We got up around 8 Tuesday morning, and I went to make coffee. Somehow I managed to put the machine together wrong, and we ended up with coffee everywhere. I cleaned that up, and the second time, it worked. We had our last patio breakfast overlooking the ocean, hauled our stuff out to the Jeep, locked up the hacienda and hid the keys. It seemed like we had only been there for a day, and I wanted to stay a lot longer.
Matt was kind enough to take a picture of the ramshackle so we could remember it always. Next time we’ll probably actually go inside.
We drove into Isabel II to do some souvenir-shopping, but the town was packed and we couldn’t find parking after circling for a while. We decided that wasn’t a big deal, so we headed over to see Mosquito Pier and the ceiba tree, both of which are on the north side of the island near the airport.
On the way, we stopped to fill up the Jeep at one of Vieques’ two gas stations. They’re across the street from one another, and you have to wait in line forever to use them, plus you have to pre-pay. (That was another valuable tip from the couple we met at the airport.) While we’re on the subject, another fun fact we’d learned about Vieques: there’s a horse taxi. Like, a guy shows up on a horse with a couple other horses in tow, and you ride them from one place to the other. REALLY.
We didn’t really know the story with the ceiba tree, but it was on the tourist map. Apparently it’s 375 years old! It’s in a park very near mosquito pier.
As usual, there were horses hanging out in the area. They’re seriously everywhere.
This is my favorite sign. “Ceiba, beach, more beach.” It’s very appropriate for Vieques.
We drove out onto Mosquito Pier for the view. Here’s a majestic shot of Cap’n Ron the Jeep with Puerto Rico in the distance:
And another of Puerto Rico, this time with no Jeep. I tried to convince Matt we could probably swim there.
This is the west end of Vieques. That’s the only area we didn’t really cover (apart from the large sections where you’re not allowed to go lest you explode.)
Looking back down the pier. The W resort is somewhere over on the left side here (so is the airport).
We found a fossilized tree stump there, too.
Then our time in Vieques was up, and we had to go to the airport. (Sigh.) There was no one at the car rental desk again, so they told me to leave the Jeep in the parking lot and hide the keys. (I like the way things work there.) We rolled our bags inside, checked in, and then went down to the gate area. It had seats for probably 20 people at most. The agent had told us there were two flights at the same time, and we’d be on the second. (I wondered what they were going to do about the fact that there were more than six people waiting.)
One plane loaded and took off, and then they led us out to ours. Here’s the airport! I believe it’s actually smaller than the one in Kona.
Once again, we were on the W’s private landing spot. What does it cost to fly Air W? Anyway? I can’t imagine.
Matt and I had the same seats as our previous flight, in row two. We strapped in, said hi to the pilots, and were off.
Here’s a view of the east side of the island, looking toward Isabel II.
This is Mosquito Pier from above. I still can’t get over how tiny Vieques is.
Rather than going around Puerto Rico this time, we went directly over it. This is the area near Roosevelt Roads Naval Station, south of Fajardo.
We flew around the edge of El Yunque National Forest, and I tried to pick out the fire tower we’d climbed on our last trip. I couldn’t find it in there, though.
We came in over San Juan and turned to follow the approach directly over the long causeway lined with flags. It was fantastic seeing that from the tiny plane.
Landing at such a huge airport seemed really strange. I love seeing the runway like this.
We got our carry-ons (Bally got to fly in the nose of the plane this time), then went into the baggage claim and picked up our suitcases. We had to take them upstairs in the elevator to the main part of the terminal, and bring them to the USDA inspection area before we could check them. There was a line out the door for that, of course.
We checked in with United, then wandered around the airport to check out our food options. They were severely limited, so we ended up at Air Margaritaville. At least they had sports on a million TVs. We had lunch and a couple margaritas, then headed to the plane.
There were no issues with our flight back to Chicago; we even arrived early, so we had plenty of time to make our connection. They boarded that one a little late, and we were all in our seats on the plane and ready to go when the flight attendant announced that our pilots had just landed. Um, what?
We arrived in Minneapolis much later than expected. Thanks, United!