Tips for Living in the Pilot House & Casita Omi
Here are some tips to make your life easier while living in the Pilot House and Casita Omi. Dayanara Cruz is our house manager. Dayanara speaks English very well. Tell her if anything is wrong or broken. Her telephone number is (787) 435-9745. Her husband, Jose Cordero is our repair person. His number is 787-435-2799. Dayanara has an e-mail address which is email@example.com. They will get in touch with us. Manuel Gavino is our gardener and comes most evening to water the plants. His phone number is (787) 741-0556. You are welcome to get in touch with us directly as well at 703-920-4077 or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. It is important to let Dayanara know your travel arrangements and when you expect to arrive. She will meet you, take you to your car rental, lead you to the house, and give you the keys and the clicker to the gate which is electronic.
- All local calls need the area code 787 dialed before the rest of the number. For example, our Pilot House number is 787-741-1769. In Vieques, when asked for your number, it is customary just to say “1769” since everyone has the same 787 area code and 741 prefix unless they use a cell phone.
- There is a voice mail system. The number to call to pick up messages is taped to the back of each phone. It is 787-959-7000. When you dial, you’ll be asked to enter a code. The code is “JOSEF”. You are welcome to use it and to change the voice mail greeting to be your own. If you do, please make a new greeting message when you leave that says, “Dean Anderson and Elaine Gurian’s home”.
- To call long-distance, please use your own calling card or credit card or cell phone so that all such long distance charges are billed directly to you.
- The Casita does not have a telephone so having a cell phone if you stay at the Casita is very useful.
- Break-ins and petty theft is common in Vieques and all savvy travelers plan accordingly. Violent crime is very rare.
- Please lock all downstairs doors whenever leaving the house – no matter for how short a time. Locking means locking the door handle and the deadbolt. The key to the deadbolt should never be left in the door but hang on the wall next to the door in its own hook. At night please lock all downstairs doors before retiring. All doors have screens and ventanas (louvers) so that air circulates freely.
- Close the driveway gate all the time unless you are expecting company. The gate is electronic and can be opened by the clicker Dayanara will give you.
- You can leave the porch furniture on the porch during your stay but take all other things that you care about inside when you go to sleep or go out. If you have cameras and electronics you treasure, or a lot of cash, put them away from view, or in the lockable laundry room when you go out. You will be given that key. Making sure the house is locked with its deadbolt should be enough for most things.
- Lock your car whenever you leave it at the beach or downtown. The alternative is to take everything with you, leave your car unlocked and leave someone to mind your stuff at the beach. Theft from your car at the beach, especially from rental cars, is very common. Take nothing valuable to the beach that will be left unattended, and be especially careful to park your car where you can see it at the beach. If you take your wallet or your camera than swim in such a way as to watch it or make sure that you have hidden it in the locked car.
Our doors are our pride and joy. Both houses have wonderful doors that were made on the island. When open they make the inside and outside indistinguishable. Each of the doors has security bars that are invisible and the glass is hurricane proof. All the ventanas when open make the air circulate wonderfully within each room. However the doors need care:
- Please open them carefully and do not force any locks.
- Please close them by using both the upper and lower locks.
- To open the doors in the living room in the Casita please walk them outward slowly so that they do not hit any of the ceiling joists.
- All doors need all the stoppers down whenever you open them because the wind will catch them.
- All the ventana windows need to be closed before you open the doors so that the windows do not bang into each other or the walls.
- The doors are probably not something that very small children should open or close. They are heavy. Please caution them all to treat the doors with tender loving care.
- All the louvered windows can be opened when you arrive, left opened when you are here, and closed when you leave for good. They have security bars in them.
- The windows in the kitchen of both the Casita and Casa Piloto and the one window in the master bedroom of Piloto near the bed face the direction of the prevailing trade winds, and therefore most of the rainstorms. Given these winds, it often rains horizontally in Puerto Rico. Therefore if rain threatens, please close these windows. It is probably a good idea to tilt these downward and leave them only partially open most of the time anyway. Rain quickly dries and does no real damage, but it is messy and can make the floor slippery.
Both the Casa Piloto and Casita Omi are wired with wifi but sometimes seem finiky. The password for the Casita is Casita Omi and for the Pilot House the wep number is 36F1EA630C. The surge protector in the lock room is for the porch; the living-room desk surge protector is on top of the desk plugged in. There is another surge protector in the closet filing cabinet in the middle bedroom.
- The copy machine normally lives in the closet of my office. It is a canon i560. You are welcome to use it.
Our gateway is coquinet.com and that may be a code you will need to put in. Some do and some don”t.
- Our television in the Pilot House is nect to our vcr.. You can rent films in Isabel II for $2 a night. There is a second, more out-of-the-way place with tapes for $1 a night. If you want an adventure ask someone how to find Chepito’s.
- We have a dish service with 200 stations. The Casita does not have a TV.
Vieques Events is a monthly publication that you can get at the visitors bureau in Isabel or at many shops. It has the telephone numbers of all things. There is now a Vieques phone book as well. You will find these in the living room desk of the Pilot House or the side table of the Casita.
There is a shelf of Puerto Rico resources in the master bedroom in the Pilot House. It is quite a good collection of most things you might want to know. Please leave it all here when you leave but enjoy it while you are here.
- There is a small collection of Puerto Rico cookbooks in both houses so that you can make the local cuisine.
The fiction upstairs is yours to read. If you are in the middle of the book when you leave, feel free to take it. Similarly, you are welcome to leave anything you have finished and don’t want. You can trade used books at a number of shops in Esperanza for free and can buy used books at Beach Doggies for $1.
You are welcome to use all the durable foodstuffs you find here, but please replace anything you use up.
- You are welcome to add any spices you think we might need but don’t have.
- Dayanara will take any spoilable food when you leave.
Breakage & Replacement
- Please replace everything you use up (non-perishable food and alcohol) with like products.
- Please replace anything that you break with products as close to the broken item as possible.
- The houses each have a color scheme. The pilot house is blue and white. The Casita is maroon (dark red), rust, and green. Please return the material to the right house when you are leaving and buy the right colors when replacing anything.
- Please don’t leave shells in the house.
- If you are an artist, please DO leave a piece of artwork here. All the artwork already here is has been done by local artists, people who have stayed in the house, or is tourist art (much from an earlier era.) The photos in the Pilot House in the living room and the kitchen are mine and many of the paintings were done in my youth. If you leave an original piece of art, you probably will find it framed, hung up and written about, the next time you come.
- If you go to the beach, you’ll find that the house gets quite sandy if you do not wash your feet before entering. There is a hand shower on the way into the Pilot House, a hose in the parking space near the casita and a full outside shower near the garage in the Casita. Kids especially like taking outside showers. Sweeping frequently will keep the sand out of your bed.
- Sweep the decks occasionally because sand (sea salt, actually) attracts ants.
- Both houses have washing machines and driers. The laundry room in the Casita is near the garage. The washing machine and drier in the Pilot House is old but has been recently repaired and still works very well. Please empty the lint trap in the door of the drier after each use.
- You are welcome to use all the beach equipment, which you will find on the lower shelf in the lock room in the Pilot House or a closet in the Casita. The folding beach chairs are especially tempting to car thieves so please lock your car when you have them in on board. We tend to carry them around all the time. The woven rush mats are nice as well. The beach toys are yours to use.
- Please take only the towels that are not solid colors (such as stripes, pictures, etc.) to the beach, leaving the solid color towels for use in the house. That keeps your inside towel from being all sandy.
We have an extermination service so you shouldn’t see many/any ants or other instects. Let Dyanara if you do. Do not mess with any you see becuase some are a little nasty if they bite. Stay clear of centapeeds and call Dayanara if you see one. Kecko’s on your wall are good things. Mosquito’s and No-see-ums can’t be helped. Spraying is good.
- Please do the dishes, tuck the printer in the closet, strip the beds, and lock the doors.
- Please move the porch furniture into the living room.
- Please make arrangements with Dayanara to return the key or tell her where to find it in the house when she comes to clean up. It is important for her to know when you are leaving.
- The tiles are slippery when wet, so please be careful especially when going down the outdoor steps after it’s rained. The tiles are lethal with Crocs so please take them off and walk barefoot if it has rained.
- There is one hammock in each house. The Pilot house hooks are on the front porch and the Casita hooks are on the upstairs bedroom. Enjoy.
- There is a folding crib, a high chair and a blow up queen size mattress in one of the houses. If you need any of them, tell Dayanara who will make sure that they are in the correct house you are staying in.
- There are toys, games and books for children in both houses. You are welcome to use them. Again if you wish Dayanara to get you the toys from the other house just let her know.
- There are beach toys in each house. Ask Dayanara if you wish more. We recommend wearing beach shoes and flip flops because the beach has prickles getting to and from the car.
- There are two garbage cans in their own wall niche outside the driveway gate, next to the street. It’s best to line the kitchen trashcan with disposable liners, and deposit those when full directly into the garbage.
- There is regular trash collection in Vieques.
- At the moment there is no useful bottle or can recycling so you can mix them together. This may change soon.
Dogs, Cats, & Other Creatures
- There are many neighborhood pets that will come to visit. They are generally smart and friendly, they are loved on the porch but are not allowed inside the house. Please buy dogfood. You are welcome to feed them and please leave water for them on the porch. There are dog bowls for that purpose. They often sleep on the porch and will protect the house.
- The small brown dogs are Nacho and Canella. We have a dog named Sunshine but he will have moved on to other houses if we are not here. If he comes and wishes to stay with you, please feed him and have him stay. He is a wonderful dog. Sometimes cats adopt the house as well. The dogs love to be petted.
- Roosters and chickens will wander through the yard and eat dog food, geckos are everywhere (including in the house, which is OK because they eat bugs), and iguanas are in the neighborhood. Steer clear of iguanas; they can bite but they do not like people. Bats live under the roof but not in the house. We like having them because they eat mosquitoes.
- There are no snakes but there are tarantulas so advise children not to touch spiders. There are fire ants outside so please wear shoes when on the ground.
- The horses are a pasa fino mix, descendents of the horses of the Conquistadors. They may wander freely but each belongs to a young person who will ride them as their transportation. Some horses are now valuable and many people keep theirs locked up. There is now a rental service if you wish to ride. However do not let the horses in our yard, they will eat the plants. Most houses have their property fenced in order to keep the horses away from their plantings. If they enter, shout at them and help them exit.
Have a great time.
We love it here and hope you will too.