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Welcome to STEPHANIEOCKO.COM

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This site is designed to
let your imagination fly. It will introduce you
to some unusual travel experiences. It doesn't suggest
the best hotels or restaurants,
but it will lay out the territory where you
might be able to find one interesting adventure
and link up with some of the finest travel
companies on the planet and other explorers
like yourself.
So dream a lot,
plan a little. Then go.
Enjoy!



A Jaguar thinks it over.

 

AFTER THE STORM

 

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Photo: oceanservice.noaa.gov/Ambrose1-b.jpg

 Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria have left fields of destruction on their paths from the middle of the Atlantic Ocean to the coast of  Texas, islands in the Caribbean, especially Puerto Rico, and Florida in the first weeks of September.

The eye of a hurricane: https://youtu.be/v6vypwhluEg

Some places have been devastated. It will take months to rebuild Barbuda, Puerto Rico, and parts of the Virgin Islands. Sadly, residents of many small islands in the Caribbean, like Domenica, have lost their homes,  electricity, water, trees, fruitful gardens, schools and churches, as well as hotels and restaurants getting ready for the important winter tourist season.

At this writing, volunteer agencies ask individuals eager to volunteer not to come alone. Join a group, many of which are listed with National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, VOAD, which acts as a clearing house of current knowledge and best recovery efforts for helping specific areas. Money donations are always welcome, as needs in each locale may differ. See: https://www.nvoad.org/ .

French, Dutch, British, and American disaster relief personnel supplied basics to their respective islands. But the disasters demand some time just to get your head around them. "It came out of the ocean screaming like a woman in childbirth," said a resident about Maria in Puerto Rico.

If you plan to vacation in a few months, check out some of the hardest hit: the Florida Keys, Miami, Naples, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Bahamas, Cuba, St Martin, St Barts, Guadaloupe, Antigua, the British Virgin Islands, especially Tortola, Anguilla, Turks and Caicos, and above all, Barbuda which was levelled. As a tourist, you can help by enjoying what they offer as their best.

**** Quick updates: For the hardest hit, power and water problems might linger, and you might hear the rumble of diesel generators here and there. Most roads are cleared, but some beach roads are not, giving a sense of the terrible impact mostly of Maria, but also of Irma. Above all, spirits are high. The future looks good.

 

Barbuda: The island had a small but important tourism presence, and suffered devastation. For more on how rebuilding is coming along, see a daily blog and click on the link "Visiting." Spending some time on Antigua is highly recommended first.

http://www.barbudaful.net/jlnews.html

 

Its sister island Antigua is enjoying a rise in cruise traffic.

 

Puerto Rico is a federal disaster zone from its encounter with Hurricane Maria on September 20, but its beautiful beaches, though changed in some cases (sand moves around), always welcome tourists. The airport is open; only some resorts are still closed while working on reopening; but most hotels are open. You might share services with relief workers. But remember, your tourist dollars are gold to Puerto Rico now, and greatly appreciated. For an update, see https://islandsofpuertorico.com/puerto-rico-tourism-after-hurricane-maria/

 

stjohnusvi.cinnamon-beach-building-shell.jpgThe U.S. Virgin Islands, St Croix, St Thomas, and St John are doing the best they can with restored power and water.  Debris was a big problem, as the National Park Service moved steadily west to east in its clean-up. The Malids Turtles which once spent a lot of time in St John have moved temporarily elsewhere, but are expected back. The Emerald Beach Hotel has reopened on St Thomas, and St Croix's famous Buccaneer Hotel is up and running. St Thomas is open for cruise ships. Best source is a daily blog: www.newsofstjohn.com

The  good news is a $243million HUD grant to rebuild. "Everyday gets a little bit better," said a resident.

 

On the laid-back British Virgin Islands, tourist life is slowly coming into focus again, as scientists map the ocean floor around the islands and study storm wind patterns. The popular luxury tent Anegada Beach Club has reopened http://anegadabeachclub.com/

 

For ANIMAL ADVENTURES, click Link above   Cecil_the_lion_at_Hwange_National_Park.jpg