We have returned to the little island of Vieques which is off the east coast off the main island of Puerto Rico. We had a strong desire to come back to this unique little place. We had left in such a hurry after Hurricane Maria, we didn’t get a chance to say goodbye or thank you to our friends. So, unfinished business, I guess you could say.
We are doing the same 6 month housesit we did in 2017.
It was so good to see Bob and Lou again. They surprised us with a gathering of people to meet and connect with, introduced us to Pickleball and the awesome group of Pickleball players, so we are hitting the ground running this time. In 2017, this was Bob and Lou’s second season here. Five years on and they know so much more about the island and know so many more people, add that to our experience and the people we met then, we are in for an awesome 6 months!
It feels like we have never been away, but there is a different feel to the island. The same wonderful people, but somehow, much more friendly, much more relaxed with each other. Our favourite part of travelling is meeting people from other cultures, making friends in different languages and crossing that “foreigner” barrier.
Hurricane Maria almost wiped this island out. In the aftermath the people came together, they supported each other and helped each other, there was an incredible bond, a bond of survival. The need to purely survive continued for months and months. Things finally came back to a kind of normal, but, it seems, the people have not lost that special bond, that appreciation of each other, knowing that we are all in it together and we really are one big family. We feel right at home! Reuniting with friends we had become close with has brought tears to our eyes at times, and catching up with friends we had not known so well, but connected with all the same has been a joyous thing!
So what else is the same? Well it’s the same heat. It is almost summer time here and the temperatures are so consistent. They only fluctuate about 3°C in a 24 hour period. 27°C – 30°C every day at the moment. (80°F – 86°F) The humidity is sitting at about 75% but we know it will increase as the summer goes on. The maximum temperature will probably only reach to 31°C but we remember the “feels like 42°” (107°F) temperature VERY well. We would freeze a small wet towel in the shape of a C shaped sausage, and use this to put around the backs of our necks to try to cool down. We feel we are better acclimatised this time with being in Queensland for a while before getting here. And we know what to expect. News flash! We have Air conditioning in the bedroom! We feel so lucky to have this, what a treat!
The same beautiful clear water! The colour of Bombay Sapphire Gin. Water temperature is currently 27.6 °C. Gently lapping the white sand under the blue sky. The beaches are wonderful. The tradition of spending all day Sunday at the beach with a bunch of friends and family, eating loads of food, drinking loads of alcohol and listening to music, is alive a well! I believe there are 40 beaches here, that’s a lot of parties
The same beautiful views – but now even bigger! The island is looking really good, really fresh and tidy. A lot of trees came down in the hurricane which opened up views all over the island. We say to ourselves “could we see that from here before?” well, we couldn’t! All the vegetation has recovered, but where there were big trees knocked down, there are now small trees, so the views are amazing. There are a lot of freshly painted buildings. Still the run down places and falling down properties, but overall the whole island is looking great.
The same old horses! There seems to be more horses around. Vieques is known for its wild horses all over the island. I read once that they are as much a part of the island as the sand and sea. You have to be very careful when driving as they don’t know the road rules and they don’t seem to be afraid of being right in town. It has been very dry here the last few months and we were told that they are looking for water and food, so therefore, there are more around. There are a lot of foals around at the moment, so beautiful. It is a co-habitation which has been going on for generations.
The same strong cocktails. A plastic cup, five different spirits, a dash of coke, lots of ice – yip it’s the Vieques Pain Killer! Only need one ……. Or two….. before you fall off your bike! Good old Medalla though, is still the same, cold and wet and bubbly – BUT new colour can! This is only temporary as they raise awareness of the coral reefs – but oh how I love the current colour!
It is pretty great to be back! We are already in week 6, the time is really going to fly. Many adventures to come!