Vieques Ferry View – October 2022
Whether floating down on final approach, or cresting waves steadily toward port, the first view of a new destination always gets the butterflies dancing about my stomach. It’s the excitement of the unknown that really gets me, of course. Unearthing new uncommon discoveries, reveling in new connections… It’s what I live for! In the particular case of the coastline pictured above, though, my usual feelings of excitement were mixed with trepidation. That, you see, is the Vieques Ferry view I enjoyed just a few days ago. My first real look at Vieques.
As a born-‘n-bred Crucian, Vieques is an island that I’ve long known much about. St Croix is less than 50 miles to the southeast. Also, many Viequenses moved to St Croix in the early-mid-20th century, creating an indelible bond between the two islands.
As close as my home island and Vieques are, both physically and culturally, though, I’ve somehow never visited until now. And as I like to say, if you haven’t visited a particular place, how can you really know it?
What I think I know is that Vieques is one of the most star-crossed islands in the entire Caribbean. It’s turbulent history of subjugation at the hands of the U.S. Military is not news. Neither is the island’s struggles since Hurricane Maria in 2017.
What lasting effect have those (and other) hardships had on Vieques? What remains of the real, authentic Vieques today? I mean, it all looks great from the Vieques Ferry, but what’s it really like here?
I’m only in Vieques for a couple days, so I don’t expect to find all the answers this time. Hopefully, though, this initial brief visit will start me on a path to finally, really and truly getting to know someplace I’ve long loved from not that afar.