Tag Archives: ferry

Call It An Adventure

Getting to and from Isla de Vieques from Puerto Rico’s main island was more of a challenge than any of the adventures I’d actually arranged for our August travels. But what’s a trip without a few surprises along the way?  It’s the unplanned events that usually prove to be the real memory makers.

We had planned to be on the 1PM ferry to Isla de Vieques from Fajardo, Puerto Rico. I’d padded our schedule to allow for the iffy ticketing and parking situations I had read about online. By the time we had wheeled our luggage  from the ticketing building to the terminal across the street, I was feeling pretty pleased with myself. Securing our ferry passage and getting the rental car into long term parking had been quite the test, but we had made it.  And I figured we were at least next to the correct boarding line if not actually in it.

But the boat broke.

Mechanical failures had already reduced the ferry pool from four vessels to only two running daily between Culebra, Vieques and Fajardo on the main island of Puerto Rico.  And while the initial announcements optimistically indicated a “delay”, it was soon clear that “delay” was but a euphemism for a very uncertain situation.  “Delay” didn’t mean the ferry would launch later that day or even on that same day at all.  The gentleman relaying the official announcements was non-committal.  The ferry might run later.  But it might not.  He shrugged.  He smiled. He shrugged again.

Eventually came an announcement that the ferry to Culebra would also be “delayed”.  Because it would be pulled to transport those of us traveling to Vieques.  Our ex-ferry, the  Atlantis, doggy paddled its way to the derelict side dock, and our comandeered boat docked in its place.  It lingered there after we’d boarded, however, to scoop up those arriving for a later Vieques bound ferry that would never arrive.  By now though, we were philosophical.  We’d made new friends.  We’d sustained ourselves with heavenly mango sorbet.  We were on a boat with a functioning engine. When we pulled from the dock and out into the harbor, there arose a stadium-worthy cheer…

Of course, we’d have to find another way to get off the island once we actually got there.  But that would be an adventure for another day…

One choice move toward resolving an unforeseen travel “event” is to take a deep breath and mentally label it an adventure.  This shifts you solidly from being a victim to stepping up as a problem solver. And reframing the situation may allow you to actually enjoy the experience. Attitude truly is everything.

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Blessed Motion

When the brake lights dotting the road ahead blink off and your foot finally shifts from tapping the brake to steady acceleration. When your plane takes first place on the runway and its engines rev toward take off speed. When the mooring lines are cast off and the ferry finally pulls away from the dock.

These are a few of our favorite things…

More on Puerto Rico/ Isla de Vieques:

Polite Won’t Get You Down the Road
Ziplining in Puerto Rico (with video)
Puerto Rican Preview
It Really Is A Jungle Out There
Tracking Turtles (with video)
Faulty Ferry in Fajardo

Still more? Check out the “Off the Continent” links in the right sidebar under “Categories”…

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Faulty Ferry in Fajardo

I wasn’t expecting to find adventure in a ferry ride. But all adventures are not created equally. Some take you nowhere and challenge your brain a little more than your body.

Such was our experience with the Puerto Rico Port Authority’s ferry system.

Even when we did everything right -allowing extra time for an iffy ticketing system and acquainting ourselves with the long term parking situation ahead of time… it wasn’t enough to accommodate the unwieldy island transportation system. Under staffing and a less than effective maintenance schedule completely reworked our plans for that August day.

We traveled from Rio Grande to Fajardo in plenty of time to secure ferry tickets for the 1PM crossing to Vieques. From my pre-trip reading I expected a bit of chaos and padded our arrival time accordingly. But lunch breaks at both the ticket windows and the gated long term parking lot left us a couple of steps shy of boarding the boat and running out of time. Fortunately, newly made friends Gigi and Fazia helped us to be three and four places at once to buy tickets, unload luggage and park the rental car.

We all raced to the terminal building, dragging luggage behind, deciphered which line we belonged in and edged closer to begin boarding our boat. The ferries between Culebra, Vieques and Fajardo are the only transportation option for most Puerto Rican families, so the interior space was jammed with the lives and belongings of both regular commuters and travelers. The deafening human hum stilled almost instantly, however, when the public address announcements began. And the crowd’s disgruntled reactions provided an easy interpretation of the garbled Spanish.

No 1PM ferry.

NEXT: Call It an Adventure

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