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.
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 want water more than a mojito.
I am so glad we used the phone when we did as 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, and Liam (17) my teenage son 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 now 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.