Hi everyone,

Hola to all!

Finally we got some much needed rain, it has been very dry here and with the busy Easter weekend it appears that some water rationing was taking place. Some of the island was with little or no water for days, town had water in the early part of the day and then it was turned off later in the day. Most of us are accustomed to dealing with it but it still is rather irritating, especially to visitors to the island. What we did get in the way of rain was more just a tease, but at least some of the grass in town appears greener than yesterday! Not sure why we lose water when the island is at its busiest, we had lots of people here from the main island camping during Holy Week, and of course this is when they ration the water. In addition there have been many small brush fires with it being so dry, something that we have not seen much of in recent years. Keep your fingers crossed that we continue to get some rain showers that keep the island gorgeous and keep the water running to all the neighborhoods.

One of the big annual events of the year, the Cultural Festival, takes place this month from the 15th – 17th. There is a craft fair and of course some great folk music. The night before the festival opens there will also be an art opening at the Fort, featuring works by Sandra Reyes and Juan Silva. Both these artists are incredibly talented and it is worth a visit to the fort just to see the new things they have been painting. The Cultural Festival also is having there second Book Fair, all the books are somehow related to Vieques or the writers are related to Vieques. Unfortunately there is not a large selection of books in English but still very interesting to see just how much our little island has inspired people. Hope you all have a chance to visit the Fort during this event.

Here is a copy of the events for the Cultural Festival:
Thursday, April 14th
7pm - Opening of art exhibit, INTROSPECTIONS, with paintings by Sandra Reyes and Juan Silva
Friday, April 15th
7pm - Official Inauguration Ceremony
Awards Ceremony for Best Poster and Commemorative T-Shirts
Artisan's Fair
Viequense Books Fair
Students Art Exhibit: Impressions of the Taino Mythology
8pm - Vieques Municipal Band
8.30pm - Playa Grande School Theatre Group
9pm - MARR Group
10pm - Plena and Bomba (to be confirmed)
Saturday, April 16th
1pm Book Fair: Dialogue and presentation with new authors of books on Vieques
7pm Dedication
Artisan's Fair
Viequense Books Fair
Students Art Exhibit: Impressions of the Taino Mythology
8pm - Typical Puerto Rican Music (Group to be confirmed)
9pm - Georgie Flynn and his Viequense Trio
10pm - Nueva Trova (Group to be confirmed)
Sunday, April 17th
1pm - Book Fair: Reading of Viequense Poetry
6pm - Student Theatre Play: Playa Grande School
Artisan's Fair
Viequense Book Fair
Students Art Exhibit: Impressions of the Taino Mythology
7pm - DIAPASON - Music from the Andes (To be confirmed)
8pm - Puerto Rico State Band with Chucho Avellanet
For more information please phone: 787 741-1717; 787 375-0525

There has been a lot of talk about a fast speed ferry from Old San Juan to Culebra and Vieques. The catamaran, Athena, is officially on schedule now, has been since Holy Week. The boat looks nice, has a cash bar and snacks available and is air-conditioned. It appears to move right along in the water but with stops in Culebra, it still takes about 3 hours to get between Old San Juan and Vieques. This is a fun option for traveling and not terribly expensive. Here is the schedule for that and the prices as well:

Monday through Thursday

Depart                Arrive*       Depart     Arrive*
Old San Juan    Culebra       Culebra    Vieques
8:00am               9:45am      10:30am     11:00am

Vieques             Culebra      Culebra    Old San Juan
3:00pm               3:30pm       4:00pm     5:45pm

*transit times are approximate


Depart                Arrive*        Depart     Arrive*
Old San Juan    Culebra        Culebra    Vieques
8:00am               9:45am       10:30am    11:00am
3:00pm              4:45pm         5:30pm      6:00pm

Vieques            Culebra         Culebra    Old San Juan}
11:30am            12:00pm       12:30pm    2:15pm
 6:30pm              7:00pm         7:30pm     9:15pm


RESIDENT                        NON-RESIDENT
Adult / Child**                      Adult / Child**

Round Trip $63 / $48             $68 / $53
One Way $37/  $27                $42 / $32

Round Trip $73 / $58              $78 / $63
One Way $42 / $32                 $47 / $37

Round Trip $33 / $23              $33 / $23
One Way $22 / $17                 $22 / $17

**Rate applies to children ages 4-12. Rates and schedules are subject to change. Tickets are non-refundable and non-transferable. Reservations recommended.  For reservations or more information call 1-877-CAT-EXPRESS or visit www.islandhighspeedferry.com  .

Air Flamenco is now traveling between Vieques and Isla Grande in San Juan. Isla Grande is not the San Juan International Airport but is located in the San Juan area and is a less expensive option for getting to Vieques from San Juan. As of now they are flying On Demand, but expect to have some regular flights soon. They also serve Culebra and Fajardo in addition to Vieques and Isla Grande. To check their schedule call 741-8811.

I am sad to report that not only did we lose Blue Macaw restaurant, we have now also lost Bayaonda. They have had some lease problems with their location unfortunately but they are looking for another location so……. With any luck we will have both of these excellent restaurants open again later this year. And another blow to the island is that Café Media Luna is for sale. I think I heard that Monica and Ricardo are looking to relocate as they have other interests to pursue and of course with 2 young children are thinking ahead to their education. Luckily we do have Uva, which is pricey but the food is out of this world. You can now enjoy appetizers Next Door at Uva, the amazing courtyard behind the restaurant. It is truly enchanting out there, with one of the most gorgeous bars on the island and amazing lights that were made by Brooke Grant of Plan B Gallery. And don’t forget you can get wonderful martini’s every night at Uva with Manuel, one of my favorite bartenders on the island. Okay he takes really good care of us on Sushi nights and I love the watermelon/passion fruit martini! I am actually writing this on the 2nd (okay sorry I am late again) and it is the first Sushi night I think I am going to miss as we want to get to Media Luna a few more times before they close. Another favorite with folks is Chez Shack, with Chef Drew manning the kitchen. Sorry I don’t know Drew’s last name but he sure can cook! Lots of people were skeptical that it could be as good as it was when Tony Casino was there last year, but Drew has definitely filled the vacancy and is preparing some memorable meals! I have also heard that the food at La Sirena has been good, not sure if Kevin will be here through the summer months but try his Mexican food while it is here. Trade Winds recently had a gathering to celebrate the retirement of Everett (breakfast and lunch cook who used to own Coconuts) and Nugget, daytime waitperson. Everett or perhaps Coconuts, was an institution here when there were not many options for breakfast and lunch in Idabel Segunda years ago. Nugget has been serving breakfast at Trade Winds for the past few years and she will definitely be missed. Not sure if Trade Winds is changing their schedule this month or next month so be sure to call ahead before going out for breakfast, lunch or even dinner. Remember that the Lobster Specials on Fridays are fabulous at Trade Winds. Banana’s continues to be the “island meeting place” being one of the most popular spots (definitely for lunch) on the island. They have the best burgers and now with the upstairs deck the best view in Esperanza. I spent most of Easter Sunday there, having way too much fun with my friends Richard, Pooch (Blue Caribe Kayaks), Errin (EDK Design and I apologize for not knowing how he spells his name), Tito (Island Hop) and Wendy (coming soon Island Time Leisure Items). We drank beer, did some shots, ate some food and kept partying for several hours – thanks guys! Bilí is still the place to go in Esperanza for fabulous Puerto Rican cuisine. They are always busy, have a nice staff and the atmosphere is wonderful. Island Steakhouse continues to set records in the number of people they are able to serve! They redecorated the bar and front porch area and it is absolutely delightful. For a change of pace try the Novo Latino cuisine prepared by Dio on Friday nights. I have heard wonderful things about his menu and the food but hate to admit that I have not gotten there to try it. For steak lovers make sure you plan a night at the Island Steakhouse. One of my new favorites is MBar, where I go to enjoy the lovely bar and a nice Churrasco steak with salad. Their Passion fruit vinaigrette is the best! Much of the menu now resembles a steak house menu and lots of grilled items. They also offer some nice pasta dishes which I indulged in recently! I usually sit at the bar and Randy takes good care of me there. There are still working out some staff issues but the food is always good. Rumors are still circulating as to when Wyndham stops managing Martineau Bay as it is due to be sold in the near future. Regardless of who owns it, stop by and have lunch or dinner is the gorgeous environment they have created there. I like lunch by the pool and of course dinner on the terrace is wonderful as well. The times that I have eaten there the food was excellent and plentiful. For local food Taverna Espanola, Mucho Gusto and Richards continue to be very busy at dinner time. Scoops is offering the best pizza ever in Vieques and now are delivering to Red and Blue Beach on weekends. They also deliver to the Mar Azul as a popular option for people who just want to take in the view from the deck and not leave because it is just so comfortable there! For those of you that are adventurous try the food trucks in Esperanza and across from Sun Bay. One of my favorite items are the “rellenos de papa”, which is a fried mashed potato ball with ground beef filling. Okay so it does not sound very healthy but they are delicious and I treat myself to them about once a month! Pastelillos are a favorite too for lunch, again fried dough turnover with your choice of filling, so good…… And don’t forget Chef Michael’s FoodSpace where you can shop or enjoy and amazing lunch. I am not getting there often enough as I have for the most part stopped cooking for myself, soon I will start again. Oh and Chef Troy is doing some specialty nights at Coconuts until he leaves and heads north for the summer. Wednesday is Mexican night and Friday is Thai Night. I have attended both evenings and the food is wonderful so be sure to get there this month as I am not sure when he departs the island.

The municipality is doing infrastructure improvements to Isabel Segunda and the roads are so torn up it is a mess. With no rain and the roads being dug up town resembles the old west with dust in the air all the time. I was told that I have bronchial asthma and believe me the dust is making our lives miserable. Lots of people that live in town are coughing, getting bronchitis, wheezing, etc. and in my case boycotting cleaning the house until the dust settles! The are hoping to have some of the work done later this summer but no promises. New water and sewage lines, drains pipes are going in, to be followed by underground electrical and phone lines. This is a big project upgrading the island and am told we just have to be patient so……. Hopefully the new medicine I am trying will make the cough go away some, and maybe some more rain showers will cut the dust and we will all be able to breath better.

I need to head out to Sun Bay to catch the Relay for Life, a benefit for the American Cancer Society being held this weekend. I think I have been scheduled to participate Sunday morning thanks to Gisella of US Fish and Wildlife! Actually I can not say enough wonderful things about the work that Gisella does for them as the communications person. She always supplies me with valuable information for Vieques Events, and supplies it in both languages! She and so many of the people in the office there have become incredibly valuable assets to Vieques.

If you are on island for the Art Auction benefiting the Vieques Humane Society, be sure to attend, it is great fun and the artwork available is fabulous. Many of the local artists give generously and some great deals can be had! Hope to see you there.

Well I think that about covers the news here. Check the calendar which follows. Stop by and visit me at the Mar Azul, usually there Tuesday and Wednesday day shift except when Vieques Events is about to go to press!

See you soon.

April Calendar

Fri.-Sun., April 1-3rd Free Mammograms available at SunBay
Saturday, April 2nd Tag Sale by NLUS Vieques Council at Imagen Eye Care Trailer. 8am-noon. Donations accepted before 8am
Karaoke at Al’s Mar Azul. 9pm
Sat./Sun., April 2nd & 3rd Annual Relay for Life fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. Parade Saturday 3pm. Enjoy entertainment, local foods, souvenirs available. Event ends noon Sunday
Sunday, April 3rd Wine Tasting @ Chef Michael's FoodSpace. Call for information and reservations 741-0490
Tuesday, April 5th Anthropological lecture on T Shirts based on the struggle for Vieques, with Anthropologist Ramón López of the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture, at the Fort, 7pm
Saturday, April 9th Annual Art and Craft Auction to benefit the Vieques Humane Society. Silent auction and preview 5:30-6:30pm, live auction 7pm. $30 admission.
Sunday, April 10th Champagne Closing (for the season) at Beach Doggies. Food by Chef Michael. 9am-1pm
Wednesday, April 13th "Jeopardy" team competition at VCHT, testing knowledge of Vieques! Fun, Informative and Prizes for winning team. 5:30pm, for more information and reservations 741-8850
Thursday, April 14th "Introspections" Art Exhibit opens at the Fort. Paintings by Sandra Reyes and Juan Silva 7pm
Thurs./Fri., April 14th & 15th Verizon Wireless selling cellular phones at Centro Commercial
Friday, April 15th Annual Cultural Festival begins at the Fort. Opening ceremony 7pm. See schedule for more information
Bioluminescent Bays of Puerto Rico - dedicated to Dr. Barbara Bernache-Baker. New exhibit opens at VCHT
Saturday, April 16 Annual Cultural Festival and Book Fair at the Fort. Book Fair begins 1pm. Dedication 7pm. See schedule for more information
Karaoke at Al’s Mar Azul. 9pm
Sunday, April 17th Annual Cultural Festival and Book Fair at the Fort. Book Fair begins 1pm. Student Theater performance 6pm. See schedule for more information
Monday, April 18th Wine Tasting @ Chef Michael's FoodSpace. Call for information and reservations 741-0490
Tuesday, April 19th 6th anniversary of David Sanes' death and commencement of civil disobedience campaign which achieved the end of the bombing and the end of the military presence in Vieques
Friday, April 22nd
Earth Day
Opening Reception at Plan B Gallery, featuring works by Sylvie Houssais. 5-8pm in Isabel II
Thursday, April 28th Film Presentation at the Fort. Call for information 741-1717
Saturday, April 30th Health for Vieques Clinic at the hospital, free services beginning 10am
Karaoke at Al’s Mar Azul. 9pm
Sundays Xtreme Gotcha Games. Call 787-741-0728 for information
Brunch at Cafe Violeta
Paellla Special at Trade Winds
Cockfights at Gallera Puerto Real, afternoons
Mondays Reggae Grill Night at Chez Shack. Reservations required
$1 Medalla Night from 4pm at Bananas
Tuesdays Bridge Lessons, for more information call 741-3358
Trunk Show (tentative), featuring Myrna Renkert's sea glass jewelry, 4:30 - 7:30pm, at the Crow's Nest Call 741-0033 for dates
Happy Hour at Island Steakhouse at the Crow’s Nest 5-7pm. Chance to win bar tab!
Two Buck Tuesday Drink Specials at Cafe Coconuts, from 10pm on
Tuesday-Sunday Yoga at Hix Island House, call for times: 741-2302
Yoga at Wyndham Martineau Bay, call for times: 741-4100
Wednesdays Play Bridge, 11am. Call 741-3358
Cultural Arts Initiative with the Vieques Youth Leadership Initiative 3:30-5 pm, Coconuts.
Mexican Night at Coconuts
Quaker Meeting, 7pm, Esperanza, call 741-0257
Science of the Mind Study Group. 7pm, call 741-0414
Thursdays Technology Initiative with the Vieques Youth Leadership Initiative.
3-4:30 p.m. at Island Hop Computers
Caribbean Steel Drum Band at La Sirena
Thursdays & Fridays Knitting Workshop, sponsored by the Women's Advocate Office, at the Fort, call 741-1717 for information
Fridays Dive-In Movie at Wyndham Martineau Bay, casual dinner poolside 7-9pm, movie starts 7:30pm
Novo Latino Menu @ Island Steakhouse
Lobster Specials at Trade Winds
Thai Night at Cafe Coconuts
Karaoke Madness at La Sirena,
Vieques Youth Leadership Initiative selling T-shirts on the Malecon. 5-7pm
Saturdays Paco’s Paella at Cafe Coconuts, reservations suggested
Sushi Night at Uva, reservations suggested 741-2050
Backgammon Tournament at Coconuts, $5 entry fee, call 741-2626 for more information
All Month Reopening - Nature in Vieques, 100 Million Years of History, at the Fort
“Desobedientes” Photo Exhibit at Fort Conde Mirasol

PS: If there is anything you would like to see in the newsletter or have any feedback please email Ask Judy. Thanks.  askjudy@enchanted-isle.com 

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