Good Morning All!
First, thank you everyone for sending emails about Irma and me. A little update as I’m stuck in Puerto Rico and plenty of time on my hands. All of you with villa reservations through December are cancelled and I will contact each of you when I safely return to Aspen to see if you want a refund or reschedule. Both my computer and cell have been out of service but I managed to get my computer running last night.
My neighbor on St. John had a anemometer measuring wind speed. Until it was ripped off the side of his villa it measured sustained wind force at Sopra Mare and Bordo Mare of 196 mph with gusts to 230 mph.
From the time Irma hit St. John on 9/6th I worked ten straight days, twelve hours a day getting the villas secured. I didn’t lose the roof or structure definitely really built to sustain a hurricane. However, I lost all the ocean front large sliding doors on both villas and several windows. This resulted in water damage to furniture and I lost several outside lights with some guttering. It will take me 10 weeks to get all replacement materials and furniture to the island and another 4 to install. Figuring I should be back in full business around New Years.
I had to board up the villas but no plywood was available on St. John so I used “Rachel” my 20 year old Jeep Wrangler, to go around the island picking up galvanized roofing and old 2x4’s scattered in the road. This took a lot of trips and three guys loaded into the Jeep with no back seat kinda reminded me of the old circus stunt where you’d see 10 guys coming out of a phone booth.
By Sunday, the stress had really gotten to me; little food, no sleep, not much water, driving and dodging electric lines and poles in the road. The breaking point came when I drove right by my road to the villa and one guy yelled I missed my turn. I was so disoriented at this point from stress and fatigue when I looked up for approximately two minutes, I didn’t recognize where I was on the island which I know so well.
I knew I had to get off the island as soon as possible. Monday, (yesterday) I managed to get out on the last boat before Maria Hurricane from St. John to Puerto Rico. Then a two hour bus ride to the airport. I stood in line at American for almost two hours until I remembered by Gold American Airlines Card and was directed to the priority line. Only to find out all flights are full til possibly Friday when I have a tentative reservation. If you are watching the weather channel likely you know Maria Category 5 will directly hit Puerto Rico Wednesday so there’s no guarantee I will get out on Friday or whenever.
Right now, I have a room at the airport hotel til Wednesday noon; however, all hotels in San Juan are shut down starting Wednesday night thus I have no place to stay Wednesday. I’ll stay here around the airport and for the last several hours I’ve been scouting out where the safest place might be to hold up and ride out the hurricane here at the airport. I figure the concrete bathroom on the main floor of this hotel is my best bet so will make my way to it just before the hurricane arrives to spend Wednesday night.
Tomorrow, I’ll buy bottled water and power bars as that will likely be the only food I will have until the hurricane passes. Learned over the last several weeks you can get along without electric, gas, and gasoline but definitely not without water, which is vital to survival. I will attempt to post more tomorrow with another little update but will probably lose internet late Tuesday afternoon and won’t have it available until reaching Aspen.
Love you all, thank you for your prayers, concern and support. This too shall pass and I’m doing my best to stay strong!
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