relationship between Queen Victoria and a young clerk from India who is sent to England to deliver a ceremonial coin to the Queen. It is a cross between comedy and drama and Dame Judith Olivia ‘Judi’ Dent is as spectacular as ever. And Ali Fazal, the young Indian actor, quickly becomes a favorite. The movie certainly spurred me to learn more about the life of Queen Victoria.