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This is the last of Capt. Gregg's regular articles for  A huge "Thanks" goes out to Gregg for all his years of service as a fishing columnist for this Vieques site.  We look forward to hearing from him from time to time as a guest writer.  Gracias, amigo!

December 2009

Now that another early and seriously frigid winter is settling in on most of the US, Iím starting to get daily calls and e-mails from folks planning a first trip to Vieques. If youíre one of these people and youíd like to head down in the next few months hereís a few pieces of advice that will make your vacation a bit easier.

The first thing you should do before booking airline tickets or accommodations is call and reserve a rental car on the island. This may sound strange and a bit backwards but trust me on this one. Between Christmas and Easter Week there are rarely enough cars to go around for all the tourists and a decent vehicle, preferably a Jeep, is essential on Vieques. You wonít be able to enjoy our great beaches to the fullest without one.

Reserving a car can be a bit frustrating this time of year since the rental companies are so busy. Donít even attempt to do this by e-mail. Call them directly and donít bother leaving a message if you get a machine. Keep calling until you get a live person. If there are no cars available then you might want to alter your travel plans. Thatís why I recommend doing this before making any other reservations, such as airlines or hotels, which will be a lot more difficult to change.

If there are no cars available and you canít move your travel plans you should still move forward with your trip. Deciding on where to stay will now be more important. Esperanza is by far the best choice since so much is within walking distance in this town including several great restaurants and some really nice beaches. Publicos, our local taxis, are available at all hours and many of the drivers live nearby. Itís likely that youíll find one driver and use him for most of the week. Itís also likely that youíll meet other travelers who you can bum rides from especially if you hang out at Duffyís or the Yacht Club during Happy Hour. The Bio Bay trips also depart from Esperanza and the weekends have a street fair atmosphere. Itís definitely a fun town but can be a bit noisy if youíre staying right on the Malecon. Book a place one street back and you wonít have any problems.

As an added convenience, if youíre planning a fishing trip both Capts. Franco Gonzalez and J Fergeson depart from the pier at Esperanza. Since Iím going to be staying up here in Florida this coming season those guys will be the only charter fishing boats available. Their schedules are sure to fill up quickly so Iíd recommend contacting them soon. Kayak fishing with Vieques Adventures is another option and theyíll also pick you up right there in Esperanza.
Even though Iíll be up here on Pine Island, Florida this coming season, feel free to contact me with any questions you might have about Vieques. With the economy hurting so badly these days, Vieques is still a very affordable place to get away from it all without too much hassle. So if youíre snowed in somewhere in New York right now and could use a little Global Warming, go ahead and make your plans for the island.

Happy Holidays,

Capt. Gregg McKee, WildFly Charters

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