Monday, December 31, 2018

MARIA log December 31 Day 99 Sunday

Sunday, December 31 day 99

We had a sprinkle of rain in the wee hours of the morning.

Marie and I dove Crashboat today. Visibility wasn't especially good and a farily storng current pushed us around a bit.

There is a beautiful full moon for New Year's. Like Christmas, New Year's doesn't feel very special. One year slides into another like one day slides into the next. Not much change, nothing different.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

MARIA log December 30 Day 98 Saturday

Saturday, December 30 day 98

100 days since the lights went out.

The government's first goal was to have electricity restored to 90 % of the island by December 1. When it became obvious that wasn't going to happen, they changed the goal to 95% by Christmas. We're not even close. With just two days left in the year, less than 50 % of the island has restored power.

Still, we don't have it so bad.

Today was our friends Heather and Ivan's Christmas party. I met Heather's friend Francine. Francine now lives in Arizona but she's originally from Dominica, one of my favorite islands. It's a very poor island, dependent a lot (I think) on tourism. In recent years Dominicans have carved a niche in eco-tourism, trying to take advantage of the island's incredible beauty without destroying it.

 A photo from the Dominican jungle when we were there in 2004.

Francine said the island is devastated. Her parents left to go to Antigua to live with her sister. She said more than 90 % of the people on the island are still living under tarps and have no water or electricity.

I have a friend on Flickr, a scuba diver and photographer, who lives on Dominica. His description of what happened in Dominica: "A bit like watching your clothing in the machine on spin cycle." I haven't heard from him for a while so I don't know if they got power back yet. He didn't expect it before now at least. As he said, "no [power] poles left standing."

Dominica is such a beautiful island and so different from Puerto Rico. I really feel for those people.

Of course there are reports that there are areas in the mountains here - Utuado, Orocovis, Morovis - that have yet to see any organized relief from any organization, e.g., Pr government, FEMA, Army, etc. Once again relief is coming from individuals and community organizations like Ciudad de Salvacion. I would really like to drive up into the mountains to see.

No rain today.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

MARIA log December 29 Day 97 Friday

Friday, December 29, day 97

Today is our 13th wedding anniversary. Thirteen years ago on a beach in Barbados we got married.

Today is also the 11th anniversary of our opening Ola Lola's.

Both events went mostly unremarked - except by Elaine and me long distance - and in the dark.

Another cloudy afternoon but no rain.

Today's best moment: The blinking light at the top of the hill is back on! So is the streetlight at the intersection. That makes it so much easier and safer to find the turn at night.

NOW: So that makes today our 14th anniversary. We are marking and celebrating this anniversary together. We no longer count the years at Ola Lola's. Stephanie and Jordan can start their own count.

Lots of rain and blustery yesterday last night. Much calmer with some sunshine and only a little rain today.

Friday, December 28, 2018

MARIA log December 28 Day 96 Thursday

Thursday, December 26, day 96

A bit of rain overnight, cloudy but no rain during the day. I'm kind of obsessed with rain. Too little and we don't have any to capture in case we lose water again. Too much and we could lose water; every day there is a flash flood advisory in case the Guajataca dam breaks.

Took care of the horses, took Oz for his walk on the beach. Finally got the mud cleaned off the east deck of the bar - it's only been three months. Got the front differential on the truck fixed. Just another day in paradise. Until...

We were watching yet another sappy Hallmark Christmas movie. As we get near the end of these movies, to try to keep Rolf awake, we started saying, "Rolf! Here comes the kissing part. You like the kissing part. Here comes the kissing."

Tonight Rolf was awake and really didn't need the prompting but we did it anyway. The couple on the sceen kissed and - Rolf moved so he could put his arm around Carole, leaned over, and kissed her!

We were both astounded! Carole got teary-eyed and said, "He hasn't done that for so long!"

I can watch a lot of sappy Hallmark movies if that is the result. Merry Christmas - what a gift!

NOW: December 28, 2018 - Blustery with gusts up to 30 mph overnight and today. Some light rain both through the night and off and on during the day. Clouds blast in with the wind and then part leaving patches of sunshine then slam shut again. I'm still obsessed with rain, now because the horse pastures really need it. We've had no significant rain for over a month and things are dry. The fields we've already used for the horses need rain to come back.

This morning, like every morning now, I took Coda Bear for his beach walk. Elaine went with us this morning. That was  a nice change.

I love the colors in the water!

Thursday, December 27, 2018

MARIA log December 27 Day 95 Wednesday

Wednesday, December 27 day 95

Today was a "little thing" kind of a day. I finished a bunch of little things around the house - fixed a closet door, fixed a window shutter, things like that., then took Oz for his walk on the beach

The day started off with blue skies and big white puffy clouds. Then suddenly, out of no where - dark, grey, almost black and pelting driving rain. For about five minutes. Then as suddenly it was gone and back to blue skies.

This whole post-hurricane weather thing is weird.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

MARIA log December 26 Day 94 Tuesday

Tuesday, December 26 day 94

Boxing Day.

Howling winds all night and occasional showers, but we were treated to another rainbow over the pasture.

I have no idea what the difference is but today Chocolate was great, easy to work with. Our workout was fabulous. Go figure.

We didn't take a box of goodies to anyone as is the British Boxing Day tradition, but we were treated to leftover Christmas ham. Oh, yum! Thank you (again!) Anna and Jeremy!

NOW: Hmmm...channeling last year. Had a good workout and a great ride with Chocolate. And tonight we're having leftover Christmas ham courtesy of Anna and Jeremy.

Also had a great walk/run on the beach with Coda Bear this morning. 

We've been going for a walk every day, usually to Playa Pastillo. We always liked Pastillo as a beach and as a place to run the dogs but it was kind of far away when we lived at Shacks (which of course we could walk to). Now it's our closest beach, our beach of choice. Coda Bear loves it - the ocean to play in, lots of new smells, lots of room, and, at least when we're there in the early morning, not many people.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

NOW, December 25, 2018

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Solstice, whatever works for you. Celebrate them all, because they are all part of the wonder. May your day/year/life be filled with joy, peace and love. Ours certainly is.


Last night we gathered at Carole and Rolf's for Christmas Eve dinner. Tonight we'll be at Jeremy and Anna's for dinner. I've said it before and it's never been more true: I am so grateful for this extended family.

The lights are on and we celebrating!

MARIA log December 25 Day 93 Monday

Monday, December 25, day 93

A low-key Christmas Day, that started with a rainbow over the pasture. I tried to work Chocolate but he was having none of it. We're back to square one.

Wild ripping clouds and BIG winds (Ha! Ha, I say. That is NOT big wind!) all day but no rain.

Jeremy and Anna invited us for Christmas dinner. Oh, my! We cannot figure out how Anna does so much with a four-year old and a four-month old. It was an awesome wonderful evening.

 I am missing Elaine and the family so much more than I am missing lights. I am so grateful for this extended family here.

Merry Christmas, World!

Monday, December 24, 2018

MARIA log December 24, Day 92 Sunday

Sunday, December 24 day 92

Christmas Eve in the Caribbean - after a hurricane. It's pretty subdued overall, especially compared to "normal" (there's that word again) to Puerto Rico.

While Elaine shivers and watches snow fall in Cleveland, I finally said, "Enough waiting" and dove Crashboat. This was my first time diving alone, solo. Visibility wasn't bad, about 40 feet.

It's even crazier seeing it from below than from the surface It is a new wreck dive. Bits of rebar stick out randomly, waiting to snag the unwary. Bent twisted ripped I-beams have sharp edges waiting to cut and snag. I wrote earlier about ow much sand washed from the beach. Underwater you can see six feet of the remaining pier legs exposed when the sand washed away.

(Note from NOW: You can see more photos from this dive on Flickr.)

The incredible power of the ocean that could do this is absolutely mind-boggling.

Life is already returning. Schools of sargent-major fish, goatfish, barjacks and the occasional juvenile trumpet fish testify to that. I watched a courting pair of white-spotted file fish do their little dance. The sargent-majors must be nesting, laying eggs, because I saw them chasing a file fish away from a particular spot. They do that when they are protecting eggs.

More than just getting to see what's down there close up, it just felt good to be in the water, to have salt water on my skin. I miss it.

On this Christmas Eve without electricity we may not have all the usual Christmas lights, but we do have this:

Mother Nature put on an incredible sky show today.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

MARIA log December 23 Day 91 Saturday

Saturday, December 23 day 91

Strange day in the sky today: Sometimes heavy dark grey clouds spitting rain, sometimes sunshine and big white clouds. The sky put on a show all day.

I actually saw a guy from AEE (the electric company) today. He was "surveying meters, withes and poles in our area. I guess that puts us a little bit closer to having electricity restored.

NOW: Today is the kids last day here. I guess were heading for the beach. Kai has become quite the water boy. He loves snorkeling.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

NOW December 22 2018

Amy has been here for a week with Kennedy and Kai. This week has been pretty much about the grands.

No significant rain for nearly a month. It's very dry. The waterfall at Gozalandia wasn't much more than a trickle compared to what it usually is.

MARIA log December 22 Day 90 Friday

Friday, December 22, day 90

It rained last night. When we got to the pasture, KTJ was a mudball. It took two of us more than an hour to get her clean.

Marie decided not to dive today. She doesn't want to risk problems with her eyes until she sees the doctor. Probably a good thing we didn't go, considering how long it took to clean KTJ.

It was pretty much a horse day. Chocolate didn't want to come out of the tall grass for his afternoon feed. So I went in after him and rode him out bareback. Then we worked bareback for a bit.

It was a good horse day.

Friday, December 21, 2018

MARIA log December 21 Day 89 Thursday

A quick note: if you read yesterday's post, pleas o back and read it again. It was accidentally before it was complete.

Thursday, December 21 day89

Today is the solstice, that magical winter day when the darkness of the year begins to give way to the light.

Yesterday and today I had good workouts with Chocolate. for years we've had problems. I hope we've found a solution.

Went to Crashboat to check it out. Marie and I may dive there tomorrow. They've plowed a lot of sand and reclaimed some of the parking lot. They plowed the "Pay" side and cleaned up a lot of the debris so it's usable again. People are jumping off the pier despite the rebar and obstacles in the water.

Today's best moment: the cupey tree, the tree that grew up through the bar deck and up through the roof, the one we lost the top of during Maria - has new sprouts! New green leaves! There is hope!

No rain today.