Monday, December 21, 2015

What is That in the Bay?

Yes, I know it's the season of holidays and all should be shiny and bright, but here's a Culebra time out moment for wondering exactly what we're doing. I wasn't planning on this but I'm happy to take that baton and run with it. 

Since MaryAnn said what so many living on Culebra feel, with her well known combination of harsh truth and humor, I'm going to give her the post lectern today. Along with the comments. Facebook is a public forum, accessible by and to anyone, so I'm not outing anyone here (but if you hear some cheers when you read the comments of a few...that's me).

Before reading this, though, here is a snippet from an article by a travel writer for the Miami Herald. The title of the article is Five Islands Where Cruise Ships Won't Cramp Your Style. It was written in November of 2014. Leaders of Culebra, you want tourist dollars? Tourists travelers don't WANT cruise ships! They can be had anywhere. They want Culebra to be Culebra. Really! Just so you know. Stop this before it's too late. We're a few steps over the line, but it's not too late to get back to where we should be.

Satellites lolling off the east coast of Puerto Rico, Culebra and Vieques have yet to taste mass tourism. That’s largely because the U.S. Navy owned much of the two islands during the region’s big tourism buildup, using them for troop training and bombing practice. The Navy left Culebra in 1975, and in 2003 Camp Garcia on Vieques became conservation land administered by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Trust.
Today, the islands are gradually awakening to a tourism-focused future. But cruise ships have ignored them, leaving undeveloped beaches for you and me to explore.
Sleepy Culebra, the smaller of the two, can be explored in a leisurely couple of days. Fine snorkeling reefs shelter the island’s beaches, several of which are reached on unmarked trails. Flamenco, a mile-long semi-circle of pillow-soft sand, regularly appears on lists of the Caribbean’s greatest beaches — just one small hotel and a campground overlook Flamenco. An uninhabited offshore island, Culebrita, has other coves — a great day trip.

And now, on with the show.
This morning we could hear the sound of THE SEA MONSTAR anchored in the bay- all the way in barrio Las Delicious. All this, for more or less one hundred well fed passengers, on an all inclusive voyage?
Without public hearings or a legitimate planning process governing these major changes to our island, we can only speculate as to what agencies were thinking when they permitted this?
This is what we speculate:
“Let’s let them anchor in the bay! The bay is already so damaged from the years of mud flowing in it anyway. By the way, - who’s supposed to control that?, we are? oh whatever…the bay flushes itself with the tides and corals are just dying everywhere so who cares? What’s the deal with those negative conservationists? They are so NEGATIVE! Who cares about saving the Bay? We should be PAVING the Bay - town needs more parking! HUMMER JEEP RENTALS…This is progress! Listen to those conservationists and their baby manatees born at canal Bruli….blah blah blah, sea turtles in the bay….,blah blah blah, and then they say the nature tourists that want to see them, stay in the guest houses, put money into local restaurants, water taxis and even invest in local social programs. They say these tourists are already educated about the nature they come to see- so they don’t destroy it. They say those tourists visit Culebra for the local culture and don't want to see it spoiled by huge commercial vessels. Blah Blah Blah.... It’s all more nature ….blah blah blah….We can get that by just pretending…hell look at the signs all over town from BADCAFFEINEDRINK saying “Preserve Flamenco Beach” What else do we really need to do? Those conservation a-holes just want to stop “progress” on Culebra! We are "SELLabrating" our resources. 
AND….what about what they say about the bombs? Everybody knows the bombs on the NOAA charts are just a scam so that Army Corps contractors can spend millions in federal funds pretending to clean them up! The conservation a holes even accuse Army Corps of this! 
What have the local fishermen and conservationists ever done for Culebra anyway? Well…. except that Marine Protected Area, oh yeah and those coral farms…and oh yeah years ago, the local fishermen helped to organize the end of US NAVY and NATO abuse of these islands as military target practice…but really, besides that? 
At least finally we can all rejoice at seeing the floating condo-hotel of progress grinding its engines and belching diesel in the bay! A natural resource isn't a “resource” unless you exploit it!” That’s human nature and we are the humans! We are the POSITIVE humans…"Welcome Tourist!" The Negative humans want to protect coastal water quality blah blah blah……never good enough for them! More=More and When in the Caribbean hasnt more been better....well besides what happened to most of the smaller Caribbean islands from this....besides that." 
NEXT WEEK’s prediction: 
“ Wait…What did you say? The high-demand tourists from the cruise are complaining about local service times? They’re not tipping? They are not happy on this little nature island? They did not like their “G-FORCE” taxi ride to the beach, even though technically they were younger when they arrived given the physical ramifications of exceeding light speed as you launch into the air on the hill on the way to Flamenco… What? …
They are dissing Culebra on Trip Advisor?” they are calling it
“Another Paradise Spoiled” 
Damn, who could have seen that coming?” 
Louis Padron Fu@k this boat!
LikeReply414 hrs
Louis Padron We do deserve a public hearing! !!!!!
LikeReply314 hrs
Rob Kingsley Sink it! More artificial reef for coral to cling to !!! Just kidding...
LikeReply614 hrs
Jake Brown F the cruise ships!! Culebra is not for them...
LikeReply614 hrs
Charlie Pena I've suggest have a public hearing, and let them how destructive this big liners are. From my observation all they want to do is use the beaches in Culebra without spending any money. Have the alcalde talk to them and make them understand.
LikeReply313 hrs
Ann Hamrick We don't want that thing here. It doesn't help our economy much. Let it drive by on its way to St Thomas.
LikeReply613 hrs
Judith E. Clark Contact the cruise line and suggest off shore stop not in the bay and organize some local activities where the locals can benefit?
LikeReply213 hrs
Judith E. Clark Just an idea to get some money flowing. How often does it come in? Maybe some music in the plaza where local people can set up their wares? Just saying
LikeReply313 hrs
Coralations Culebra We can put on a show!
LikeReply110 hrs
MJ  Stark
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Ile Rivera Rigau Culebra has become the island of no laws. No one cares, no one who can act on them does nothing, and local citizens look to the other side and continue on. Wake up people!!
LikeReply412 hrs
Wanda Soto Frustration !
LikeReply112 hrs
Charlie Pena The islands are going to have more problem, look at New York, Baltimore, Virginia beach, Miami, California, the water ways are green, u can't see anything below 6 inches and getting worse. You can do something about, tell that governor to start collecting fees for the y
LikeReply28 hrsEdited
Coralations Culebra fees wont protect the water quality Charlie- it only acts as incentive
LikeReply10 hrs
MJ  Stark
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Hector Colón Culebra belongs to the people of Puerto Rico, not to culebreños less to resident Americans. Or not?
LikeReply9 hrsEdited
Digna Feliciano Digalo en espanol porque no entendi.
Say it in English because I don't get it.Automatically Translated
UnlikeReply411 hrs
Charlie Pena Culebra belongs to the culebrenses not the crooked government of puerto Rico, like my great grandfather, grandfather and other who fought to keep the island from becoming a trash dump.
LikeReply29 hrs
Hector Colón Culebra is a Segment of The Puerto Rican Territory. The beaches, for example, belon TO Puerto Ricans, not to Culebrans.
LikeReply9 hrsEdited
Digna Feliciano Hector Colon, I think you have all wrong, that is not the issue. But nevertheless we as Culebrenses have to take care of our back yard because you and other puertorricans from the main island are not going to do it for us. And by the way, when most of the people come camping to their beaches, because you say the beaches belong to all puertorricans, they trash the place and we Culebrenses have to clean after them.
UnlikeReply99 hrs
Charlie Pena hector colon, like the rest of Puerto Rico, u can't even take care the beaches in the main island. did u volunteer to help when the navy was destroying Culebra and vieques. Like a lot Puerto Rican u have no regards for the hard working culebrenses, so butt out and stay with the rest of miscreants. By the way according to your statement, next time I come down to the island, I will need your house to stay.
LikeReply18 hrsEdited
Kristen Camaret Hector, you are correct that in land ownership terms, Culebra is a property of the commonwealth of Puerto Rico. But what you seem to be missing is that the CULEBRENSE are the people taking ownership over their natural resources (and this includes resident Americans, btw...who call Culebra home and fight for her more than any main island Puerto Rican). Puerto Rico has mis-managed their resources. The main island is trashed. The government has allowed development to destroy the island (the now dead bio bay in Las Croabas is just one example). Puerto Ricans come from the big island and I've watched them throw their trash in the pristine waters as they wait for the ferry home. They feel no sense of 'home' on Culebra. They are the tourists there! They trash it and leave. Or they see opportunity to exploit. Puerto Ricans buy land in Culebra and block beach access for locals or attempt to create huge developments; condos, hotels, marinas. The CULEBRENSE are the people fighting every day for decades to protect their home. Culebra wouldn't be what it is today without them ....and Coralations.
LikeReply15 hrs
MJ  Stark
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Coralations Culebra Miran Hector - Los recursos naturales nosotros defendamos es recurso compartir por el todo mundo---- madre tierra- los manatis, corales y las yerbqs marinas no tengo banderas - no comprendo los limitas myopica de humanidad- Danandos ambiental impacto todos en la planteta punto!
Look Hector - the natural resources we defend it's appeal to share for the whole world ---- Mother Earth-the manatis, corals and marine yerbqs I don't have flags - I don't understand the limit of humanity-myopica danandos environmental impact all at the coconut point!Automatically Translated
LikeReply410 hrs
Coralations Culebra Silencio--- gracia a Dios- el Monstro se fue---
Silence --- Grace to God-the monster is gone ---Automatically Translated
LikeReply210 hrs
Nan Flolid I agree Jake.
LikeReply110 hrs
Maria R Procaccino Disgusting.... $$$hungry..
LikeReply10 hrs
Melanie Vanderveen Where's that ship from, any way?
LikeReply10 hrs
Paul Franklin Few years back, I sailed to St. Thomas with Wonki. Once there, Wonki said: "Sky's dark. See if you can find a cafe, to check the weather."
I set off. Nearby was a little town of souvenir stores, beauty and liquor stores, set up for the cruise ship passengers, like a grander version of the one set up at the DNR dock here, for local artisans, but with an internet cafe.
I strode through the big wide open gates, sat and ordered café.
"Where you from, now?" asked the 'proprietor', all proud and friendly like, as you'd expect of a proprietor.
"Culebra," I answered, equally proud and friendly.
He mused a little, "Where's that's ?" he asked.
"Huh... Uh, there," I pointed. "Right there!"
He furrowed his brow too. "Never heard of it," he said. "I'm closing now," he added. That made sense, the last of the cruise ship passengers were hauling themselves up the gangplank, onto the big ship, and all the other store's 'owners' were closing up too. I watched them follow the last of the passengers onto the ship.
LikeReply19 hrs
David M Smith NO !!! NO!!! NO!!!!!! Please stop this monster from being part of our world... Debbie  
LikeReply9 hrs
Lillian Giddens Yes
Dammed them
Who do we need to talk to...See More
LikeReply8 hrs
Iris Rivera Oh boy!! What can we really do!! It is election time? I am only new to this game. 😟
LikeReply7 hrs
Kristen Camaret I know you all will not let this happen. Go get them, my friends!
LikeReply5 hrs
Natalie Perez its just toooooo much bul shit to handle from babylon......................................thank god for the culebrenses!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
UnlikeReply24 hrs
MJ  Stark
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