Alaskan family of five moves to Puerto Rico.

I was thinking homeschooling was you best bet at this stage, too.  So sorry you are having such a time of it.  Hang in there and something will turn up.

Some parents home schooling get together as a group for support.and schooling.

I don't know Gregg, I have very little patience and I don't think that I will be a good teacher.

My husband may be a better candidate but I am not sure if he is up to it either.

I looked into and it is pretty costly but thatight be my only option.

Will post an update

K-12 is pretty costly. If you took it in the states it would be free. However, and fortunately for you, at his age and grade level he wouldn't need a "teacher". He would need someone to make sure he gets his butt out of bed in the morning just like regular school. The main thing that would be required of you is to make sure that he does his work and sticks to it. With K-12 the school day is much shorter because there are no distractions or school functions to deal with. If he works through holidays and regular school vacation times he can finish his school year by March or April. Our daughter took 3rd grade with K-12 so she needed a teacher. When we got back to the states and put her back in a regular public school there was no problem with her being put into the 4th grade. The biggest problem you might have is getting him to stick with a regular daily regemen. It's almost like working from home. Not everybody can pull it off without some self discipline.

Call up K-12 and talk to them and relay your concerns. They will probably tell you the same thing as I did, that he doesn't need a teacher in the traditional sense.

I'm not sure from your posts if you'd be OK with your grandson getting his GED, but there is a GED administrator in Puerto Rico. (I've never had anything to do with GEDs, but I found this online.) Since it's from the US, they may have access to tests in English, although your grandson might have to go to San Juan to take the test.
Puerto Rico
Luis Ruiz
GED Administrator
Examinations, Diplomas and Certificates Unit
Department of Education
P.O. Box 190759
San Juan, PR 00919-0759
Phone: (787) 773-4881 or (787) 773-4880 or (787) 773-4884
Fax: (787) 281-0999

Its the most.wonderful time.of the year.

Back to school time.

Its an amazing sight. Almost every store is having some form of back to school sale including the Sears furniture department. Plus Gordons Jewelry is having a back to school sale. I am not sure how that connects to school but whatever, right? Maybe it does?

The shopping malls are packed with kids and they are super excited. Its almost like Christmas time in the states. I remember being in sixth grade and saying, wow, I only have six more years of school. I cant wait to get out. Then I realized that I forgot to add the college years. Looking back now I wonder why I wanted to get out so bad. School was great. I didnt have to worry about bills, insurance, retirement or a mortgage. Why was I in such a hurry to worry about those things?

The kids here actually really like going to school. They have incredibly interesting political debates and insights on life. They seem to be wiser than their years. The kids teach each other. They tutor each other and the help each other like I have never seen anywhere but here. The kids here seem to be more connected to current events. These kids are smart!

I will admit since moving to the Caribbean I try not to read or watch the news. Its actually really hard to do. I encourage you all to try it. I met someone several years ago who said his life has improved since he stopped watching the news.

He said, The news is just too depressing! Why would anyone want to be depressed? If something major happens in the news I would hear about it at work around the water cooler. My life is too valuable for that!

This person is a very decorated and high ranking military officer in Washington DC. His advice has been some of the best advice I have actually followed.

The next two weeks will be the very tough in our house. The mood swings have already started. You can easily see the grins turn into frowns with just a mention of school supplies or uniforms. It really is the most wonderful time of year. 

We also have a new addition joining us for a year. Our family of five knuckleheads will soon be a family of six knuckleheads.

I better get a few more surfboards and/or school supplies.

Thank you for coming back for an update.  That is really cool that the kids there enjoy school, actually I enjoyed school, too :)  You have a lot of compassion and kindness to take another into your household for a whole year, blessings!

Thanks for the info on the GED
That will be our last resort. I am waiting until Jul. 28 , when they tell me that the school personnel is back from vacation to call and find out our options. Maybe night school would be best at this point.

My neighbor also gave me the name and no. of a Christian school in Hatillo that Bilingual and we will see where that goes.

A GED is better than nothing but it will make it much harder for your grandson to get into college or to get a job.

Maiden voyage of our new Beneteau 361 S/V “Senses Pleasures” name change coming soon. Possible choices, “Address Unknown”, “Anywhere”, “Everywhere”, or “Less than Ordinary”. We haven’t decided yet. Maybe you have some ideas?

So here it goes..

As I drove to San Juan last weekend I realized my life is less than ordinary, at least to me. I have always strived to follow my dreams even if some of those dreams have been a little off the wall. I could go on and on. But if you know me, you will know this is true. Once an idea plants its seed it grows into something beyond control.

It has not been easy for my wife and three kids. They have had to endure many adventures and travels all over the world. I am thankful that they still continue to still love and follow me. My lovely bride has allowed me to live a life less ordinary. I am so grateful for her dedication to me and the kids for over the last 24 years of fun. Yes, I have been married to the same girl I met in college and she has been the best part of my crazy life. I will also admit that my kids are equally crazy, adventurous and I am proud of their life choices.

So I need to get back on track. As my car sped down highway 2 I realized the gravity of what I was about to do. Since I was about thirteen I have dreamt of sailing the Caribbean and very soon I would be living that dream. About a month earlier my son and I were walking the docks in Old San Juan and came across a little sailboat for sale. That’s when the wheels started turning. Liam (14) called the number and before I knew it we had bought a boat. The boats current name is “Senses Pleasures”. Try to say that ten times fast.

No, Really. Try it?  Liam says, that name sounds like a strip club. I agree so that name will be changed to “Address Unknown” or something else at some point we cant decide.

So for the last several weeks we have been driving back and forth to San Juan on the weekends. Each weekend a different child would go with me and we would clean, repair and prep the boat for the impending trip to the west coast of Puerto Rico. It’s not a hard trip but its 125 miles without any safe place to stop. So we wanted to make sure everything was perfect. I kept thinking about all that could go wrong, the things that could break and of the security of the San Juan Harbor. I said to myself, I don’t need to leave the harbor do I? It’s safe and sheltered. Everything I need is right here. If I leave the harbor too many things could go wrong. But the thoughts of floating at sea, the fresh ocean air in my face and the brightest blue ocean splashing against the hull far out weighted the risks. Besides, this was one of my many dreams and I have never let my fears run my life.

The day of maiden voyage had finally arrived. My plan was to leave Friday night and sail west for 125 miles to Puerto Real. My weeks of preparation were about to pay off and my anticipation was overwhelming. Our crew of four was ready and capable. My father flew down from Maryland and Meshach (Berkley’s boyfriend) also joined to. This was a blessing as the events of the coming days were unbelievably challenging.
We filled the water tanks the fuel tanks and the propane tank. We even tried to empty the holding tank. The batteries were fully charged and the engine had just been completely serviced. Just to show off I went to start the engine to impress my dad and it didn’t start. I was baffled. It just started a few hours earlier! WTF!!!! We hired a local mechanic and he replaced the ignition switch. Then the GPS started to power off for some reason. So we tore the steering console apart and rewired the unit. We thought we fixed it. And decided we were ready for the journey. We went to an early dinner and tried to sleep for a few hours. My plan was to set sail around midnight and arrive at the west coast turn around sunrise. It was a good plan!!!!

After a brief nap after dinner we cast off and left the safety of the marina at 12:30. The moon was bright, the skies were clear and the lights of Old San Juan were reflecting off the water in the harbor. It was beautiful. The wind was blowing from the east about 10 knots. The waves were down from 15 feet to 8 foot. It was a perfect time to head west.

·         12:30 am Cast off and left San Juan Harbor
·         1:00 am Meshach and Liam pass out (My crew of four is down to two)
·         1:15 am leaving the safety of San Juan Harbor
·         1:30 am at 5 miles north of the Puerto Rico shoreline we turned left and headed west. 
·         2:00 am autopilot failed (This sucks) My Dad says, “This isn’t good!”
·         4:00 am GPS failed (This sucked worse!) My Dad says, “This really isn’t good!”
·         5:00 am the wind died to a dead calm (watched a meteor shower)
·         6:30 am Liam and Meshach wake up and start trolling for Mahi Mahi. They were not concerned about the problems as those two knew they could swim to shore. We were five miles north of Puerto Rico. They both claimed they could swim that in their sleep.
·         7:00 am the batteries died (Now nothing is working, My panic level was increasing)
·         At 9:00 am we noticed water in the cabin and bilges full of salt water (Now, I’m scared)
·         At 11;00 am Engine water pump failing (major engine problem, water all over engine room)
·         At 12:00 pm 12 hours after the journey began we had only travelled 40 miles (The boat speed was only 3-4 knots due to opposing current and barnacle growth on hull. We had planned on travelling at 6-7 knots we were not even half way to where we thought we would be)
·         1:00 pm called the Coast Guard for info on towing assistance I had to spell the name of our boat five times as they had no idea what “Senses Pleasures” was. It must have sounded completely different over the VHF radio. (SEATOW was unfortunately on the opposite side of the island and could not assist plus they charge $375/hr)

Channel 16---

Me---“US Coast Guard, US Coast Guard this is Sailing Vessel “Senses Pleasures”, we need your assistance. US Coast Guard, US Coast Guard this is Sailing Vessel “Senses Pleasures”, we need your assistance.

USCG—Can you repeat the name of the vessel?

Me---“US Coast Guard, US Coast Guard this is Sailing Vessel “Senses Pleasures”. US Coast Guard, US Coast Guard this is Sailing Vessel “Senses Pleasures”.

USCG—Can you repeat the name of the vessel again Capt.?

Me---“US Coast Guard, US Coast Guard this is Sailing Vessel “Senses Pleasures”. US Coast Guard, US Coast Guard this is Sailing Vessel “Senses Pleasures”.

USCG—Can you spell the name of the vessel Capt.?

And so on….. Finally

USCG—We do not provide assistance in the waters around Puerto Rico. You will need to call SEATOW located in Ponce, PR. Here is the number.

Called SEATOW and they stated they were 6-8 hours away on the opposite side of the island. Basically we were on our own. So we all just looked at each other for several minutes waiting for someone to break that awkward silence. No one did….

·         2:00 pm started to hyperventilate and panic attacks started.
·         3:00 pm checked diesel fuel level below ¼ tank (3 gallons) still have 40 miles to go against a 3 knot current. We had already travelled 40 miles and went through 15 gallons. You do the math. It just plan doesn’t add up. How were we going to go the next 40 miles on three gallons?
·         5:00 pm made the turn heading south. We are almost out of fuel only 1/8 tank left.
·         5:30 pm 10-12 foot waves breaking on north shore (this was scary because If we ran out of fuel we would not be able to avoid the reefs. Its 300 feet deep in front of the reef and an anchor cannot reach or hold in ten foot seas.
·         6:30 pm beautiful sunset and I mean beautiful! I should have taken some photos
·         7:00 pm sailed past a 200 foot pier and didn’t see it. (No lights, no power, no fun)
·         7:30 pm anchored in Aguadilla (no power, no lights and in high surf)
·         7:45 pm We paddled ashore to buy a new 12 volt battery and get more fuel. There was a huge party on the beach, live band and dancing. I started to second guess the decision to get a battery and fuel. The thought of manana, manana kept invading my mind. Why do today what I can put off to tomorrow, right? Fiesta!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
·         8:00 pm my beautiful bride arrives at the beach to shuttle us to the store. I got a much needed hug and encouragement. Gosh, I love that lady…..
·         8:05 pm I realized I could party tomorrow, sad, huh? It sucks being a grown up!
·         8:10 pm Meshach leaves us and was replaced by Deliz (Maddie’s boyfriend) I think Meshach was worried that the next day was going to be equally challenging. We didn’t tell Deliz so he had no idea what he was getting into.
·         10:00 pm returned to boat filled fuel tank with (4) five gallon jugs in 5 foot waves. This was not easy. Plus the ragging party on the beach was a little distracting. Neighboring sailboat owner swims over to say hi. Funny thing, his name is Sam Adams Owens. He talks with us for several hours.
·         12:00 pm Cellphone battery completely dead. Nothing on board to charge it.
·         12:30 pm tried to sleep the boat was rocking in the waves violently all night. I wish I would have stayed at the beach party.
·         6:30 am pulled anchor and set sail after hot wiring the engine. Dad, MacGyver’d the new battery on deck to the GPS. I will admit it looked a little ghetto but it worked. This is when I realized, Yep, I’m a true sailor!
·         7:30 am hit 7 knots for the first time. I was super stoked.
·         8:30 am wind died. Yep, the wind died!!!!
·         9:00 am motoring against the current is not all that fun. When you see people walking on the beach faster than you are motoring in a boat it’s kind of disheartening. But we did have beautiful skies and we are in the Caribbean on a boat!
·         3:00 pm successful navigation through several below surface reefs. Thank god we had a MacGyver on the boat and working GPS!
·         4:00 pm Successful navigation into Punta Carenero, Puerto Real
·         4:30 pm Ran aground in the marina. Damn it!
·         4:35 pm moved around to a deeper side of the marina.
·         4:45 pm “Address Unknown” has a new home slip C-15 we were told to go to C-16 but whatever, right? We are in the Caribbean on a boat.
·         5:00 pm Super Cold Corona with Lime!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So I will continue to cast off my fears, set the sails and leave the safety of my harbors. It is my hope and desire that I influence my children to do the same and live a life less than ordinary.

Where will we go next?

Wow, what an adventure!  So glad you came back to tell us more of your journeys and adventures.  Hope you and your family are well, bless!

Ok my friend we are ready to sail, are you going to get us lost on Gilligans Island? Haha. We have experienced some of the same things both good and bad. Give me a call sometime maybe after the holidays we can get together.

Enjoy reading your posts! We lived in the Bayamon / San Juan area for three years. Just moved back. And yes GPS here does not work with addresses. If you ever find a place, pin it! Then you can get there again. I was reading your post routing for you to find one of the Costco stores. When I read you got to Ikea I thought now they will find the Costco store less than a mile down the road on the left. Oh the irony!! And if you ever do stop for directions, Puerto Ricans never use street names just landmarks like the pink house or the tire place or where the big Ceiba tree is - except when it is a numbered highway - then they have a name for that highway and don't know the number. Haha!

If you ever decide to go to Ikea and Costco again, go to the Ikea PR website first, place your order a couple days ahead of time, it will usually be ready for pickup in 48 hours. Go to IKea. If IKEA is on your right, drive down the road 3/4 of a mile. The Costco will be on your left. But as soon as you see the Costco get way over to your right on the little side road that goes to the gas station across from Costco. That is where the left hand turn Lane is. After you turn left to go to Costco, on the right side of Costco, there is a Baby Bull restaurant that has the best burgers and ribs we have ever eaten. It was our go to place, and the owner speaks English. Now hopefully that would be a better day if you ever attempt it again.

Hey there, Matmore; Pin it! That's what I do too... GPS works SOMETIMES, but only if the address is "proper".  Hey, I'm curious about Cosco... is it worth the drive from Rincon?

Well I'm sure glad I didn't get an invite this time Bill LOL, we need to get together soon. We can use our friends condo in Mayaguez for a weekend anytime we want. I am ready to sit and have a cold beer with you my friend. Give me a call!

Costco kept me sane while we were living in PR, but it was only 5 minutes from our house, and we had a 2nd fridge and freezer to be able to buy in larger quantities. If you have a second freezer or fridge, it definitely would be worth it to make a trip every six weeks or so and stock up. If you don't have the storage then you are limited to mostly dry goods. It still might be worth it because they have better quality and variety than most any supermarket in PR and better prices. They also have a lot of great household items. Do you have a Sam's Club in Mayaguez? SAMs club would be good too. If not, I would probably be making a trip to Costco every other month or so for sanity's sake.

Yes there is a Sam's in Mayaguez.

Since there is a SAMs, then I would probably go there instead of driving 2 hours for Costco??

I like Costco better. But you are right. A 2 hour drive in Puerto Rican traffic isn't worth the difference.

FWIW there's a Costco in Caguas. Easy to find but the mall is, like so many here in PR a pain to get in and out.

I try to keep my sanity by leaving most of the shopping to my wife (who seems to like it..) :D

The Sam's in Mayaguez (by mainland standards) is laim; limited selections, and inconsistent.

The other Sam's Clubs on the island are the same. This is Puerto Rico.. :)

Still loving it!

Mona Island. Yes, Mona Island……

I apologize; it has been a while since my last post. We have had a lot of visitors and the new grand babies take up valuable time. So here goes the latest adventure.

We were sitting in the marina bar on a Sunday night talking about crazy sailing adventures with several other sailors. Some of the stories were harder to believe than others. Sailors always try to make the stories more interesting so others will actually listen with envy. This is why sailors are so interesting, right?

Then someone brought up the beautiful island called Mona in one of the most dangerous passages in the world. The Mona Passage is feared by many because of the crazy current, high seas and rogue waves. Mona Island has some incredibly unique animals, birds, turtles and is sometimes called the Galapagos Island of the Caribbean. Very few people actually get to go there because of the required permits and difficult location in the Mona Passage. This was one of those father son bucket list moments that I knew just had to happen. Before we knew it we had a crew of five ready to leave that Thursday night. They all had the same enthusiasm as Liam and I. It started as a joke and snow balled into reality and in four days we were going, for real. The crew consisted of a DEA agent, retired NY State trooper, an EMT, my amazing son Liam and me. I am leaving their names out.

Remember this is a sailor’s story. So as most of this is true some things are not. I will let you guess.

We all met at the marina Thursday evening to set sail that night. Of course nothing is ever simple. The bolt for the alternator pivot point snapped off on the engine pre check that afternoon. That was not an easy part to find as Friday was Three Kings Day and every store closes early the night before a holiday. I was able to find the bolt in Mayaguez and replaced the alternator pivot bolt. I did another thorough check of the entire boat and concluded we were ready for crossing the Mona Passage. I will admit I was a little nervous. We set sail at 11:30 PM under a full moon. It was a beautiful night. The wind was coming from the west at 10-15 knots and waves were only 3-5 feet high. Every hour of this ten hour journey the engine, batteries, gauges and bilges were checked. Like I stated, I was nervous. Besides I was responsible for four other lives. During the first four hours of the trip the seas were calm. By 4:00 AM the moon had set on the horizon, the seas and wind picked up and my crew was fast asleep with the exception of my boy, Liam. It was pitch black. But in the far off distance I could see the occasional light from the northern Mona Island lighthouse.

I actually loved the sound of the ocean crashing against the hull and the wind whistling by. Plus, the conversations you have with your son at “O” dark thirty while everyone else is asleep is priceless. The lack of sleep didn’t seem to bother either of us. We were too excited to care. He and I spent hours just talking. I don’t actually remember what we talked about but I am sure it was earth changing stuff.  At 06:00 the sun started to rise and the cliff face of Mona Island was lit up like the Cliffs of Dover. It was an amazing sight. The crew woke up and before we knew it, we had caught two five foot Barracudas. As we sailed past the northern shore/cliffs another island became visible. It is a much smaller island just north of Mona called Little Mona, Original name, huh? That island is all cliffs all the way around and impossible to anchor next to and explore. I hear the fishing around that island is fantastic.

On the west side of Mona Island, the wind and waves had died down. The sailing became comfortable and calm again. The visibility below us was over 75 feet. Yes, we could see the ocean floor 75 feet below us. This made navigating a little difficult as you could not believe the depth meter or your eyes. It appeared to be much shallower than it actually was. We then spotted a buoy about a mile away and sailed towards that. That buoy is the guide marker to make it into the mooring area. Once we rounded that buoy we could see the two markers on the beach. We lined them up with the buoy behind us and sailed right in. The passage into the protected anchorage was about 50 feet wide. In high surf I don’t think our boat could make it in or out.

We tied up to the mooring buoy just north of the old loading dock in about 10-13 feet of water. The water was crystal clear with turtles swimming around everywhere. The beach sand was a bright white. We all sat there looking at the cliffs and the little beach for several minutes. We just could not believe what we were seeing.

After we absorbed as much as we could we all dove into the water and swam to shore. We walked down the beach to the Mona Island Departamento De Recursos Naturales Y Ambientales or DNRA office. The Island has 4-5 armed rangers stationed there every week. They rotate out every other week. The DNRA employees do not have a working boat. They have several ATV’s and trucks but no water craft. We thought that was a little odd. After introducing ourselves to the DNRA officials they asked us to help save 18 Cuban refugees that were stranded on a cliff about a ½ mile away. They told us that the refugees had been there for three days without food and water. Liam and one of our crew members jumped into the inflatable and made nine trips back and forth. They retrieved them all including a man with a broken leg and a four year old girl.

It is really sad to see what people endure to leave their countries for the American dream. Most of these refugees will pay $1500-2500 to have someone deliver them by boat to Puerto Rico. The worst part is most of these refugees get dropped off on a deserted island 46 miles away from Puerto Rico. They climb the sheer cliffs to find stores, cars, people and they find nothing. It is an expensive trip for people that only make around $5.00/day. The majority of them get sent back to their country after landing on Mona Island. The DNRA processes the refugees. They Photograph, fingerprint and confirm actual point of origin. Then they get picked up by police boat and returned to their country by air from Puerto Rico.

Later that day we decided to walk the beach and stopped to talk to one of the DNRA officials. He told us they find at least three dead refugees a week on the island. He also told us that they find abandoned boats at sea are without people on them. He was visibly shaken up as he told us this. He also stated that he fears 100’s of refugees lose their lives every month crossing the Mona Passage and they are never found. They simply run out of supplies, get affected by the high seas, lose direction and/or die from dehydration. The bodies just disappear in the Mona Passage.

So back to our first day on Mona Island, We rescued 18 Cubans, we explored the deserted beaches, did some scuba, snorkeling, floating and some much needed relaxation. It was a full day plus Liam and I had not slept. I decided to take a walk and sleep under a palm tree. After about twenty minutes I realized I would not be able to sleep on the beach. The hermit crabs and huge iguanas were just too curious to let me sleep. They don’t see many people so they are not afraid of us like they would be in more populated areas. I did not enjoy the curious visitors next to my face. So I headed back to the boat where Liam and the other crew members were out having fun chasing sharks and turtles.

That afternoon Liam caught a several lobsters for dinner. He even found a shark hiding in a cave which really freaked out one of the other crew members who was diving with him. We cooked the lobsters and some steaks on the grill that night. The sunset after dinner was one of the prettiest I have ever seen. After sunset the almost full moon came out and lit up the water. The glistening of the moon on the surface of the water made a dramatic reflection on the ocean floor below the boat. I wish I could describe this better. Then a huge shark swam under the boat. The moonlight shimmering through the water onto the back of the shark created a menacing black silhouette on the ocean floor. He swam back and forth under the boat for several hours.

I think this is what kept me out of the water the next day.

That evening I think I fell asleep around 8:00pm. I decided to lie down on the couch in the living room area of the sailboat. The next thing I knew it was 6:00 AM. I think the lack of sleep finally caught up to me. Liam and crew decided to watch a movie with surround sound. They also turned on the generator, turned on the air conditioner and closed all the windows. Then a huge thunderstorm hit with heavy rains and high winds. Somehow, I slept through it all and heard nothing………………

The next day I woke up early and made breakfast tacos and coffee. Everything tastes better on a boat. Cleaned up and away we all went again. We ended up doing much of the same as the day before.

I had to repair the Jabsco toilet. This is one of my favorite things to do. If anyone knows what a Jabsco toilet is I am sure they have repaired one. It’s a real $h!**y job. I also had to remove the bolt I replaced the day before and install a shorter one. I have to make a side note here: Use anti seize lubricant!!! This makes working on a boat so much easier in the waves. I finished the departure pre check for the return journey and decided to kick back and relax.

The Coast Guard arrived around 10:00 AM to drop off more Cubans that were stranded on Little Mona Island. I believe they rescued 14. This seems to be an everyday thing out there. Liam and I did some exploring on the trails above the beach. We also found a few caves but we did not have the right clothes to go into them. The other crew members spent the day snorkeling, taking pictures with a drone and exploring.

Around 6:00 PM we decided to set sail back to Puerto Rico. The weather forecast showed a big swell headed our way. Our timing was perfect. If we would have waited any longer the waves could have prevented us from leaving safely out of the mooring area. The next day we found out the waves were over 18 feet breaking into that mooring area. We made it through the reef without any trouble and headed south. Liam stood on the foredeck pointing out which direction to go to avoid hitting the reefs. As we got further from the island the waves on the south side of Mona were far too big to sail safely back to PR. We turned back north and watched the last sunset as we sailed past our anchorage. Of course we caught another Barracuda. Then the sun faded away. On the north side of the Island the almost full moon came up over Mona. It lit up the sky so bright and just then we hooked a Mahi-Mahi. This was a beautiful fish. We would have loved to keep this one but due to the high waves it broke free. Liam still feels bad about losing that fish. We yelled at him and almost threw him overboard. It wasn’t really his fault but we needed someone to blame. Plus, he was the youngest on the boat and it’s always the youngest ones fault.

At about 11:00pm the entire crew was fast asleep except for Liam and I. He and I stayed up for the return voyage east. I was really nervous because the waves were increasing beyond my comfort level. The waves did not have any real pattern to follow either. Sometimes you can ride a wave like a surfboard but these waves were coming from all directions. It made for a very long night. Thank god for Auto Pilot and Liam for providing good conversation and back up confidence. Around 2:30 AM a large power boat appeared about three miles behind us. We were going around 4-5 knots. The power boat was traveling around 20+ knots. We immediately woke the rest of the crew and got them all on deck. As soon as the Power boat got close enough to see the full crew standing tall on deck they broke off and went south. Not sure what that was about. But it was a little intimidating. We wonder if it was just a friendly visitor or pirates. I guess we will never know. That is probably a good thing.

At 3:00 AM I could start to see the lights of Puerto Rico. Then the almost full moon disappeared around 4:00 AM and it was pitch black again. The GPS was my only way home. The noticeable landmarks of Mayaguez and Cabo Rojo just were not noticeable. We sailed into Puerto Real with blind folds on. I swear I have never been that blind. We sailed into port without a hitch. The sun finally came up as we were loading the vehicles for the road trip home.

We all were extremely excited to be able to say we sailed to one of the most unique places on earth. We did something very few people ever get to do and we did it without any real issues. And most importantly, I got to do this bucket list item with my son. The older he gets I realize I will have very few of these moments left. He has turned into a very fine young man and be will starting his own life soon. I am so impressed by him. He has courage, knowledge, common sense, resilience and he is definitely his father’s son. He will never fully understand how proud I am of him. I hope he knows that these brief moments in time that we spend together mean more to me than anything else in my life.

It was an outstanding father/son bucket list adventure.

What an incredible story, everything but the girl and you wrote it beautifully. Thank you for sharing. Any chance of seeing that drone footage?

Very nice story, I am guessing the JAWS going back at forth under the boat is the fish story.

Hello from the other side (Humacao).
Great story. How do the Cubans end up on Mona Island? Current?  I am going to share your story with some sailing friends and see if we can arrange a trip.  Where did you leave from? Salinas?

What a great adventure Bill! Say hello to Jen and the kids and congratulations on the Grandchildren!

Thank you for sharing your adventure with us! Those are the moments your kid will remember the most. Glad you are enjoying the beautiful places the island have.

It was all true. Nothing is made up. We broke a few rules so I thought I could protect myself with that comment.

Yeah, my understanding is that without permission, you may not walk on the Mona Island beach above the high tide mark.

I loved reading about your adventure! Thank you for sharing!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017
It’s been sure nice talking to you….. My father and I talk at least once a week on the phone. He lives in Maryland. So guess that’s like a million miles away? At least it feels like a million miles away. He was in the US Navy for almost thirty years. He is an amazing man and I have always hoped to be half the man he is. He commanded submarines and was gone at least six months out of every year. Can you imagine living under the ocean blue for six months without much communication with family, friends and current events? It took a very special and dedicated person to be able to do that. He missed a lot of my childhood due to his career. Every once in a while he mentions a particular song that immediately brings tears to my eyes. The title of this blog is a line from that song. So maybe you have already figured out the song? I will drop a few more hints as I continue. I have found myself living the same way he did. I am way too dedicated to work. And I spend less time doing fun things with my children. Song lyrics….. “My child arrived just the other day He came to the world in the usual way But there were planes to catch and bills to pay He learned to walk in the usual way And he was talking ’fore I knew it, and as he grew He’d say, I’m going to be like you, dad You know I’m going to be like you.” I am bringing this up due to the new additions to the household. Last week my oldest daughter gave birth to twins. I have found myself just staring at these incredible creatures for hours and hours. In fact an entire week went by and I really did not do anything but hold them. Life is truly amazing. I am now a grandfather. Seriously, a grandfather! In my head I still think I’m only 25. Where did the time go? In the blink of an eye I went from being a child to being a grandfather. So back to the song, have you figured it out yet? Song lyrics….. “My son turned ten just the other day He said, Thanks for the ball, dad. Come on let’s play. Can you teach me to throw? I said not today, I got a lot to do. He said, that’s okay. And he walked away, but his smile never dimmed And said, I’m going be like him, yeah You know I’m gonna be like him.” So as my life continues to blaze by I find myself struggling for time. This is the same for everyone, I am sure. I was just hoping living in the Caribbean would help slow things down a bit. But it seems it doesn’t matter where you live. Time flies by regardless of where you hang your hat. Song lyrics….. “Well he came from college just the other day So much like a man, I just had to say Son, I’m proud of you. Can you sit for a while? He shook his head, and he said with a smile “What I’d really like dad, is to borrow the car keys See you later, can I have them please? Have you figured out the song yet? Song lyrics….. “I’ve long since retired, and my sons moved away I called him up just the other day I said, I’d like to see you if you don’t mind. He said, I’d love to, dad. If I could find the time You see, my new jobs a hassle and the kids got the flu But its sure nice talking to you, dad It’s been sure nice talking to you And as I hung up the phone, it occurred to me He’d grown up just like me My boy was just like me.” Here is the great reveal and my final thoughts. It is said, that life passes by in a blink of an eye. It is true. So find the time to get together with the people you love, even if we are a million miles away. I have lived in the Caribbean for over three years now. I have not been able to travel back and forth to the states as much as I would like. But with Facebook, skype and cellphone it is a little bit easier. It’s not the same but it works for now. Try not to blink and if you have to treasure that moment and we will have a good time then…………….. Song lyrics….. And the cats in the cradle and the silver spoon Little boy blue and the man in the moon When you coming home, son, I don’t know when But we’ll get together then, dad Were gonna have a good time then.” ------ Harry Chapin, 1974

I've read some of your post and would like to offer some help please email me at *** and I would love to share some info to make your move less painfull.

Moderated by Bhavna 11 months ago
Reason : Please do not post your contact details on the forum. You should exchange them through the private messaging system.Thank you
We invite you to read the forum code of conduct

Karma, you need to read the rules of the site, posting personal contact info is not allowed. I had to hide your post.

Use private message for that.

Alaska 2 pr at blog spot dot com or just google Alaska 2 PR

Hurricane Irma/Jose/Maria
CAT 5/4/5

Let’s start by saying it hasn’t been any easy 2 weeks Living in our Caribbean paradise. You may think living in the Caribbean is easy? It really should be! We all dream of beautiful beaches, sunny skies and endless tequila sunrises. And for me its Mojitos, something about the mint leaves drives me crazy. Sorry, I was imagining better days when Mojitos were easier to get. This will make more sense later.

Let me start with Hurricane Irma. She was a little storm that quickly developed into one of the biggest storms the Caribbean has ever seen, a CAT 5. Yes, a CAT 5! I did not believe it was possible for a hurricane to actually develop into a CAT 5. Hurricane Maria was over 300 miles wide, traveling at 14 mph and right over NE PR. Hurricane Irma destroyed multiple islands on its way to PR and I mean destroyed! I will never be able to properly explain the devastation. The BVI, USVI, Martinique, St. Martin and many other smaller islands were completely destroyed. It will take years for them to recover if they can recover at all. We have several friends who have lost everything. The charter boating industry will never recover over there.

All (4) of the St. Thomas’s US Post Offices were completely destroyed rendering the island virtually helpless. Almost all Caribbean industries rely on the US Postal Service for mail, parcels, money orders, PO Boxes, etc. It is unknown when they will resume normal delivery services, if ever. Remember with the success of Amazon Prime (Free shipping/tax free purchases) mailing is a primary way for residents of the Caribbean to receive goods. This will have a drastic impact on employment and the tourism industry.

Well, let me get back to my crazy story. The island of Puerto Rico is only 30 miles wide and 90 miles long. Hurricane Irma was supposed to veer north but left us all with our pants down. She buzzed by, tearing roofs off of houses, cracking trees in half and leaving us with waves over 20-30 feet breaking on the beaches. It was a storm for the history books. Irma went on to devastate the Florida Keys and other parts of the US. Everyone in PR thought this was the worst of the worst. We lost power for days, internet, cable, water and cell service. It was all gone! But it all started to return one by one and in less than a week everything was back to normal. Even the Postal Service in the Caribbean was completely shut down for three days. I’m sure you all know that motto, “Rain, Sleet, Snow or Hail”. It was a crippling storm.

As things settled down and we all started back to our normal lives. We cleaned up and took storm shutters off. We moved the boat back to the dock and put all the sails back on, solar panels, Bimini and everything else we took off. We have some friends that told us a trick about anchoring in storms. The trick worked and our boat survived 15 foot seas, 100 mph winds and didn’t move an inch. I will be forever grateful to them. We laughed and joked about how storms never seem to really damage the west side of Puerto Rico. We also started several disaster relief programs to help the islands that were damaged and sent water, generators and so much more to help out. Then just like that it was reported that we had another developing storm called Hurricane Jose. It was smaller but on the same path. It was intensifying and we all thought, how is this possible? Lighting never strikes twice, right?  Hurricane Jose finally veered north and meandered around before turning into a tropical storm. He never really affected PR other than some really epic surfing waves.

So we all thought it was over. Again, thinking how lucky the west side is/was. We all became relaxed and somewhat complacent. We all went back to our normal daily routines (eating Pinchos, drinking Mojitos and living the Caribbean dream). This didn’t last long.

The history books show one of the most devastating Hurricanes to hit PR was Hurricane George about twenty years ago. That storm was a CAT 3 and it virtually crippled PR for almost six months. The island had no power, phone service and water for up to six months. So many lost their lives and now it was a distant memory. A storm like that could never happen again, we are so much more prepared now.

Meanwhile, Hurricane Maria was developing off the coast of Africa. Puerto Rico sent almost all emergency supplies, National Guard troops and power company employees to assist the islands hit by the previous two storms, Irma and Jose. Puerto Rico was not ready for what was about to happen next. Everyone thought Maria would go north and spare PR. It always goes north. Don’t worry, lightning never strikes twice.

I will never believe that statement again.

So most of us were not prepared for what occurred next. On Saturday the Weather Channel broadcasted/predicted a possible direct hit from hurricane Maria. No one really took it seriously, including me. I went to the boat. I cleaned the bilges, deck and stainless. I even enjoyed a mojito with a fellow sailor. It was a beautiful weekend. On Monday, 9-18-17 the National Hurricane Center they announced that Hurricane Maria was developing into a major storm and could be a Cat 2 or 3 hurricane. We all thought, no way lighting never strikes twice. This storm Hurricane Maria ended up growing into a CAT 5 with winds greater than 200 mph and was going to hit PR. Everyone still couldn’t believe it. We all started running around trying to get supplies. But the supplies needed were sent off to other islands the week earlier. It was unreal.

Day 1:
On Tuesday 9-18-17 we moved the boat back out to anchor (using the same anchor trick), removed everything again, sealed all windows and made a small prayer. The last hurricane buzzed by but it was not a direct hit. This one will be direct hit. I knew the boat might be a total lose.
I just had a bad feeling about this one. Plus, this was the last day we had any form of communication with the outside world. It would be at least a week without cable, internet, cell service, phone service, power, water, fuel, ATM’s, credit cards and so much more. 

We then focused our efforts on the house. We put hurricane straps on the wooden roof addition. It’s a small one bedroom, one bath unit wood structure (stick built) on the roof of our cement home. We thought for sure it would be blown away in this storm. But we were going to try everything possible to save it. We then put all storm shutters on and tied everything else down. I know I am forgetting some of the other things we did. Let’s just say we were busier than I can ever remember being. The past two weeks were just a blur to begin with, then it was about to get real. Really, real! Everyone was in a frenzy, getting boards, hurricane straps, food, water, gas/fuel and even dog food. The hurricane was only supposed to last 10-12 hours. So as far as food, water and ice we didn’t need that much. Besides, this wasn’t our first rodeo. We were not worried and we were more prepared this time. I will admit staying up for over 48 hours preparing for this hurricane is not recommended. You really start to imagine doing things you didn’t do. It all was a blur anyway but the lack of sleep made it some much worse.
We sat down after dinner and started to watch the weather channel. We watched the path of Hurricane Maria change. I will admit I started to panic. Then the power went out. The power always goes out on this side of the island if the wind blows. This was not a problem as I had just replaced the fuel line and glow plug in our generator. I fired up the generator and went back inside to watch the weather channel. After about an hour later the generator started making a strange noises then turned off. I ran down stairs and found that the piston seized and the generator was rendered useless. Now I had no way of knowing where this storm was going. I went outside and started to think about my options. I knew I could make it through the hurricane but I wasn’t sure about the other four people I was responsible for. I started thinking that maybe a shelter would be a good idea? Then I received a call from my father in Maryland. He said, “Get out of your house now. That storm is on a direct path to you.”. Ok, I was already freaked out until that call. I was completely on the verge of a breakdown now. I know my role as a father and husband is to protect my family, but sometimes you just don’t have all the correct answers. I really pondered what to do. I then called my friend Jerry. He lives in Mayaguez near our first house. He told me the same thing. Get out of that house now.
Our house is on a mountain top on the west side of PR. We have an amazing view. But we don’t have anything around that blocks any wind. We literally are on top of the mountain. He invited us to go to his house in Mayaguez as it was going to be further south of the path of the hurricane. Everyone fought me about leaving the house as we have three dogs and a couple of cats. We ended up agreeing and locked up the animals in the house and drove to Mayaguez. Our group of five barely fit into the car with the few supplies we took. It was a fun drive as we laughed and joked about being crammed into a tin can with a cooler, pillows, a small bag of clothes and chips. Healthy food, huh? My lovely bride Jenn, my son Liam (17), my daughter Madison (20, and had just back from knee surgery five days before), her boyfriend Paul (20, visiting from Alaska) and myself we had no idea what we were getting ready to a part of.
We arrived there around 10:00 pm and Jerry and his wife had made some beds for us and we had a glass of wine or two? We talked and laughed until 1:16 am.
Day 2:
On Wednesday, 9-19-17 at 1:16 AM the power in Mayaguez went out. Funny how the power remained on in Mayaguez five hours longer than in Rincon. We all decided to head off to bed as the storm was already starting to hit. At least the outer bands started. We all laid in bed listening to the howling winds. I really don’t think any of us actually slept. The noises were not that of a normal storm. It sounded similar to screaming children. We looked outside and could only see pitch black with the occasional glimpse of a palm tree bending over. Then just like that branches were flying by, then tress and debris. What we didn’t know was this storm was supposed to last about 12 hours and that doesn’t sound like that long but this storm lasted twice that. We all were very comfortable Jerrys house. He had his parents, his daughter Solymar (17) and lovely bride Nilma. They were as prepared for this as we were, not very. But one thing about being in a disaster, it’s nice to have some else to talk to during tense times.  We woke the next day to high winds and debris everywhere. We actually were able to go outside in the carport and feel the intense pressure changes as the wind blew by. We all thought ok, this isn’t that bad. Just high winds and tree limbs. We cleaned the leaves out of the pool and picked up a few limbs and the suddenly the wind speed changed. It didn’t just change it became unfreaking real. It was impossible to stand up. Then trees started cracking in half, huge garbage cans blew by and satellite dishes bouncing down the street. It was time to get back inside. We all sat in the living room looking out the storm windows in awe. This was like nothing anyone of us had ever seen. We ate breakfast and watched movies and played games. We tried everything to keep us distracted from what was going on outside. We wondered what was going on with our house and the poor dogs. They had now been locked in the house for over 16 hours in extreme conditions. I can’t imagine what noises they were hearing. As the day went on we kind of got used to the noises, wind and rain. We thought this isn’t that bad. Then all the trees around the house started to snap in two. The huge mango tree across the street fell. Outside looked like an ad for the weather channel storm chasers. The water start coming into the house around every door and window. We were constantly trying to clean up the water. We used towels and mops for over 12 hours. And all of the sudden the storm slowed down and we noticed water coming out of the electrical outlets. We put up a ladder to check the roof rain gutters and found 12-18 inches of water on the roof. The water was so high it was coming down the electrical pole into the electrical conduits. We had to clean the gutters out to prevent further damage to the house so we climbed onto the roof and removed all the debris and drained the roof. This took us several hours. This is when realized we were in the eye of this hurricane. It was an eerie calm. We honestly though it was over. We even jumped in the pool to clean out palm leaves. It was bad outside but not too bad. We started cleaning the yard and putting things back.
And in a matter of minutes the wind changed directions and the air had a weird smell. It was actually kind of hot and very humid. We could see the sun again. It is really hard to explain. But it was clearly different to all of us. We all had thought the storm was going to exit PR on the NW side of the island. We all thought it was over. We were so wrong. When the storm changed for us it seemed to increase in intensity. The last 12 hours was nothing compared to what was coming next. Everything I described before was times ten times greater. I don’t ever want to experience that again. Full trees were flying by. Telephone poles snapped in half. Cars moved around almost floating as they slid down the streets. For the next eight hours we chased water out of the house. All the windows and doors had water squirting in. We even made a 2-hour schedule for each person to soak up water with towels and ring out the water during that next 12-hour part of the hurricane. It was a very long night.

Day 3:
On Thursday, 9-20-17 we all ventured outside to see the damage. It was still raining and the winds were still blowing. It was actually hot and the air had a strange smell. Later the guy at the marina said the same thing but added it smelled like death. I thought I was the only one that noticed that smell.
The neighbors actually had the same problem with the electrical outlets but were not able to go on to the roof during the storm. Their homes were completely flooded. One house ended up with six feet of water inside. We helped as many people as we could, cleaning gutters, removing debris, mopping up water, cutting power poles, cutting trees and removing power lines/phone lines/internet lines. We also ran electrical lines from a house with a working generator to several homes so they could run their refrigerator. It was a long day. We were able to drive the truck after clearing a path up the hill and see the ocean. The ocean was about 5 miles away and the waves were visible. My best guess is 35-40 foot waves. After several attempts to go further failed we went back to Jerrys house and I passed out at 6:00 pm. I would like to add our hosts (Jerry and family) we’re amazing. They accommodated five extra people in their home during one of the biggest storms to have ever hit Puerto Rico. We will be forever grateful to them.
Day 4:
Finally, Friday 9-22-17 we woke up with the intention to drive back home to Rincon. Jerry had left early to go to work. It always astonishes me how and why certain things happen.  Today was also our grandchildren’s first birthday. They moved to the states with their mother in three months earlier. We never knew it was going to be this difficult to reach out to loved ones. It would have been nice to just facetime or something. I know they are only one-year-old and won’t remember this first birthday but I will. We all are so glad they are not here to experience this. We then noticed that we had a flat tire on the car and we could not find the keys. Typical, huh? It seems every little task has started to turn into a huge ordeal. Liam and I gave up looking for the keys and decided to go for a walk. We figured someone picked up the keys and moved them or Jerry accidentally took them to work. We had no choice but to wait for Jerry to return. We assumed he would be at work all day so off we went to find a solution to getting home. Keep in mind the dogs and cats have been locked up in the house for five days during a hurricane. We left them with the intention of returning the next day. I can’t even imagine the horror they experienced; abandonment, sadness, hunger, thirst and so on. Plus, we all were ready to be back in our home. This storm left very little standing and we were anxious to see what was left of our world.
Liam and I walked about four miles over trees and downed power lines to get to a friend’s house. Our mistake was not telling anyone where we were going. We made it to their house and of course they were not home.
Who would be home after a hurricane? No one, right? We all have that curiosity to explore the debris field.
We walked about a mile further away and ended up getting a ride to another friend’s house. We had been gone for over two hours without telling anyone where we were. I can’t fathom the fear my bride was experiencing. I’ll bet if I bring this up I will get the silent treatment for another week. It turns out Jerry accidentally put the keys in his bedroom. If we would have stayed 15 more minutes we would have been able to drive home 2-3 hours earlier. It worked out as I was able to talk to some other friends them about the roads between Mayaguez and Rincon. I also had some fresh brewed coffee and a homemade egg sandwich. Don’t tell Liam or my bride but that was on damn good sandwich. Liam drove back with Jose to pick up Jenn. Since we did not have the car keys Jose volunteered to drive us back to Rincon. So off they went to retrieve my bride. I guess it was about an hour later when they arrived. To my surprise Jenn pulled up in her car. Paul had changed the tire. I was so glad. I hate changing tires. I will add she was mad as HELL. So after the butt chew of the century we set out on our way to Rincon. I have to say the drive home was super quiet. We all had no idea what to expect.
Was our house going to still be there? Are the dogs alive? Did the big dog eat the little dog? Cats? Cars? Neighbors? Friends? What are we going to see? 
The drive home took longer than expected. All the roads were down to one lane. Huge cement power poles all over the roads. Full sized trees lying everywhere. If you can imagine an atomic bomb being dropped and what it looks like afterwards.
As we drove towards Rincon we passed endless fields of debris, dead cows, dead horses, mud, cars on roofs of houses, rivers overflowing, homes scattered about, sections of roofs everywhere. It was/is apocalyptic. The sadness in the car on the way home was deafening. During that drive home I don’t think five words were spoken. I was thinking she must still be mad? But after 25 years of marriage I know when to ask that question. When we crested the hill driving into Rincon we could see out home perched on the cliff. It was still there. Jenn immediately burst into tears. It was an impossible drive to the hill top. All roads were blocked by landslides, debris or trees.  We tried three different routes and finally made it home. As we got closer the damage became more visible. Our hearts sunk as we pulled up in front of the house. The fence in front of the house was broken and knocked over. The paint on our house peeled off. The roof of the upstairs unit and gazebo torn off and left in pieces. We had parts of trees, parts of the neighbors’ house, parts of our house littered throughout the yard and decks. It was inconceivable. We let the dogs and cats out. To my surprise they all were happy to see us. The big dog didn’t eat the little dog or vice a versa. As we walked through the house trudging through 3-4 inches of water we realized how blessed we actually were.
The overall, damage was not that bad. We lost a roof, a ceiling fan, some furniture, a few windows/doors, Knick knacks, clothes, tile, some lawn furniture and various other items. We did have a lot of water damage throughout the house and everything upstairs was ruined. Overall, we were pretty darn lucky. We quickly placed the living room door back up with wood braces and covered the broken glass with wood. This is a temporary fix as we had no other options to get this fixed anytime soon. After that Jose decided he needed to get back home and handed me some cash. He said, “Trust me. You will need this. Pay me back later. “. Normally I would decline but something told me to accept it.  At that time, I did not know that money would be so hard to get.
We then fixed the fence so the dogs could go outside. We then focused on getting the water out of the house. Our first night back was surreal. We just couldn’t believe what we witnessed.  We haven’t addressed the roof yet or any other real repairs as of yet. I hope to find a store that is open so I can put a tarp over the hole.

It turns out, things after a hurricane are far worse than during.

The aftermath

As it is only day five and we have still have no water, power, internet or phone service. The rest of the world as far as we know it thinks we are all dead. I haven’t spoken to anyone from work in five days. All communication is completely down. We cannot get any reliable info from anyone. All TV stations, AM stations and FM stations are off air, even when I hail the Coast Guard on the VHF radio I receive no response. It truly is radio silence. I can’t remember feeling so helpless. We went to the store and picked up some extra cleaning supplies and some groceries. We also saw several friends. 

Day 5:
Saturday, 9-23-17 the days continue to go by we struggle daily for water, food and gas. Each has its importance as one effects the other. We cannot get food and water without fuel. If you want fuel you need to wait in line for six hours for $20 worth of gas. Try to sit in a hot car for six hours without water. All water and food supplies are exhausted no stores have anything left on the shelves. We traded ten gallons of diesel fuel from our broken generator for a pizza and three gallons of regular gas. Sounds like a bad deal, right but we helped a friend and I know that will come back tenfold. We honestly are doing the best we can. Spirits are up and my bride is being more positive than can be expected. She is doing her best to keep us all from losing it. I will admit we all have our minor breakdowns daily.
We did not take cash out of an ATM before the storm so we had virtually zero purchasing power. All ATM’s are out of money. Credit cards do not work and no one will take an “I owe you.”.
What do you do when you have nothing else to do? Yep, you go to work. I was able to get into the Post Office and open the doors. I also opened the front doors so people could come in and check mail from before the hurricane. It quickly ended up being a meet and greet location. I did not have power, telephone, internet or coworkers. I had not heard from any of them. I was hoping by opening the office I would at least see a few of them. It turns out that most of them live too far away and the roads are still not clear. I did get to see two of them and they stated they had not heard from the others. I hope they all are ok? Just a phone call away, right? Too bad we have no phones. I kept the doors open as long as I could. But honestly it was a waste of time. I did not receive any mail from San Juan and I could not send anything out. And everyone that walked in was looking for the same information we were. I just didn’t have any good info. We closed up and went to the grocery store. We were able to get a few dollars out of the ATM which has helped tremendously. We then found out the The Cofressi Hotel had a phone that worked. How is that possible we thought? We drove over there and called my father. We described our situation to him better than it actually was so he and he and the rest of the family would not worry too much. I know he could tell I wasn’t telling him everything. But I think he too did not need to hear the truth yet. He told us he would call everyone and let them know we were alive and kicking. It was a huge relief for all us. After the phone call the owner of the hotel gave me a bag of ice and an ice cold glass of water. A bag of ice right now is probably worth more than anything other than gas. I am sure you have had an ice cold glass of water on a hot day and how good that feels. This was ten times better. I never thought I would water more than a mojito. I am so glad we used the phone when we did as the that same line went dead the next day.

Not to rehash but, I have my unbelievably positive bride, Madison (20) my daughter who just had knee surgery, Liam (17) my teenage son and Madison’s boyfriend Paul (20) to care for and feed. Even the simplest things like flushing a toilet have become more involved now. We only let the girls use the inside toilet for one and two. The boys only get to use it for number two. We are trying to conserve water as much as possible. Potable water is no longer available. For drinking we now have to buy juice, soda pop and beer but that won’t last very long either. We are using rain water that we collected from the rain gutters. We will soon be boiling that and running it through a coffee filter. It’s kind of like camping on steroids or during an apocalypse. I still have not heard from the Postal Service. I have been checking on the office daily. It turns out the diesel generator fuel was emptied out sometime after the storm and the battery for that generator is no dead.
Now, for the boat. “Address Unknown” our Beneteau Oceanis 361 which is/was at anchor in Cabo Rojo. Before Hurricane Irma we moved her to anchor. We tried a strange anchoring technique and it worked for the first storm so we tried it again. All the other boats heard about what we did tried the same thing. We ended up with ninety boats at anchor in our little bay. Think about this, ninety boats at anchor bobbing up and down during the biggest storm to hit PR in recorded history with winds over 200 mph.  I knew our boat was a total lose so I delayed going to the boat as much as possible. We were told the waves were breaking over the gate at the marina. I am guessing that is around 15-20 feet in the bay.
Day 6:
On Sunday, 9-24-17 It was a hot day with little to no wind. So we filled up some water jugs from a hose in town that still flowed water. Yes, for some reason that hose worked. But not for long it too dead the next day. At some point during the day we were invited to go to dinner that night at a friend’s house. It was nice to enjoy a glass of wine and some since of normalcy.  We talked and laughed and relaxed for a bit. It was nice. Then two guests (Kylar and Christian) stopped by from St. Martin. They had lost their boat in Hurricane Irma the week earlier and somehow meandered across PR to Cabo Rojo to work on a boat. They were offered a place to stay after the hurricane provided they work and repair a sailboat in the harbor. While talking with them we all focused on St. Martin and the incredible situation they were in. They said they locked themselves in a bathroom for 14 hours as Hurricane Irma passed them by. The storm removed anything that was over three feet high. They said even the brick and cement buildings were leveled. It was the most horrifying experience of their lives. They then spoke about the boats in Cabo Rojo during and after Hurricane Maria. I felt anxious and wanted to leave. I really didn’t want to hear about our boat or any boat for that matter. I knew this storm destroyed everything in Cabo Rojo. They continued talking about how bad it was and then said only three boats survived. Think about this, ninety boats at anchor and only three left standing after. They said it again and again, that only three boats survived the second Hurricane in Cabo Rojo! I knew my boat was now gone for sure. What are the odds? That relaxed feeling I had from the wine and the hearty dinner was gone! They continued to talk about all the boats at anchor and that one boat broke free and crashed into all the other boats at anchor. That one boat caused the destruction of almost 25 boats by its self. Several boats were washed onto shore, into trees, flipped over and some are just plain missing. By the way, these are not little tiny sailboats. These are live aboard yachts. As the conversation continued I just couldn’t take it any longer and asked the big question. Did you notice our boat “Address Unknown?”

After a long pause Christian said, yes. Is that the boat with the boom tied down to the deck? The real pretty white Beneteau? My heart sunk. I just knew she was gone. What was he waiting for? Go ahead, let me have it. Shoot me in the heart.

After a long pause he finally He said that the three boats that survived the hurricane were a 60-foot trimaran from Norway, a 42-foot Catalina and a 36-foot Beneteau. Those were the only three! He continued to describe the storm stating the waves were over 37 feet high with winds over 200 mph. I know sailors like to exaggerate but I honestly think he was right. When the first boat broke free from anchor that boat took all the other boats with her into the mangroves. The waves must have been epic. I wish I still surfed. Ok, maybe not this time.

Somehow “Address Unknown” remained on anchor in front of the marina untouched. I honestly didn’t believe them. He said no one else could believe it either. I thought how could they remember our boat from ninety others. He must be confused. I went home that night with a since of optimism and skepticism. How could this be? They just had to be wrong.
Day 7:
Monday, September 25, 2017 on this day 21 years earlier my second child Madison was born. It was her birthday. I thought it is going to be a good day. No matter what, I am going to make it the best day I can. Besides we all need something to celebrate. This had been the most difficult two weeks of my life.
Can you imagine trying to celebrate someone’s birthday in the aftermath of a hurricane? Jenn and I discussed what to do. She would try and get gas for the car. So we could possibly go to dinner someplace. But nothing is open. Remember no power, no water, no internet no ATM and so on. At some point you would think I would remember that. Jenn ended up waiting in line for gas for six hours in 100-degree heat. I made my traditional breakfast for Madison.
Making breakfast is kind of a tradition for me and the kids. I made her breakfast tacos (Eggs, bacon and fresh salsa on a tortilla). We were still trying to come up with a way to make the day special but it really was impossible. Madison stayed on the couch that morning icing her knee and enjoying the small electric fan. The knee surgery (11 days earlier) went well but she is still in a lot of pain. I will admit she has been a real trooper through this entire ordeal. Plus, she hasn’t been able to work (earn money) for seven days due to the lack of internet. She makes all her livelihood by working on line. I knew she needed to take her mind off reality too.
Liam asked if he could go to the boat. So, I then sent Liam to retrieve the sailboat with Kylar and Christian from the other night. I didn’t want to go as I knew they were wrong about the boat. I also needed to pick up the birthday cake.
I went to work again thinking that somehow I would have information from San Juan and/or DC Postal headquarters but nothing. I also could no longer get into the facility as the electronic locks at were locked out. I guess when the batteries for the alarm run out it secures and locks out the entire building. Preventing anyone from entering and/or exiting. Not a very good system as we don’t have power to release the doors or phone service to call for help if you are locked inside.

On my way home I heard that the ATM in Econo was working. I ran inside and no one was in line at the ATM. I knew it wasn’t working but I tried it anyway. Sure enough I was able to get some cash out before it went off line. My day was getting better. I bought a cake and headed home. On the way, another friend flagged me down and offered me two lobsters and a grouper. Wow, the day just keeps getting better. Shortly after that Liam arrived home. I was terrified to hear about his day. I just couldn’t take it. I do remember telling him not to come home with bad news. I probably should not have said that. He started to tell me about our boat but the neighbor came by asking for some help with fuel. He knew that we were going to wait in line tomorrow for fuel and asked if we could take two small tanks with us. Finally, Liam said, our boat was in fact one of the last three boats floating. Address Unknown survived another CAT 5 Hurricane on anchor. This is unheard of. Nothing should have survived this. I thought that anchor trick really works. Gosh, Don and Bridgette really knew how to get a boat through a hurricane. It turns out the anchor trick didn’t really work this time. As our boat drug anchor during the first blast of the hurricane the second anchor clipped a mooring ball anchor. That mooring ball anchor was a caterpillar tractor engine. It was put there several years ago and probably could hold a battleship.
It was time to celebrate. I cooked the lobster on the grill with the grouper. It was an amazing meal. We then had cake and fell fast asleep.
Day 8:
Tuesday, 9-26-17 the saga continues. No phone service, no internet, no cable, no power, no water, no fuel and no contact with the outside world. I still had no idea what to do with the post office. Our main goal for the day was to get fuel. It’s funny how something so easy and change overnight. 
Liam convinced us to drive to the marina as the marina was supposed to supply fuel to its marina slip holders. We thought this is perfect. Let’s head out. Meanwhile, Paul got a job working at a mansion on the ocean helping clean up after the hurricane. I think he enjoyed getting away from all of us. While at the marina we took a small boat tour of all the other damaged boats. We saw a 48-foot Jeanneau completely destroyed in the mangroves. We had just met the owners the week before. They bought the boat a few months earlier and actually hadn’t really sailed anywhere yet. They paid over $180,000 and did not have insurance. We met another owner that sailed his Ameal 54 south 300 miles to get out of the path of this hurricane.
The owner of the marina told me he might close. He lost 70% of his boats during this storm. The marina has room for about 75 boats with a normal vacancy rate of 10-15%.
We tried to get gas at the marina but the gas pump didn’t work so we headed home after a cold shower at the marina. On the way home we found out that Claro cellphone service was up and running. I couldn’t believe it. More good news. It turns out that once the cell tower received fuel for its generator. Then thieves broke into that tower and stole the diesel fuel out of that generator. Now Claro cell service is out as quick as it came on line. We are now hearing about car jacking’s, robberies, break ins. We have also heard that people have been caught drilling holes in automobiles fuel tanks and draining the fuel out. This is crazy.

I forgot to mention that “Ley Seca” is also in affect. This is a law that eliminates the sale of alcohol during a time of stress. No one can get Beer, wine or mojitos. Not sure the timing for that law is good right now.
Day 9:
Finally, its Wednesday, 9-27-17 and everything is back to normal. Just kidding it got worse. All banks are closed and ATM’s have been turned off completely due to theft. Marshall Law is in effect after 7:00 pm every night. Marshall Law is no longer enforced by the local police. The National Guard took it over and will be enforcing that now. I believe the fine for being out past 7:00 pm is $200 and a nice trip to jail. All diesel fuel has been commandeered by the feds and cannot be sold to the public.
On a positive note, I didn’t have to work again today and I found a fresh water well only a few houses away. Yeah, we have water now. We just have to carry it back and forth. We also cleared out the room upstairs. The water damage was so worse than we thought. We had to throw out so much stuff. It is so sad to see memories, photographs and keep sacks ruined. Around 6:30 am I went to the post office again. No news and all gates are still secured but   today something from the Postal Service was placed on my gate at the Rincon Post Office. It said all Postal Employees must call a 1-800 # daily if they cannot report to work due to circumstances related to the hurricane. Really, did someone forget the phones don’t work? (No cellphones, no land lines, WTF!) Jezzzzzzzzzz, I can come up with a few more words that better describe that note on the gate but I won’t. That was so disappointing to see that. That was the only message we received since before the hurricane.
Paul’s second day at work went well except today the estate had armed guards surrounding/protecting the property. I wonder if that is really is necessary? The house he is working at was featured in a Amazon TV series called, “Mad Dogs”. 
I also heard that it is time to stay awake at night and secure and protect your property and vehicles. It was reported that people are drilling holes in gas tanks and draining all the fuel out of parked cars. We actually saw someone doing this to a car at a repair shop. It could have been his car but I doubt it. All fuel sales and alcohol sales have been halted for the next two weeks. I think it is just a matter of time before the population revolts. I write todays info sitting on my roof protecting the house and cars from possible intruders. I’m probably a little paranoid but since Marshall Law went into effect it has been a very different Puerto Rico.  I stayed awake until 3:00 am when the last walkers past the house with flashlights.
It might be a good time to be paranoid.
Day 10: 
We all woke around 5:00 AM. And made breakfast and headed off to find gas and water. On the way we dropped off Paul at the mansion. I don’t think he likes getting up so early but I think he likes working? We also drove past the post office and saw no new movement. All communication is still down.
We headed down to the marina as there was a rumor we could fill up the car and some gas cans there. On the way down there we saw multiple cars parked along the highway.

Ok, it’s more like miles of cars lined up waiting for gas stations to open.

It turns out everyone is running out of gas waiting in line. Some people wait for 10 hours just to get $20 worth of fuel or when they get to the pump it runs out of fuel. We arrived at the marina at 8:00 am and filed up five (5) gallon cans and the car. The owner of the marina said for us not to tell anyone as the marina sells fuel at a different rate than gas stations and he could get into a lot of trouble. He also said he is only doing this for marina slip holders. Before we knew it he was sold out.
One item is now checked off our list. We ended up using almost all out the remaining cash for gas. We hope that the ATM’s would be working soon. Rumor is next Monday? 
It’s the little things that matter, right? We were so happy to have fuel and be able to accomplish at least one thing today. We stayed for a bit and worked on the boat. The marina looks like a ghost town. We are one of ten boats in the entire marina. The lock boxes at each dock and the shore power boxes are gone. The storm cleaned the dock completely off. When you look around the harbor the mangroves are still full of boats; upside down, on top of trees, on top of other boats. It is a mess. The looters have already started stripping boats. In some cases when they couldn’t get in so they used chain saws to get in and take the motors out. They cut the deck off our friends Jenneau. That boat could have been saved, but not now. If the owners had access to cash, they could have paid some of the fisherman to help move the boats out of the mangroves but all banks and ATM’s are closed. This just made it appear that all the boats were abandoned. 
It is very sad.
Our boat is safe in the marina with the security of armed guards. It would have been a good place to stay if the marina had power, water or any other services. Everything is gone.
So off we went again, trying to be as positive as possible. 
Liam’s school passed the word around that they needed help at the school to clean up the debris and cut tree limbs. We dropped him off and headed out to find a tarp to cover the holes in the roof. Normally, that would be an easy task but all the stores are closed, all the banks are closed and all the bars are closed. I understand two of those would not have tarps but it is nice to have options. Plus, a mojito would be nice since we have gone through so much.
We found a tarp at a local corner store called a Ferreteria. I probably spelled that wrong. They have virtually everything you need behind the counters. You don’t get to walk around. You just have to ask (En Espanol). I think tarps are normally pretty cheap but they charged $25 each for a $5.00 tarp. I guess it’s the supply and demand thing again.
We then went home and installed the gold plated tarp. I am a little afraid of heights so I really didn’t enjoy that.
After that it rained and I mean rained. I quickly took all my clothes off and stood under a rain gutter with a bar of soap. It was an amazing shower. I stood under that rain gutter for at least an hour. Before long Madison came out in her undies and found her own rain gutter. We looked so silly. The neighbors started to cheer as they had never seen us act like that. We felt so relieved and relaxed. It was a great mid-day break. After that we filled up a 20 milk jugs with rain water. We use the rain water/gray water to flush toilets. I then decided to reroute the cistern/extra water supply. Apparently, the water softener needs power to allow water to follow down from the roof. We don’t have power now or for the near future. I cut the water lines and bypassed the water softener. We only have about 200 gallons of water on the roof so we need to be extra careful with that. After that I drove to a natural spring and collected 10 gallons of fresh drinking water. I finally sat down and realized I better check the refrigerator.  Last night it just didn’t seem cold. So I defrosted the fridge and cleaned it out. I then plugged it back in and turned on the generator. I was told if you don’t open the fridge it is fine to only plug it in for three hours a day. So as the captain of this roofless ship I instructed everyone to leave the fridge alone. We have had some problems with this fridge before. We all went to bed around 9:00 PM. Liam and I, are standing guard overlooking the cars from the roof. We both made small beds on separate sides of the roof. We heard that several of our friends have already started doing the same thing. They use the car alarms when someone gets close to the house at night. We have both big dogs sleeping next to the cars in the front fenced in area and us right above them on the roof. 
Overall, it was another great day in paradise and we accomplished a few things too, except for my mojito.
“Ley Seca” is still being enforced. Which basically means no MOJITOS! DAMN IT! 
Day 11: 
Finally fell asleep on the roof overlooking the cars around 2:00 AM. We had moved the Audi and the Solara inside the fence last night as they were the only cars that had gas left in them. We also put the dogs in the front yard all night. Liam’s Infiniti was outside the gate. All night long we had strangers walking up and down the street in front of the house. They had flashlights and were shining them all over the place. It was very frustrating. I didn’t know who they were or where they were from. They were probably bored teenagers but I couldn’t take any chances. I will admit fatigue is starting to set in. I am exhausted and frustrated. At 6:00 AM Liam headed to Mayaguez to get his car filled with fuel. We have a friend that has a friend that owns a gas station. I hope that works out. He is supposed to help clean the school again today and on Monday the school is supposed to be opened again. The school told us yesterday that they have over 3000 gallons of water but no power. They can have school without power so they are going to start next week regardless. The only issue with that is getting fuel to go back and forth daily. And the lack of access to cash to get fuel. I hope things start working soon. We have not seen the National Guard yet. Which concerns me as it was announced that the local police will not patrol the streets at night due to Marshall Law. I think it is time to get a gun. Right now I only have a spear gun which is useless for anything larger than a lobster or small fish. I don’t think they will try to break in and steel fish, do you?
Anyway, todays plan is too wash clothes, check out the post office find access to cash and get some food. We finished the last of the freezer/refrigerator food yesterday. The fridge is broken now so I guess we will be doing canned food if we can if we can find some. On our journey we found a friend with a Sat Phone. He offered to let me use it. I called my dad again to let him know how bad things were getting. We talked for several minutes until we got cut off.
As today progressed we did not find cash, or get the clothes washed. We did however go to Aguadilla. I was told by a random truck driver to report to the Aguada Post Office. We drove over there to find that facility under two-three feet of mud. They claim it is sewage not mud but either way it is pretty gross. No one was working there so we drove up to the Aguadilla Post Office. The closer we got it was clear that the troops were coming. We saw Red Cross trucks, National Guard trucks and FEMA trucks. It was a relief to see movement and immobilization of emergency support. They have not made it to Rincon yet but I am confident they will be in the Rincon area by Monday. The Rincon Post Office should be partially operational on Monday. We will not have power but we will be open to hand out parcels. At least that is the plan. Anyway, as we were driving back to Rincon we saw so much more devastation in the Aguadilla than Rincon. It was far worse up there. The entire ocean front park was gone. The ocean front 15 story police station building was missing almost all the windows. The Ice Skating Rink was destroyed. Yes, we have the only ice skating rink in the Caribbean. It was kind of cool. All the streets in and out of the beach front area were unpassable. Photos can never actually describe the scene.
We returned home around 5:00 PM and made dinner. It was one of the fanciest dinners we have made so far. Rice, green olives, onions and hotdogs all mixed together. It doesn’t sound that good but with a little soy sauce it was great. Paul and Liam came home shortly after and finished off all the remaining rice mixture and we all headed off to bed around 8:00 PM. Before going to bed I asked if anyone else had been having nightmares lately. I mean nightmares you remember when you wake up or that wake you up. They all have been experiencing the same thing. I won’t share what my dreams are about but I will say it scared me enough to wake me up. I hope tonight is better. I mean no nightmares or midnight walkers. I am still perched above the cars on the roof with the dogs below. I hope I can fall fast asleep and have happy dreams.
Day 12:
September 30th, 2017, 2:30 AM it was a quiet night no street walkers, it was kind of strange. I can the see the glow of lights over Mayaguez and Aguadilla again. It appears both towns are starting to get power again. It is still possible to see the milky way and all the stars. They are so bright it lights our upper deck. All night long the wind has been blowing at 15 mph allowing all the lose roof tiles to smack around. It was actually a cold night in the 70’s. The dogs continue to bark at nothing driving my paranoia. The smells are becoming more and more intense. The garbage cans all over are overflowing with rotting food. The dead animals are starting to smell. We noticed that the insects are in greater abundance. I think this is due to the lack of birds. The skies are empty of birds. Every morning I used to have a wood pecker that would land on the hand rail and stare at himself in the reflection of the glass window. He was kind of vain. We haven’t seen him since the hurricane. The hurricane either scared all the birds away or the worse killed the birds.
I hope we start to start to see some progress today. It’s been a long two weeks.

Found Wifi YEAH!!!!!

Wow, what a great but sad story.

Thank you, for sharing your experiences!

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