Tuesday, December 5, 2017
The light at the end of the tunnel. We have passed the hump so to speak. We are now without power for over 80+ days. Actually, longer than that if you count back to Hurricane Irma. When Hurricane Irma hit us it knocked out power for 6 days. The power came back on for three days then well you know the rest. Some of our friends call this adventure glamour camping. It is fun at times and maddening at other times. We play a lot more card games. We go to bed a little earlier than before. We watch a lot of shooting stars. So this is kind of funny. We decided to invite several friends over to share Thanksgiving dinner with. We needed a generator so we borrowed one from a friend. Shortly after connecting the generator to the house I remember walking into the kitchen and saying, “WOW, that oven light is super bright!” Jenn then looked over to the oven and said the same thing. The best way to describe it is when the sun’s rays shine through the clouds. It seems like God is getting ready to say something to you. Then there is music is in the back of your head. Tah duh….Something like that. You know the feeling. At this point I knew something was severely wrong. Then we saw smoke coming from behind the stove and dishwasher. Ok, maybe it was a small fire. Somehow the generator was producing too many Volts or Amps (whatever) and it ended up blowing up the stove, microwave, dishwasher and all the electrical outlets in the kitchen. We quickly turned off that generator and cooked the turkey on the BBQ grill. Jenn (my lovely bride) held it together better than I expected. We opened a bottle of wine and made a toast to the dead stove, microwave and dishwasher. Nothing was going to ruin her day. BTW: I thought the turkey was one of the best I have ever had. It was a little challenging cooking everything outside but overall it was a success. So I guess we can add the kitchen items to the long list of items damaged by Maria, kind of. And now for some good news, the water returned last week. Yes, we can take a shower in the actual shower. Sadly, no more rain gutter showers for us. I will admit I kind of liked scaring off the last few remaining neighbors as I ran under the rain gutters in my underwear. Plus added massage feature was amazing. I remember standing outside alone enjoying my rain gutter shower during a thunderstorm. I looked to my left and Madison was taking a rain gutter shower too. Like father, like daughter. It is the little moments we treasure, right? I don’t know how true this is as we really don’t have access to any real news. I have heard that we lost over 450,000 residents so far to the states. It is predicted to be around 750,000 after all the dust settles. That will make a huge impact on the remaining residents. As for now we are seeing multiple stores, restaurants and bars (yes, the bars too) closing down for good. Most people say only the strong stayed. But honestly, if I knew the power, water, internet, cable was going to take this long to return I would have flown the coop too. The people that left were pretty smart. So let me go back to the title, “The light at the end of the tunnel”.” Unfortunately, this is a very long tunnel and the light is really dim at the end. But we can see things happening. We have water in our house. We can see lights in the far off distance and the mojitos have ice again. So, it’s not all that bad.
Tuesday, November 14, 2017
Saturday, October 7, 2017
Day 17: October 5, 2017 Today was a great day. I had a visit from two DEA agents. They legitimately were checking on how we were doing. I cannot tell you how much that meant to me. I have never been more impressed with a government agency than I am with them. THE DEA ROCKS!!! I wish the postal service cared that much. The Postal Inspectors really are not doing much other than driving around in an air conditioned car. Such a waste! The Postal service sent several agents to Puerto Rico from all over the states to drive around Puerto Rico and check on the offices. Nice thought, but give them the tools they need to really do something. Plus, they really don’t understand security at individual offices. I have asked them repeatedly to check on my missing employee and they seem to forget as they walk out the door after every visit. I know they are out of there element, but come on! A missing employee should be job one! I wish I had time to drive to Isabela to find my missing employee in an air conditioned rental car. Anyway, My lovely bride finally cracked and asked for a hotel for a few nights. I agreed as it would be nice to take a real shower and watch the news. It is nice to step out of reality as right now it is completely, FU#%ed! I saw on the news President Trump was in town and throwing out toilet paper to a crowd in San Juan. I thought, Ok, that’s funny. But in reality he was tossing out paper towels. Not sure why that made news. Maybe the news wanted him to throw out $100 bills. I am sure if he threw out $100 bills that would not have been enough and the news would have spun it another way. I really don’t understand the CNN News entertainment sensationalism. I understand it makes people watch news but do people really believe anything they see on the news anymore? I know, I don’t! So back to the hotel. Yes, we left the house and we are at a hotel. We have spotty WIFI at best. The room at the Holiday Inn is very nice. The employees are great and the hotel is full of Homeland Security, FEMA, and National Guard members. We spoke to a few of them and they have all said this is a F’d up situation. And they also said Katrina was under control within five days. This situation out of control and its over 16 days. They also cannot believe what is going on here. Day 18: Friday October 6th, 2017 Interesting day. I keep hearing from our family and friends when we get Wi-Fi that things are getting better and the troops are on their way. But this is not entirely true. They are here. But the lack of communication has grounded all operations. A plane full of supplies from the Dallas Mavericks arrived yesterday. Somehow, a basketball team was able to get some supplies in and distributed but the US government could not? Anyway, we met with some troops that are waiting for some direction and mission info from FEMA. We drove them around because they do not have vehicles yet. We showed them the most damaged areas of western PR. They also are blown away by how bad it is and can’t believe nothing is happening yet. They have nothing to do but protect a small airport for now. They explained that FEMA only sent one employee to the west side. How can one person without communication actually do anything? This guy doesn’t even have a SAT phone. The troops are as disgusted as the rest of us but did assure me all this will change soon. The day at the post office was crazy. We are still about 10 days behind. At least that is our guess based on the dates on the mail. Everyone wants and needs the items that are coming in the mail but we just can’t control what they send us. We are processing all mail daily to make sure everyone can get their mail. The volume of mail is unbelievable. The Aguada Post Office employees just don’t have the resources they need to process their mail. That mail is backing up and we they just can’t keep up with it. All employees are starting to breakdown. I know it’s hard to imagine working 10-12 hours then start a quest for water, food, gas and/or cash. The lines for necessary items are getting shorter but you do have to have time to wait. Most lines are now less than 2-3 hours. The frustration is beyond comprehension. We all just can’t continue to do this. My bride and I broke down and went to a hotel. It was nice to sleep in a bed with air conditioning. I took a much needed long shower and used a flushing toilet. The hotel doesn’t have everything working either. The satellite television in the room has about ten channels. Most channels are blacked out. The ATM in the hotel casino is out of cash and they have no bottled water. The phones in the rooms do not work. The restaurant in the hotel has a limited but pretty good menu. I had a cheeseburger without veggies. I love tomatoes. I am convinced I could eat a tomato and onion only sandwich if it was available. I forgot to mention. We have no fresh fruits or veggies. Occasionally, you can find someone selling pineapples but that is kind of rare. I was told the entire crop o pineapples was destroyed. No fresh fruit or veggies available anywhere. I am so glad I am not a vegetarian. Another day has past and we seem to be in the same situation as day one or two of the hurricane. What is an expectable expectation after a hurricane for things to go back to normal or just improve a little? If we could get at least one of the four essential items (water, food, gas and cash) taken off the daily chore list that would be an improvement for me. Ok, maybe add cell service to that list. That would be nice too.
Thursday, October 5, 2017
The saga continues............. Day 12: Continued…………… 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. 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 as well. 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!!!!! Today’s quest after cleaning the house was to find Wi-Fi. We drove to McDonalds about thirty minutes away in Mayaguez. Sadly, no Wi-Fi. So we ordered a couple of Mcflurry’s. Ok, I am not a fan of McDonald’s but that was one damn nice treat. We then sat down and enjoyed the A/C. The weather since the hurricane has been very strange. Some days are over 100 degrees and others are in the 80’s. But the even stranger thing is we all seem to get easily sunburned now. Anyway, while sitting there we noticed a girl using her phone for FB and snapchat. So we asked, how are you getting through to the internet. She told us she had Claro (Mexican owned Cellphone Company) and she allowed us to piggy back onto it using something called hotspot. This was great! We all checked email, made some calls and were able to check the future weather forecast. It has been very difficult not to be able to have any communication whatsoever. So she ended up leaving after about ½ hour but told us where we also could get the same thing. Jenn was like the Tasmanian Devil and took off leaving a trail of dust. She returned about an hour later with a working hotspot. We all ended up trying to use it for the rest of the day. It worked great in Mayaguez but when we returned to Rincon it did not work. I guess the cellphone towers over here are too far gone. We saw one twisted up on the road down the street from our house. It is unbelievable to see something that tall lying on the road. Overall, it was a better day. Still no sign of the Military, the police, the National Guard, Red Cross, FEMA or anything. Despair is setting in all over Rincon. Day 13: Sunday, October 1st, 2017, today’s goal was to find a working ATM. In a non-third world country this would be easy. As the days continue to go by I realize that Puerto Rico now is actually worse than a third world country. We have no Cellphone Service, No Radio, No TV, No power, No water, no security, and no food. We (Jenn, me, Liam, Madison and Paul) left Rincon at 11:30 and headed towards Ponce. We figured this won’t be so hard as that area wasn’t hurt that bad by Hurricane Maria. Big mistake! We drove to every town in between Rincon and Ponce to no avail. We stop at grocery stores, shopping centers, banks and anything that could possibly have an ATM. We put over 100 fun filled miles on our car and burned over a half a tank fuel. But in the end we prevailed. We stopped at the San German Hospital and by chance an armored truck was there. He was refilling the ATM in the emergency room. We jumped out of the car with great joy. Can you imagine? It was like an old Beatles movie when they all jumped out of a car at stoplight (Chinese fire drill). We only had to wait for 1 hour to get $100 out of our account. They limit the amount you can get out so everyone will be able to at least get some money out. Let me tell you something. One hundred dollars goes a long way when there are no restaurants open or grocery stores with anything to sell. All stores shelves are completely bare. It honestly doesn’t feel real anymore. The basic fundamentals of life are in jeopardy, safety and health. As we drove home with one item completed for the day we all said, it could be worse. Really? How? Then the car went dead silent. I really believe the lack of internet is probably the hardest thing on the kids. For me it’s just finding the basic essentials to survive another day. We arrived home ate some canned food thing and all slipped off to sleep. I of course took first shift on the roof. All is good, all are safe. BTW: around 1:00 am I gave up and went down stairs to sleep in my own bed. Day 14: Monday, October 2, 2017. First day trying to open the Post office for real. I took 10 gallons of diesel from our home generator supply to add to the Postal Service Generator. At some point in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria someone broke in and siphoned out all the diesel fuel from the Postal Service generator. My personal generator is useless right now anyway as it blew up on day one. I will at some point try to take it apart and fix it. I filled the Postal Service Generator and started turning on all the essential items. We still do not have basic services like power, internet, cell service, phone service and most importantly running water. I am hoping that the Postal Service will fulfill my request for fuel soon as my supply will run out fast. We opened the retail window and sold our first money order in over two weeks. The public was very anxious to see something go back to normal. At 11:00 am the employees from the Aguada Post Office arrived. The Aguada Post Office was submerged in 4-5 feet of sewage. It will take a while to clean up that facility. So for the near future we will have an additional 20 employees working in our facility. Keep in mind no running water or working bathrooms for over 40 employees. We love having our coworkers from Aguada with us. We just wish we could provide them and us some basic essential needs. We do what we can. So anyway, after we left the Post Office we stopped at the plaza. We heard that FEMA finally arrived in Rincon and they were located near the lighthouse. Why did they pick the lighthouse location to set up? The lighthouse is on a dead end street at the far north side of town. It’s actually 3 miles from the Rincon town center. No one even knew they were there. Maybe that was the point? No announcements or postings were made. I swear this recovery program is being run by the producers of Southpark. Maybe this aftermath is going to be a pilot reality TV show. Or a, what not to do show? I did end up with an orange from a passerby. It can’t get any more screwed up can it? Can it? We left the plaza after that crazy news and headed up to our roofless abode. We then filled up 20+ gallon containers from a garbage can that collects rain water so we could flush toilets. We then fed the dogs the little dog food we had left. I guess we will have that chore tomorrow. They do protect the house so they are earning their keep right now. Next week they might be on the rotisserie. Every few hours I ask myself, this cannot be real, it has to be a dream, right? Its two full weeks after a major disaster and nothing still makes any sense. No one is making rational decisions and all aspects of communication continue to breakdown. Only one word truly describes our situation. -----------------------------------------CLUSTERFUCK! Sorry, if I offended anyone. But I cannot think of a better word. The good news of the day, we made it to through another day on our own and I mean ON OUR OWN. Day 15: Tuesday, October 3, 2017 was actually a better day. We saw our first helicopter. It was huge! It flew by slowly looking at the debris field then left. Then we received some water and MRE’s from the Postal Service. This was a nice surprise. We distributed everything among employees and we have a few items left that we are going to drop off to several families in the hills. We had visitors from the DEA and the Postal Inspection Service. The DEA brought additional food supplies and water. That was incredibly thoughtful. They also have no form of communication with anyone out in the field. We still have no radio, no TV, no sat phones, no internet, no real cell or phone service, nothing. They too called this a clusterfuck as no one knows what is going on. It is impossible to coordinate any consistent relief effort. They also told us that several million pounds of relief supplies will be arriving soon, possibly Thursday? The cell service works on and off for only a few minutes at a time. I was actually able to go on line for 1-minute last night. My phone chirped then nothing. I was hopeful for that one little moment. We have a hotspot but it only works about 20 miles away from Rincon. It is virtually useless due to the gas situation. We still cannot find diesel fuel for the Post Office generator so we are using the last of my personal diesel fuel supply. Not sure if that is a good idea as I was using that to barter but I really don’t have a choice. I now have almost forty employees relying on us to be open daily. We mixed the Aguada Post Office employees into the Rincon Post Office. We all are under one roof without A/C. We feel very bad for the employees of Aguada as their facility was flooded with sewage. That facility should start to be cleaned this week but it has more problem. The mold has taken over in the last two weeks. This afternoon I noticed that it is going to be a full moon. So the next few days are going to be more challenging than they should be. Everyone jokes that the full moon brings out the crazies. It doesn’t but, it does bring out everybody’s short temper and believe me we all are short tempered now. And now for some more positive things. We have some food. We have some fresh drinking water. We also have several residents doing more for the community than expected. I have witnessed people giving fuel to others, giving generators to others, giving water filters, passing out fans, people helping move trees/debris. The Puerto Rican people are strong, loyal and caring. I have never witnessed such compassion in my life. The gas lines are starting to get shorter now. This is a great thing. Can you imagine waiting in line for fuel for 6-12 hours for $20 of fuel every other day? I have heard the grocery stores will open soon. Not sure when but, that has to be true. I have seen people laughing and crying when they embrace their friends and family. I see this daily. I have seen so much good in this little town. I can only hope the good will continue. Oh, no street walkers last night. Weird, huh? Several people have told me that these days are similar to the TV show, Walking Dead. Thank god it isn’t…. Day 16: Wednesday October 4, 2017 So today we decided nothing was going to bring us down. We still have no communication with the outside world. But we have hot dogs in the ice chest (yum) and a bag of Ice from Hotel Cofressi. The hotel owners/staff have done so much for this community. They have provided a home including meals for multiple families that lost their houses. They have allowed anyone/everyone to use their phones so people could call the states (when the phone works). They have passed out water/ice. Keep in mind that half of the hotel was destroyed by hurricane Maria. This season will probably be the worst tourist season in Puerto Rico’s history. Almost all preexisting reservations have cancelled for this year. The owners and staff of that hotel are truly amazing. Again, nothing is going to bring us down today, right. We spent over an hour driving three miles to get to work. I decided to go to the Anasco Post Office to check email and run some computer programs. That was a huge mistake as it took over two hours to get there and return. I did get to open Outlook and review some emails. I tried to reply to as many as I could but I knew I needed to head back to my office. At 11:00 am the post office generator at my office ran out of fuel, as predicted. We have been trying to get diesel fuel for over a week. Then two postal vehicles broke down. One carrier had to hitch hike back to the post office as she had no way to communicate. Luckily, she made it back to the post office in less than two hours safely. The traffic is horrible everywhere. The gas lines are shorter now but you still can’t really drive anywhere after 8:00 am because that is when the gas stations start selling gas and most streets become impassable. The banks have lines of over 200 people or more. The grocery stores have lines to enter. They have security guards in front of the doors. They only allow a few people in at a time. Thank god we have ice and hot dogs and don’t have to worry about that mess for a few days. I will admit we sweat more and we eat a lot less every day. It seems the day by day task is that of a hunter/gatherer (caveman). Most days involve a quest for these four essential items water, food, gas and cash. Not necessarily in that order but each one does affect the other. We finally got about forty gallons of fuel for the postal generator around 2:00 pm. The postmaster from Aguada and Aguadilla went out and found a 55-gallon drum. Had it filled somehow. We were able to syphon the fuel over then they headed off to Ramey and San Antonio to provide fuel to those post offices as well. The rest of the day we smelled like diesel fuel. We have lights now but no running water to wash up/off. Then the mail truck finally arrived from San Juan. Normally our mail arrives around 6:00 am. The truck is full of Rincon mail and Aguada mail. If we don’t process this mail, we will not be able to move around inside the building. It seems every customer wants to know the same thing, “When will my mail arrive?” It is so hard to repeat the same thing and stay positive. “We just don’t know!” We now have 500+ customers daily but that doesn’t include the 500+ customers from the Aguada Post Office. Overall, having one thousand customers doesn’t sound that bad. But when half your staff is unaccounted for and you only have two employees working mail. The task insurmountable. It appears that the mail is about eight days behind. We are not sure as we have little to no communication with Postal managers. We did however have two postal inspectors show up again and ask how we were doing. They left the employee gate wide open and we had customers coming in our back door looking for mail. It was very frustrating as that is there primary job to enforce security. The 30-40 employees use rain water from a trash can to flush toilets. We have more mail in the building than two Christmas seasons. Customers that are mad as hell because they don’t have their Amazon products. We have no access to any form of communication with the outside world or our immediate world. Nothing! And our last two digital TV antenna channels went off air yesterday. The hotspot is useless and cellphones just plain don’t work. If it was getting better shouldn’t we be getting more information, not less? I finished as much as I could at work and headed home. On the way we stopped by to check on a few friends and ended up having some pizza and a few beers. Wait, cold beers. You have no idea how good a cold beer is after weeks of post hurricane stuff. See, it all worked out. As I stated in the beginning, nothing was going to bring us down today. In fact, pizza does the opposite. It puts a smile on everyone’s face unless it burns the top of your mouth.
Saturday, September 30, 2017
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!!!!!