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Indiana, United States
Debt free empty nesters...ready to stretch our wings. Life is good and we plan on making it even better. This blog is mostly about our trips to Vieques Puerto Rico, with a few odds and ends thrown in about our life after the mortgage.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Worst road on the island...

We found today, against the good advice of our new friend Peter, what might be the worst road in Vieques. More on that later.

Today began earlier, thanks to me waking up sleeping beauty. She seemed a bit grouchy in the kitchen. When I ask if she slept alright she replied "just fine..but why can't you give your wife a kiss and say softly, wake up dear?" I didn't have an answer. If I told her the thought never occured to me I know it would get me into trouble. I did ask what I said...because I honestly couldn't remember. She told me I said "If you don't get up your gonna miss the best fork'n part of the day." So...after I patched things up we headed. We packed for a full day today because the weather looked promising.

First stop was Playa Chivos (Blue Beach). Water was turbid and there was lots of debirs along the beach. My shelter that I had built earlier in the week had also bit the dust. If this was how the beaches were gonna look today there would be no snorkeling.

Given how nice Playa Caracas was last night we headed to it next and to our delight it was just how we left it the night before, only with a little less rough surf. We were the first ones there too. So we set up camp and waited for the weather to clear. There were a few lingers storm clouds but they looked to be moving east. While we were just sitting there enjoying the vista some horses came on the beach and one of them kept drinking the sea water. I managed to film it:

If you can't see the video click here


After I filmed the horses I went and got Lorrie and she walked down to see them:

If you can't see the video click here


Then the both of us walked down to the western side of caracas were the waves were the biggest:
If you can't see the video click here



After that we decided to get into the water because the waves were still really nice. It was a lot of fun trying to body surf. A few other people began to show up too.

 It was about this time that I noticed the water clarity and that I thought it might be possible to do some snorkeling. A nice lady, with and ausie accent, told me that there was some decent snorkeling on the eastern side of caracas where a rocky point sticks out. With plan in hand I suited up and head out to see for myself. Although the surf was still pretty rough I manged to see a few fish and some coral formations. During my time snorkeling the skies had cleared and the sun was out in full force. I head back to the beach to grab my video cam. Lorrie grabbed her snorkel gear and we headed out. (and I think it is worth mentioning that she had no problems getting her mask on today, I was genuinley impressed ).

Now before I post these underwater videos I must warn you that it was still very wavy. And...when your snorkeling your just kinda floating along with the wave action. So...if the videos make you a little dizzy or queasy..you've been warned. I'll also say that I was impressed with the quality of my little $150 Kodak Play-sport.

If you can't see the video click here



If you can't see the video click here


If you can't see the video click here




We were at Caracas for about 6hrs. It was a great time and the weather was just perfect. But...our stomachs were telling us  it was time to head into Esperanza to grab a bite to eat. So off to Esperanza we went,  Bananas was the destination.  Now when we were walking into Bananas a gentelmen looked at me and said "I recognize you". At first I was perplexed because I didn't recognize him and just replied "well...that could be good or bad". It was then that he said that he recognized us from this blog. It was Peter who posted our one and only comment on our blog. It was nice to meet him and we sat and chatted for a while. 

Now...this brings me to the title of this entry. When we mentioned to Peter that we might be going to Puenta Arenas (Green beach), after we left Bananas,  he warned us that it was a long drive and could also be buggy. Well against his advice we headed out west of Esperanza on what I believe was 201, our destination, Puenta Arenas. Now, rather than driving north on 995 and hooking up with 200 to get to Puenta Arenas, I (yes...it was all my doing) took the road north from the turn to Playa Grande. We don't have any video of this drive, I wish we did. I have the road circled in pink on the map below:


Be warned if you take this road it is not very much wider than a sidewalk and large sections of it are gone. Once your into it for more and 1/2 mile or so your committed, because there's no place to turn around. As a matter of fact, there's not enough room to pass another vehicle on it. The vegetation at places has the road narrowed down to what looks like 4 foot or so.  And it's UP over a mountain and DOWN and up over the next mountain and DOWN. It was on one of the DOWNs, not sure which one, that our Jeep died. I mean just quit, electronic coma. I just about sheit. Lorrie looked and me and said "what just happend?" The jeep just died, I said.  I was so rattled that I forgot to put the thing in park and was trying to turn the ignition key, which wouldn't turn. I couldn't even get the damn key out of the ignition. All the while I'm thinking...."I'll have to call Maritzas emergency number...that is IF the phones work in this jungle". Finally I saw I had the damn Jeep in D and not P. I put it in P and it started. Thank gawd!  That road is a bitch...I'm telling ya now.  It took us forever to make it to 200. Always ones to finish what we start, we turned west on 200 and continued to Puenta Arenas, rather than turning right and heading back to Isabel.

   The coconut palms along the road near Puenta Arenas are really something. I had read about how they used to grow along Playa Chivos and how the military cut them down for war games or somthing. Anyway..they were impressive to see. We did take some video of the drive on 200 into Puenta Arenas. We ended meeting a guy walking along the road (again I use that term loosely here). He had managed to get his Jeep buried in one of the  many mud holes in the road. He told me he had called his rental agent 40mins ago and they were on there way. It was at that point that I developed a mental bond with this guy because a mere 30 mins ago I was feeling the same way, only I didn't have to end up making the phone call. We saw his Jeep...and yes...it was burried. Wasn't too many more minutes before their rental car person showed up and they pulled the Jeep out. Here's the video of the drive into Puenta Arenas and our conversation with the guy that got stuck:

If you can't see the video click here



Lorrie and I found a really nice spot on Puenta Arenas. We also found quite a lot of sea glass along the beach. The sand there is totally different than on the Chiovos beaches or Caracas beach, much coarser and not nearly as white. Here's some video of the spot we found:

If you can't see the video click here


 You can see the big island easily from that beach and we watched a storm worked it's way over Puerto Rico. I saw lots of reef not far off the beach to snorkel, but the sun was not cooperating. We waited till nearly dark for maybe some sunset shots...but no luck.

Tomorrow is our last full day on the island. We've not decided where we want to go yet.

Hasta Luego.

4 comments:

  1. First.... it was a pleasure to meet you two! I'm going to miss your blog when you leave.

    I would have warned you against that route for sure. The sad part is, when we first visited the island in February 2007, that road was a gem. It was pretty well-paved, clear of encroaching vegetation, and relatively unused since being the perimeter road of the former Navy-occupied area. I remember it as a rollercoaster over the two ridges. It was an unforgettable ride. Unfortunately its current state will probably deteriorate further. The municipality has no funds to repair it as the Navy would have. There is another route -- 995 -- that cuts across the island. It's still maintained and quite spectacular too.

    How did your rental car fair?? ;-)

    Peter

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  2. I know this is an older post so I hope you get this message. We found the next-worse road on the island except I don't think it is supposed to be a road. We were exploring after leaving Punta Arenas and turned up the road that is the most western part of the loop that goes up by the bunkers - the eastern-most part of the loop goes to the radar station and is a good road. The bunker-side road is pretty good, but the vegetation is starting to encroach in places. Anyway, we went up past the bunkers which were really interesting and when we got to a "T" intersection, we turned right and eventually near the radar station. Where the road ends and you can turn left to go down a little ways to the radar station, there is a road (more of a pig-trail) off to the right. It would have been okay on a motorcycle or a horse, but I was not happy taking the Jeep down there. We all felt like it would have ended up near Black Beach over on that side of the island, but I wouldn't let the boys continue their adventure since we were scratching up the Jeep something awful. All I could think was "we are in the middle of nowhere and no one knows where we are, no phone signal and men with machetes are going to step out in the road any minute" (got Vieques confused with some guerilla-ladened island there for a minute), so the girls won and we got turned around somehow and got out of there. We never did find the ruins unless that little spot with a small sign between this awful road and the road to the radar station was it. Check it out if you haven't - it's an interesting ride around the loop and down the pig-trail. Have a great time on your visit there.

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    Replies
    1. Paula,

      I think we've been on that road. I just read your comment to Lorrie and we both laughed. We both still laugh about that trip of ours that day. Part of the mystique of Vieques is that your sorta "on the edge" at times.

      Curt

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  3. In 2009 that north/south road was clear of vegetation and fairly smooth. In 2010 the vegetation was closing in. Last year it was so bad at one point we could not get through and had to turn around. If we had been in anything but a Jeep I would have had to back up for about 5 miles. You ever hear of a three point turn? Mine was more like a 13 point turn.

    Pardoe

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