New Photoshoot of Villa Capri

Since we've replaced almost all of the inside furnishings, outside furnishings, hurricane damage we thought it was about time to redo a photoshoot. We hired the awesome folks at Brilliant Studios to do an amazing job and they delivered!

David Gallardo is just an awesome photographer and also uses a high-powered drone as well as underwater camera to capture the essence of the villa. 

 

 

6 Brand New 5 Star Reviews for Villa Capri!

We're pretty excited that our guests are loving Villa Capri. After all we've put a lot of hard work and LOVE into our villa. 

Check out the wonderful reviews from our guests. But here are some quotes:

"Amazing villa, pictures do not do it justice, fantastic location, beautiful views of Chalk Sound."

"We walked in to find a gorgeous bowl of fresh fruit and a few local beers, sodas, and waters in the fridge! The sound system was great, and we played music all week."

"The owners have thought of every detail. And what a fantastic team they have working with them."

"We snorkeled right off our platform and saw crabs, fish, and lobsters."

" We loved the property, Chalk Sound, and the owners and will visit again when possible. This trip will be one of the favorites that I look back on. Thank you!"

But read them all for yourself!

The Perfect Day Trip to Parrot Cay

The private island of Parrot Cay has been longed looked as as a haven for beauty as well as celebrity. The likes of Bruce Willis, Christy Brinkley, Keith Richards and Robert De Niro all spend lots of time on Parrot Cay. So, why can't we? Well, we can! And maybe you can spot a celeb who's under 60!

Of course we want you to enjoy Villa Capri, your luxury vacation rental, but you gotta get out sometime and explore right?

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There is one resort and only one resort on Parrot Cay, COMO Resort and Spa and you get there by boat; either theirs, or via Caicos Caribbean. 

You Need a Reservation

No last minute decisions here folks, they need to take care of their overnight guests first, which means that if it's crowded over there chances are your'e not getting in. Keith needs a beach chair after all (or a wheelchair, you decide!).  Also make reservations at this time for lunch and spa if you're doing that (more on that below). How do you request a resie? Email them at pcfrontoffice AT comohotels.com.

How Much is It?

The "day pass" as of this writing is $100 per person. It basically gets you:

  • Transportation on their boat
  • A ride to COMO Parrot Cay, the resort
  • Beach chairs
  • Pool chairs
  • Non motorized watersports (Hobie, kayak, SUP)
  • Bicycles to explore the island
  • Trailhead, there is a 2.5 mile one way hiking/running trail to the water. if you're interested. 

How Do You Get There?

Once your reservation is confirmed, they'll tell you the exact departure times for the day you're spending there. Typically, you board the boat around 9ish. They have their own private dock located at the Leeward roundabout. Turn right towards Blue Haven then take your first left, go down to your 2nd right and you'll see the sign for Parrot Cay. It's not super well marked so be on the lookout. Park in the parking lot on the right, and wait in the luxury building they've built for you. Then sit back and enjoy a 25-30 minute boat ride past Little Water Cay (Iguana Island), Delis Cay and Pine Cay.

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Once You Arrive...

Your 'chariot' awaits! A lovely person takes you on a 10-15 minute golf cart ride to COMO. Relax, they only go 5 miles an hour :-)

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You'll probably get there just in time to eat breakfast, as they close around 10:30. We hear their breakfast is epic, but we wanted beach time!

Beach Time!

If you don't want breakfast head down the path to the beach to grab some beach chairs, they start to "go" around noon-ish so stake your claim.

 Path to the beach!

Path to the beach!

The guys who set you up are amazing. Then order some Domaine OTT Rosé or a yummy mimosa and you're on your way to a beautiful and peaceful morning. 

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 You can't contain your happy!

You can't contain your happy!

Did Someone Say Lunch?

You can eat lunch wherever you want - the beach, the bar, the restaurant, the pool. We opted for the bar (shocker!) and this menu DOES NOT DISAPPOINT! We had the Pad Thai and the steak skewers, YUM! The bar overlooks the lovely ocean, beach and pool as does Lotus restaurant. 

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Birthday Treats!

Last September we were supposed to go to Parrot Cay for Janine's birthday, but low and behold Irma and Maria stole it! We couldn't get back and COMO was closed for upgrades and repairs so we've been trying for the perfect day to get back there. At lunch we were surprised with a wonderful chocolate mousse birthday cake, thanks to our lovely host Caterina! Note: If you've got a special occasion, they make it even better. 

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Back to the Beach, Pool OR SPA!

Ask for a golf cart escort to the spa or ride a bike so you can drink up every last minute of this awesome spot. We opted for the COMO Shambhala Massage and it was amazing. 90 minutes took some time away from the beach but it was totally worth it!! Get a cart and go back to the beach because the last boat leaves at 5ish, so continue soothing your soul with a refreshing bevvie. Make sure you get back to the main house by 4:45 so you don't miss it the cart back to the boat, or just miss it and stay :-)

 The ginormous pool overlooks the turquoise waters!

The ginormous pool overlooks the turquoise waters!

All in all a wonderful day at Parrot Cay, we have Caterina our host to thank for that!

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So get your butt to Parrot Cay, you'll love it. Who knows maybe you'll get a selfie with Bruce!

Another Happy Guest and New Railings!

It's been a few weeks since our last update but it's a good one! Villa Capri is officially BETTER than before Hurricane Irma/Maria and we couldn't be happier. 

It's not that wordy but it's another 5 star review: "Home has everything you’d need. Breathtaking views. Immaculate home. Private." Sweet!

While we needed replacement railings for the GLASS railings that shattered (no thanks to the builder who did not use hurricane glass, COSMO), so our amazing contractor Princie built us temporary wooden railings that more than did the trick. 

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Before...

Still beautiful :-)

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After!

Even more awesome!

Here are just a few pix of the railing installation. 

Thanks to Keuka Studios in NY where we bought the railings. They do an amazing job of drawing, creating, fabricating and shipping exactly what you need. 

 Glass that was stuck in the palm tree!

Glass that was stuck in the palm tree!

John was sawing fronds off of the palm trees (yeah that's what he does now, saw fronds :-) on the patio and found GLASS from the damn railings STUCK in the palm tree. 

We also now have cable and internet sorted out, thanks to People's TV and Flow. Hey Flow, can we have fiber out Chalk Sound someday? Pretty please?

Now that the "fixing" of Villa Capri is finished we're moving on to making it even better. 

The outdoor shower will be installed in January and we'll be installing a frame around the outdoor TV. 

Our GoFundMe Page

We are expecting to get a donation of $10,000!!!! Holy crap! More on that in another update, we don't want to jinx it. We've got a few ideas of what we'll do with it. 

Villa Capri's First Review Post Hurrican Irma + Our GoFundMe Update

We were SO happy to get back to what we love to do; accept guests to one of our favorite places on Earth, Villa Capri! Our first guest arrived and check out what Kathy had to say in her 5 STAR REVIEW!

"Celebrated in Style!

Eight of us rented this property to celebrate a 50th birthday and it was perfect. The layout of the house is such so that each room has its own bathroom in the corners of the house and that afforded everyone their own area of the house for privacy. The common areas of the kitchen and living room were large and didn't feel crowded when we all gathered together to cook when it was too rainy outside to grill. 

But, even when it rained and we wanted to be outside, we all sat around the large table outside the kitchen which was perfect to still enjoy the beauty of Chalk Bay and not feel cooped up due to weather. I loved walking out by the pool and finding each one of my friends spread out around the property reading books or listening to music and getting their quiet time each morning. We never felt crowded. 

Another highlight for me was having a yoga instructor teach yoga to four of us by the pool with a view of the bay in front of us. Completely relaxing. 

The owners seem to have thought of everything. The house is on a quiet road further away from traffic and other businesses, which was a bonus for us, but we hardly wanted or needed to leave. The kayaks, paddle boards, masks and snorkels, and pool toys kept all of us entertained and we enjoyed being able to play in the Sound without having to go rent equipment. 

Our original villa was damaged due to Hurricane Irma and Janine was so communicative and helpful in the weeks leading up to our visit, we were able to relax and trust that everything would be exactly as pictured when we arrived and it was. 

We loved the property, Chalk Sound, and the owners and will visit again when possible. This trip will be one of the favorites that I look back on. Thank you!"  Kathy T.

Kathy we can't thank you and your friends enough for this review!

We just had our second guests arrive and leave, hopefully with the same sentiment. Our third guests arrive tomorrow then we get to go back and stay for a week...we cannot wait!

What's Left To Do?

Great question! As you may recall we installed temporary wooden (beautiful) railings. Our new cable railings have made it to the island but we've had awesome guests staying there so we have not been able to install them. We'll be doing that in a week or two. 

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We'll also be installing an outdoor shower and putting a frame around the outdoor TV to protect it but also it will just look cooler. 

And that's about it! So we'll keep blogging here but we probably won't be bugging you in email so much.

Our Turks and Caicos GoFundMe Update

It’s really amazing to see the island coming together, whether it’s repairs to schools & churches, small businesses or the resorts. Everyone is rushing to complete their repairs, and in many cases improvements, in time for peak tourist season. All of this is helping get the economy back in gear and families functioning again! 

As you know our second big materials delivery was for 125 more pieces of plywood and 100 rolls of ‘peel & stick’ an adhesive roofing material that applies over the plywood to create a watertight seal. 100 rolls of this compared to a grand total of 625 pieces of plywood may sound a little out of whack, but 100 rolls covers almost 20,000 square feet and 625 pieces of 4’ x 8’ plywood covers about 20,000 square feet too.

The distribution is underway, we actually drove past a truck hauling a bunch of materials on Tuesday, and it happened to be THE actual truck that was transporting some of the plywood and peel & stick you donated to several schools here. Sometimes it takes a week or so to get info back on exactly which schools and churches received the materials, but we know for sure that the Example of Christ Ministry, the Rock of Jesus Ministry and the Community Fellowship Ministry & School were among the grateful recipients.

When we get more pictures we'll share them with you. We thank you so much for your donations, it has really helped the great people of Turks and Caicos. 

Oh yeah, we're inching closer to our goal of $35,000! We’re at $32,150 now. Big thanks to all of you, to Island Bargains for getting the shipments in for us and thanks to Captain Miller and the TCI Salvation Army for making sure it went to the right places! 

Guests Have Arrived at Villa Capri!

We are pleased to announce that after months of work Villa Capri is open for business! A huge thanks goes to our amazing GC Princie, our awesome 'Mr. Fixit' Ednel and his team, and our brilliant property managers Dinesh, Faye and team at Island Escapes. Everyone worked hard to get us back to normal so thanks to everyone. 

Oh yeah, John got a shard of glass in his eye while cleaning and is still feeling it weeks later. Sorry Johnny!

Anyhoo, here are a few pix of the Villa all done up. Two things:

  1. Remember, the outdoor railings are temporary and they still look awesome! Snazzy new cable railings reached the boat this past Monday to arrive this coming week. The challenge will be finding a time to install when we don't have guests!
  2. These pictures are the latest and greatest of the indoor furniture replacement, ceiling fan and indoor lighting fixture so they don't look like the pictures on this website. We were just talking to our photographer about updating the pictures since we've done so much...but Irma paid us a visit. So here you get to see the new, even more modern, look.

In a SHORT 46 days we did this!

  • Pool emptied, cleaned out and refilled - DONE
  • Pergola repaired, new refrigerator installed, cabinet doors fixed - DONE
  • Kitchen kick plates installed, kitchen island repaired - DONE
  • New glass in every window on the back of the house - DONE
  • New tile floor molding around the entire house - DONE
  • New railings around the patio - DONE
  • New barstools - Bonus!
  • New outdoor lighting above entrance, new outdoor lighting around the outdoor wall - DONE
  • Roof tiles replaced - DONE
  • Bedroom closet removed and fixed - DONE
  • Plus, raised $32,000 for rebuild efforts in Turks and Caicos, bought and shipped plywood and roofing materials to the island!

Speaking of our GoFundMe efforts, the next shipment of plywood hit the island this week! We bought 125 more sheets of plywood on top of the 500 sheets you allowed us to purchase already PLUS we bought 100 rolls of Peel and Seal which is the water-proof membrane that goes on top of the plywood. In the event that someone can't put shingles on their roof, this stuff would be enough to stop water from coming in.

By the way, 100 rolls of Peel and Seal = 19,500 FEET of roofing material. This is awesome, thank you all for your generosity, you're helping to get people back in their homes, back to work, school and boosting the economy!

On top of all of this, we did a quick trip to San Francisco last week to finally get our belongings out of storage and onto a truck to get to a boat in Florida to get to our final destination: Turks and Caicos! As we were there we got to see a BUNCH of lifelong friends, we miss you, come visit!

Prepping for Our First Guests!

There's been a lot of action this week at Villa Capri preparing for the busy season beginning November. We're excited to have our first post hurricane guests on November 11!

In the meantime, we will be moving into a small condo on Grace Bay so that when you are enjoying Villa Capri, we actually have a place to live. I'm writing this post on the plane to San Francisco, our previous home, where we'll be collecting our belongings, putting them on a truck and getting them on a boat to our new home. Happy!

In the meantime, I will illustrate this blog post with pictures, they're way better :-)

 Tore out most of the molding to prepare for new tile molding, will be done by Wednesday.

Tore out most of the molding to prepare for new tile molding, will be done by Wednesday.

 Tiles for the molding arrived by boat this week and are being cut around the side of the villa. 

Tiles for the molding arrived by boat this week and are being cut around the side of the villa. 

 All outdoor lights have arrived and are waiting replacement. 

All outdoor lights have arrived and are waiting replacement. 

 John did an awesome job on lounge clean up duty!

John did an awesome job on lounge clean up duty!

 The bottom of the old barstools took some rust damage, so here's to Kartell plastic. 

The bottom of the old barstools took some rust damage, so here's to Kartell plastic. 

 Johnny with our brand-spanking new railings thanks to Princie our contractor! 

Johnny with our brand-spanking new railings thanks to Princie our contractor! 

And we're finally replacing the light that hangs over the front door because it was never centered. This is my "architectural" rendering outlining how it will now be centered for Ednel who will install it. Don't judge :-)

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On a side note, our GoFundMe page has done the TCI proud! The second and final shipment of 125 pieces of plywood and 100 rolls of peel and stick roofing material were ordered and are on a boat from Florida to arrive here hopefully in the next few weeks. We'll be working with our local friends to help distribute. Thank you to all who donated, every $20 helps!!

10 Tons of Rock!

It's been a few days since we've written, only because it's been a bit quiet at the villa . Since the new glass for the windows and sliding doors got installed, and the railings around the deck are almost done, we've been waiting for materials to arrive. The porcelain tiles that will replace the water damaged wood molding during Irma just arrived on island. Now we just have to wait for the tile guy who has been tied up at the Shore Club (beautiful resort) to peel himself away to do our stuff.

Did we mention how impossible it is to find people to do the work that is needed? We are LUCKY to have our GC Princie who is working on 3 villas on Chalk Sound. 

We went to DoIt Center (Home Depot-like) and ordered 10 tons of white rock to cover some ground that we had to remove in order to get rid of some broken glass, thanks Irma. This is what 10 tons looks like. Our buddies Kirkwood and his brother Keith have a crew that have been helping spread it around. 

Side note: It's amazing how some things go ssssllllloooowww on this island but others go LIGHTNING fast. As we were ordering the 10 tons of rock they said "well you can't get this delivered today...it's 3pm already. Is tomorrow ok?" They promised to deliver between 1-5, at 8am they called saying the rock was on it's way...whattttt? We were clearly thinking it would be a week at least!

 10 tons of rock!

10 tons of rock!

 the rock makes it look awesome thanks Kirkwood!

the rock makes it look awesome thanks Kirkwood!

Our trusty handy-guy Ednel started on 10 smaller projects around the villa. At this point in our relationship, Ednel knows Villa Capri more than we do! We love that guy. He'll start on painting (Irma stole the paint from our walls), repairing the cabinets in the outdoor kitchen, tightening railings and replacing lights that Irma also stole. That B was a thief!

On another bright note, last Saturday Chalk Sound had a block party to celebrate the spirit of everyone through the Irma mayhem. Since there is an awesome mix of people that live here full time and tourists, it was nice to meet our neighbors. John worked a mean grill, we think he flipped over 100 burgers and dogs. The kids enjoyed the bouncy house, we hung with our new buddy and neighbor Anna Maria. 

What's happening in Turks and Caicos...

Regarding the island, things are bustling. We drove by the Fish Fry last night as they were setting up, and there were a ton of tents getting ready for the Thursday night celebration. There are now way more open restaurants than closed ones, I can count the closed restaurants on one hand at this point. Ok maybe two. Of note one of our faves is Somewhere Cafe, which announced opening on November 6. Bugaloos is not open yet, we were out with Omar (the GM) the other night and he says they're trying for November 1. Las Brisas is now saying it might not open until after December, more on that as we know. Kalooki's and Da Conch Shack are not open as of yet, they took it pretty hard. 

Most of the kids are back to school, even if they are makeshift schools. More than 70% of the island now has power. Most of the island has Internet and cable, Chalk Sound does not yet. At the villa we do have these cool routers where you can do light surfing, check email, etc. Who needs TV anyway, enjoy the views and listen to music!

Although a lot of vegetation got wiped out, it's coming back strong and fast. We've had some good rainstorms here in the past few weeks (NOT good for people with roof issues) but it's helping on that front. 

The Plywood Has Landed!

What an awesome Monday! Finally, our 500 sheets of plywood, 4' x 8' x 5/8" to be exact, cleared customs and was delivered to a warehouse not far from where we're staying in Grace Bay. What a sight, the shipment took up an entire shipping container of its own.

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One pallet, about 62 sheets, couldn't fit so remained at our shipping partners Island Bargains’ warehouse. This worked out great, as we had earmarked about that many sheets for some local folks we had identified as in need of roofing material. So within about an hour of us notifying them they started to arrive at Island Bargains to load up.

As that was happening, we met with a couple of very kind &  knowledgeable people, Mark Franz from Mission of Hope and John Lawson from Island Bargains, over at the container to discuss the logistics of distributing the stock. They are very involved in charitable giving on the island, and have ‘feet on the street’ to know how to ensure goods support the right people and causes. And, as we’d quickly learned, navigating the politics of charity work is tough! Long story short, we want to make sure our goods don’t get caught up in making any particular political figure look good at the expense of really needy people and organizations.

So, first was the 2 pallets we earmarked for a small island called Salt Cay. Due to their size, they just don't get much representation, so we felt strongly about supporting them. And fortunately, a long time friend of ours, Travis and his co-worker Jose came over and offloaded the sheets from the container to a truck, which will deliver it to a barge to Salt Cay.

After discussing with Mark & John we decided the balance, about 300 sheets, will be used to help schools and churches rebuild. We couldn’t think of a better use.

Later this week, we’re going to meet with Mark, John and a couple others to decide on the next shipment, likely a combination of more plywood and peel & stick, an easy to apply waterproof roofing material that goes on top of plywood. Plus we’re planning to use a portion of the remaining funds to support an awesome program here called Back To Work, more on all that soon!

Thanks everyone who supported our GoFundMe page that allowed the donation of this plywood to help rebuild Turks & Caicos!  As we mentioned, we upped the goal to $35,000 so please share with your friends!

 Travis (right) and Jose manhandle the plywood, 2-3 sheets at a time!

Travis (right) and Jose manhandle the plywood, 2-3 sheets at a time!

 Travis got it to a warehouse where it will be shipped to Salt Cay!

Travis got it to a warehouse where it will be shipped to Salt Cay!

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Going to Salt Cay!

Thanks Travis.

Glass Cleanup, New Windows, Off the Rails!

We've said it before and we'll say it again..."No more glass railings!". We've now gone over the patio twice with a shiny new Shop Vac. Why? Bits of glass from 95' of railings can put a hurt to your house and cracks and crevices in coral stone. The coral stone is beautiful tile but man can it hold bits of glass!

 Johnny works a mean Shop Vac on the patio!

Johnny works a mean Shop Vac on the patio!

The glass also got into the landscaping and the stones on the grounds, if you didn't know it you would think we meant to have it there glistening in the sun! I went out by hand to gather some up!

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Our window and door glass started installation yesterday...all sliding doors have been installed!

 Beating a dead horse...no more glass railings. They wreaked havoc on our windows!

Beating a dead horse...no more glass railings. They wreaked havoc on our windows!

Now for the new windows...never thought we'd be so happy about GLASS!

 Brand spanking new unbroken glass in the bedroom sliders!

Brand spanking new unbroken glass in the bedroom sliders!

Our contractor Princie started with the temporary railings yesterday! We will have these in place for our guests until our new alumimum and stainless steel cable railings are fabricated and shipped. 

 Gotta love Chalk Sound, one of the BEST places in the TCI!

Gotta love Chalk Sound, one of the BEST places in the TCI!

Finally, we got one of the last parking spaces at Graceway market last night to buy some salmon for dinner...did it have to be next to the "other" yellow Mini Cooper on the island?

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John is writing the post on the update for the donation efforts from our GoFundMe page. Yesterday was not only an epic day for Villa Capri, but also for literally getting roofs over Islander's heads!

Relief Effort Update for Turks and Caicos

Schools have opened, if you are planning to come here check out Beaches Program Pack for a Purpose. You can stick school supplies in your suitcase and bring them to Beaches Resort where they will be distributed to schools!

Our GoFundMe Efforts...

Our plywood has CLEARED CUSTOMS! This means we'll be able to distribute it this week to much needed families, we will take pix and share. In addition we bought 90 tarps, a thousand plastic ties, 400 towels and will be dropping it off to a distribution center this week.

 The Mini packs a donation punch!

The Mini packs a donation punch!

So far your kind donations have purchased:

  • 300 toothbrushes
  • 300 Tubes of toothpaste
  • 40 packages of Handy Wipes
  • 115 tarps
  • 1000 plastic ties
  • 350 towels
  • 80 Tshirts
  • 500 sheets of plywood
  • 36 flashlights
  • 40 bottles of bug repellant
  • 72 pairs of work gloves

We've spent $16,873 of the $26,750 raised so far. We wanted to make sure the plywood made it to island and cleared before our next big purchase which we think might be Peel and Seal to cover the plywood. If you have donated a big THANK YOU. 

Meanwhile Back at the Villa

We went over to the villa yesterday to find that we had....POWER!! Oh the excitement of turning on ceiling fans and air conditioning. It was too much to handle. 

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Princie our awesome contractor bought a shiny brand new Shop Vac for me to...vacuum glass bits, and it works like a charm. I got about 2000 sq. feet done yesterday, more today. 

He also started to work on dismantling what was left of our railings, and he's purchased wood for our temporary railings that will go up beginning next week. One thing, because of the hurricane and everyone needing to be ready for vacation season at the same time, it's nearly impossible to find someone who isn't already taken by a big resort. And we have not only Princie, but our folks at Island Escapes who will also help us out getting ready.

The glass guy came out for his final measuring and cut of glass which will begin Monday. 

Our amazing property management company Island Escapes dropped off a HUGE palette of stuff to the villa. We were able to get into the country DUTY FREE, a generator, portable AC, lanterns, batteries, new outdoor refrigerator (Irma was rude to the one we had), replacement outdoor lights, and towels lots of them, (many used to clean water after Irma). Thanks guys!!

On a side note, the government has NOT cleared our plywood through customs yet from the generous GoFundMe page many of you have contributed to. It's sitting in a warehouse waiting to have some higher power "bless" it through. More on it as we know where the h it is. We did get 90 tarps cleared through yesterday so we'll distribute those this week! Because it's rained here a few times they are MUCH needed. 

Villa Capri Improvements...

We were out at the house cleaning glass with our friends at Tropical Waves. They took up most of the glass railings that shattered and it looks great. I swept glass off of the patio for hours but it's starting to take shape. 

 This was all broken glass...

This was all broken glass...

John cleaned the ladder that goes down to Chalk Sound, mostly so we could get in and out of the water! It's great!

 We're back in and out of the gorgeous Chalk Sound!

We're back in and out of the gorgeous Chalk Sound!

We cleaned and reinstalled our stainless steel drawers outside that were blown all over the patio during the hurricane. The grill has been installed as well. A few dents but it looks pretty good!

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We JUST got news that the power in Chalk Sound has been turned on. We are not over on that side of the island today but will get there tomorrow. Our amazing power company Fortis has been working around the clock to restore our power. We are very lucky to have them. Not so much can be said for PG&E in California :-(

 The last poles are put up in Chalk Sound before the cables went in...

The last poles are put up in Chalk Sound before the cables went in...

On a last note, John and I have spent the last 25 years in Northern California, most specifically in San Francisco. We just moved from there a short 7 months ago to Turks and Caicos. Many of our friends are in San Francisco, the Bay Area, Lake Tahoe and wine country. We cannot believe what is happening there and it's affecting the very family we've grown to know, love and be a part of. Our hearts are broken in two for what's happened to our friends who are our family in TCI and Bay Area. We love you all very, very much. Janine and John

Work Begins Next Week at Villa Capri!

Our team has already been doing cleanup and fixes at the villa to get ready for the season. The pool has been cleaned and filled...yes!

 Pool is filled!!

Pool is filled!!

We got an awesome contractor to help us with a few things; window replacement is paramount, that should take a week and begin on Monday. We have about 18 panes to replace. 

The new railings along the perimeter of the deck are likely not going to be ready for busy season, so our amazing contractor is going to build us temporary wooden railings around the deck since safety is key!

We're getting quotes now on cabinet doors for our outdoor kitchen. Irma walloped those suckers, but it won't be too big a deal to fix. Our new outdoor refrigerator is sitting in customs along with a bunch of other things that many people are bringing in duty free (which is a big deal). 

Replacement outdoor lighting should reach the island next week, we had about 6 ceramic lights get 'tweaked'. Having nothing to do in Miami for an extra week on our extended vacation, we ordered stuff early so it would arrive as early as possible.

Our wooden floor molding inside the house got slightly damaged, so we're replacing it with porcelain tile which is a better idea anyway! The order for the tile should be here in 2-3 weeks time. 

Power is set to be on in Chalk Sound between October 14-21! This is great news since we'll be able to be back in the house to get some work done. Plus, we just miss it a lot!

 Our energy company Fortis had to replace hundreds of poles all over island, this is new pole replacement in Chalk Sound...sweet!

Our energy company Fortis had to replace hundreds of poles all over island, this is new pole replacement in Chalk Sound...sweet!

Finally the moon over Grace Bay is so vibrant, Fish Fry was on (and was even on last week!)

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We're off to Villa Capri today to rake some glass bits from our 'no longer glass railing', get the ladder in tip top shape to re-install on the dock for easy access into, and more importantly out of, Chalk Sound after a refreshing swim, kayak or SUP. John's famous at keeping rust off of the outdoor speakers so that will be handled as well. 

What's Happening in Turks & Caicos and VC

We've been staying in the Grace Bay area until our power comes back on. The Chalk Sound area is notoriously one of the last areas to get power and unfortunately one of the worst hit by the eye of the storm proximity. Good news is that Fortis our energy company is in Chalk Sound replacing poles now. 

Because we've been staying in the heart of the tourist area we've been able to really keep a finger on the pulse of how fast things are moving and they are moving fast! Everyone who lives here knows that this country survives and thrives from tourists so we are working on getting this country up and running. That said even more restaurants and shops are opening every day. New openings include Seven Stars and its restaurants are open, Yoshi's sushi, Grace Bay Club and Infinity Bar, Simone's, Fresh Catch, Via Veneto, Lupo and Shark Bite get added to the list. Schools have started to reopen, we just saw our friends Jean and Jhenny and their little girl had her school uni on!

Now Onto Villa Capri

Railings are in drawing phase almost ready to get made! These railings will hold up to wind (they're not glass) and rust (they're aluminum)! Thanks to Keuka Studios for doing this so fast. 

 Our new NON GLASS railings!

Our new NON GLASS railings!

The pool is now filled and we're awaiting replacement for the glass windows and sliding doors. We think we may have found some on island to be installed quickly, fingers crossed. Those two things are the biggest for us. 

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We're also thinking of rebuilding the island in the kitchen since there was some water damage around the bottom. More on that if we like the price quote :-)

And at last our new "bar stools" were delivered. Epic #fail on who I ordered them from, turns out they're actually dining chairs! Off to the internet we go to replace these, it ain't so easy returning items that were mis-delivered. 

 

 

 

An Update On Our GoFundMe Relief Efforts

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We wanted to let you all know what we're up to with ordering and distributing relief supplies from the generous donations we're received:

  • We just got confirmation from the great folks at HIRTAC (Hurricane Irma Relief Turks and Caicos) that the supplies we dropped off last week - tarps, mosquito nets, baby wipes, trash bags, mosquito repellent and first aid supplies - were distributed to families here on Provo and in Salt Cay. Salt Cay is an island that doesn't get enough representation for relief so we're making sure your donations help them:
  • The initial 500 sheets of plywood should reach the island this week! Hopefully it can clear customs quickly, it appears with all the incoming cargo that this may be a little bottleneck. After speaking with a lot of people that are providing aid we think we have a solid plan in place to ensure it gets to the most needy folks. More on that once the plywood lands and we get underway!
  • We have about 100 tarps (tarps are in high demand since they are very useful for shielding from both sun and from rain) that we hope to get on island this week and distributed. 
  • We're meeting with as many 'on the ground' aid groups and workers here to determine the best use of remaining funds, currently just over $10,000. So far it sounds like either all plywood or a combination of plywood and 'peel & stick' an easy to apply roofing material that goes on over the top of plywood to form a complete seal. We want to put in an order ASAP so we can get it in people's hands quickly!

A big thanks to everyone that has supported our GoFundMe page , the donations keep coming in!  As we mentioned, we upped the goal to $35,000 so please share with your friends! 

Spending Time at Villa Capri

The other day, we were warned of miles-long lines at the Do It Center (our version of Home Depot). However when we got there, there were no lines! We think it was due to the fact that Friday was a national holiday. 

Before we went on our little shopping spree (light bulbs, rags, WD-40, fun stuff like that!) we spent lunch with our buddy Benchley at Mango Reef in Turtle Cove. When you come or if you've been there you love it. And it's in full swing. 

We knew we had to clean up glass around the yard because our glass railings shattered. We'll be cleaning it up for months probably, but we got a lot of it removed1 We also focused on de-rusting our table and chair legs in the dining room. Lesson learned, no more metal furniture! But WD-40 and some good steel wool and we're back in business!

 What Irma did to the bottom of our dining chairs...

What Irma did to the bottom of our dining chairs...

 What we did to the bottom of our dining chairs :-)

What we did to the bottom of our dining chairs :-)

We also took advantage of the pool being empty to replace some of the little glass tiles that always happen to pop off over time. And taking stock of some other little improvement we want to make, like new rope on the fences and new ideas for landscaping. Little things, but they all add up!

Another restaurant opened on Friday, Infiniti at the Grace Bay Club. This is great news as the island continues to rebuild. We got news that our closest and one of our favorite restaurants will open on Monday...Las Brisas! We'll be stopping by there on our way to Villa Capri. If you have ever been to Villa Capri or are planning to come, you will go to this place, it's our neighborhood joint.  

And last but not least, with the enormous generosity of our friends who donated to our GoFundMe page we hit our initial $25,000 goal. So in addition to buying all that plywood and planning the logistics for distribution, we did raise it to $35,000! That means we could bring more plywood in, which is in huge demand. Even a few sheets can really help each person. Thank you and please share with your friends. 

A Message from Turks and Caicos Minister of Tourism...

Well John and I are heading to our version of Home Depot today (Do It Center) to pick up some cleanup tools for Villa Capri. Meanwhile amazing people are doing amazing things on island. We'll have more updates for you about who we're working with early next week, but more supplies are being flown in the help rebuild (this morning a plane for South Caicos who got hit hard by Maria!) and a huge cleanup effort this morning on 3 parts of the island. We just found out Fortis, our electric company has MADE IT TO CHALK SOUND! That's great news and FAST. 

Our 500 sheets of plywood made it on the boat yesterday so we're hoping it arrives by Monday. Thanks for all who donated on our GoFundMe page, please share with your friends, we're going to buy another few hundred sheets this weekend!

What I really wanted to share was a heartfelt message from our Minister of Tourism:

"Come back to Turks & Caicos; come enjoy our lifestyle, our people, and our hospitality, which the world has grown to love. We are open to serve you. The Turks & Caicos Islands that the world has grown to love is still here for you to come and enjoy--our casual luxe lifestyle, our friendly people, and our warm hospitality are all waiting for you! Hurricanes Irma and Maria did not break us, they did not steal our ability to love and serve. These storms only exposed some of our vulnerabilities which we must strengthen.

While the vast majority of our tourism infrastructure sustained minimal damages, several of our communities received direct hits from Irma. Indeed, this will cause some hardship over the short and medium term; however, we have persevered and came through with high spirits. Our government rededicates itself to the rebuilding process on a steady path of completion in the near future. The Turks & Caicos Islands have adapted with resilience.

Our ability to foster partnerships with key agencies, locally and internationally, will accelerate the process of recovery. We continue to remain optimistically confident that we will be able to return to providing the quality and excellent service that our islands are known for. Our tourism product will continue to evolve from the experiences we have undergone, affording us the opportunity to be more creative and innovative with the goods and services we offer.

Hoteliers are on schedule with their repairs and annual off-season maintenance schedules in preparation for re-opening, and have demonstrated their support for the welfare of their workers and the greater community as a whole. “Irma and Maria have provided some challenging circumstances, but circumstances that present us with opportunities to forge new relationships and strengthen existing ones,” commented Nikheel Advani, President of Turks and Caicos Hotel & Tourism Association. “We are here to serve, and serve we will”. Most international flights have resumed normal operations as at Saturday, September 23rd.

The majority of the country’s utilities services are back on line, and the workers are feverishly addressing those pending. As Minister of Tourism, I would like to encourage you to include Turks & Caicos Islands in your vacation plans right away. I can assure you that the warm hospitality which our islands have become synonymous with, will embrace you. You will also get some pleasure from knowing that while you are vacationing with us, you are helping us to rebuild our islands and returning normal lives to our people.

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So come back to the TCI, which will always be Beautiful by Nature.

For further details and ongoing updates regarding the resorts, restaurants and activity schedules, please refer to our website: http://turksandcaicostourism.com/recoveryupdate

Regards,

Hon. Ralph L. Higgs Minister of Tourism, Environment, Gaming, Culture and Heritage Turks & Caicos Islands Government"

Our First Visit to Villa Capri

Well we went over to Villa Capri for the first time yesterday afternoon. We had huge lumps in our throats as we drove through Chalk Sound. I have to say there were houses that didn't look like much was touched (although all houses had some form of damage) and others that were ravaged. There was no rhyme or reason to it all except for from what we could tell, the ravaged houses may not have been built with solid concrete. 

Fortis, our electric company, started to get down South Dock road, which is the main road many of you have taken to get to our villa on Chalk Sound. That said, there are still poles down on Chalk Sound. There are rumors that the entire island will have power by mid October, which is amazing. Fingers crossed that actually happens. You would think that having the current Deputy Premier and Ex Premier of our country living on our road would have some pull, but in fact it seems the electric company is trying to get electricity to the masses first, which is awesome:-) And I have to tell you, the Fortis guys work HARD. Bravo. 

Onto Villa Capri...

We had 95 feet of glass railing around the pool and terrace completely SHATTER! All but 3 panels, again no rhyme or reason why those three survived and the others didn't. The glass cleanup is tedious, and we'll know more tomorrow as that's what we'll be doing. Island Escapes our property managers and their team really have been awesome helping out on that, other repairs and even meeting with our insurance adjusters. By the way, if you have not stayed at the villa, you will meet our property managers on arrival (Faye, Dinesh or Julian!) and you'll really see how amazing they are. They're working on our villa like crazy but they also have dozens of others they need to cleanup as well. Thanks guys. 

We're upgrading the railings to a really slick-looking cable railing system, NO MORE GLASS!

Our friends at Tropical Waves Water Sports have also pitched in to help in the landscaping & glass cleanup. When you get here you'll visit them, they've got jet skis, tubing, paddle boards and kayaks to rent at our fave beach Sapodilla Bay Beach. 

We're meeting with a window and door distributor this week, we are upgrading our sliders and windows that lead out to the patio and pool and will highlight the fantastic color of Chalk Sound. 

 Ednil our CRO and team working hard on Villa Capri to get ready for the season!

Ednil our CRO and team working hard on Villa Capri to get ready for the season!

Our pool has been emptied, cleaned of glass and will be refilled as soon as possible. Again Island Escapes to the rescue and our good friend Ednil who is our CRO (Chief Repair Operator) is on it!

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I think that the biggest thing for us is what we can see...as our friend and neighbor Elen said "I'm seeing things I've never seen before." due to the wind burnt bushes and shrubs, But in no time it's coming back!

 Bougainvillea along the house already coming back after just 8 days!

Bougainvillea along the house already coming back after just 8 days!

Anywhere where we can use this as an opportunity to make improvements we are, it's not just a cosmetic cover up. 

On a final note, we talked to a lot of people in the past day. The woman at immigration said that by November, things will be back to normal. The woman who shouts at people outside the airport for parking too long said that it's starting to pick up and she couldn't be happier about it. Our friend at one of our favorite restaurants said it was really, really bad when it was happening but the aftermath could have been way worse.

P.S. Because of the generosity of our friends who donated to our GoFundMe page were were able to secure and order 500 pieces of roofing plywood to be shipped here to TCI. It could help cover 100-200 homes. We increased our goal of $25,000 (which we reached today!) to $35,000 because why not help where we can. So we've used $11,000 so far and are on to make other donations. Thank you and please share with your friends. 

Finally Home...

Well we're finally back home. Surreal? Yes. The weirdest thing is that our lush greenery has been a bit burnt, at least giving way to a WAY bigger view (looking for a positive here!). BUT the green has already started to come back which is awesome. 

 The "now" view from the apartment we stay when you stay in Villa Capri. Bonus? We now have an ocean view.

The "now" view from the apartment we stay when you stay in Villa Capri. Bonus? We now have an ocean view.

When our villa is rented (or when there's no power) we stay at a cute little apartment one block off of Grace Bay. It was so lush around this building you couldn't see the ocean. Irma bonus? We have ocean views (again looking at the positive!)

We stopped by The Vix restaurant to grab some lunch and visit our amazing friends there, it's open for business as are a bunch of places. Shops are getting back on their feet and people here are working hard to get back to normalcy, because that's what we all want. 

We stuffed a few bags with tarps, shirts, bug spray, baby wipes, toothbrushes, toothpaste and a host of other items to drop off here. for those of you who know us well, you know that we are light packers and for the past month we have been living out of the green bag and the orange bag, so for us this was a BIG DEAL! LOL. 

 Love the Sagamore Hotel, except for the fact that the doormen didn't help us with these ONE BIT!

Love the Sagamore Hotel, except for the fact that the doormen didn't help us with these ONE BIT!

Supplies will likely get distributed to Salt Cay and Grand Turk, who were hit pretty hard. They're a bit off the beaten path so sometimes they feel (and probably are) 'forgotten'. 

So we'll be headed over to the Villa in a few minutes to see what's up, but with the help of friends we're sure it's in good condition. 

P.S. John just got off the horn with Florida Lumber where he put the order in of 500 sheets of plywood. This comes from our GoFundMe page where we almost hit our goal of $25,000. We are going to have to increase that! Again a huge thank you if you've donated, we're focusing on "rebuilding" for our fund and roofs are a very important part of that. If you haven't donated we're always accepting donations so go on with your bad self, give a little!