Saturday, April 27, 2019

You've Gotta Get Outta The House

Shabby entrance to Balneario Punta Guilarte
We are trying to gain some balance in our new life on land and not have it just be all about work...  Not that living on a sailboat is ALL work, but honestly, it did seem like it at times.  We've done a lot to make our home here and are feeling the luxury of free time now.  And what better way to spend it than getting out in the sunshine and fresh Caribbean air on our bikes!

Puerto Rico has a lot of hilly areas which for me, makes biking difficult.  Today we set out with our bikes mounted onto the back of our SUV, and went in search of a flat place to ride!  Ever since we hiked to the furthest point on our beach and found what looked like a park around the corner... we have been hoping that it would be just what we're looking for.  As always seems to happen... it turned out to be so much more!

Very nice cabanas for weekend rental
After one false start where we drove into a neighbourhood preparing for a party... declining their invitation to stay, we backed out and drove on to the next left turn.  This one looked about right.  There is a long distance on flat road that leads to this park entrance, which today, we found standing wide open!  We entered and continued on through the park.  Things were looking good for a bike ride, but it would be nice to find a shady spot to park the car.

All things are connected... and soon we found a connecting gate, again wide open,  that led us to Puri's Tiki Bar, which we visited for dinner some weeks ago.  In the light of day we see that there is also a nice little recreation area that is part of the Park's System here, complete with a swimming pool and a lighthouse!  Spanish Lesson Mini:  Balneario ~ The word means "spa", but it is used here in Puerto Rico to denote public beaches with facilities!  There ya go!

So, we parked the SUV in the nice parking lot near the recreational centre and strolled up to the shady porch for a chat with George.  Turns out that my poor Spanish prompted a mini-lesson from our fellow American-turned-Puerto Rican and we had a lot of laughs.  George was a source of information and very friendly.  Hurricane Maria did a massive amount of damage to these park areas and he is a part of the repair crew.  Little by little, things are coming along.

The cabanas and the connecting boardwalk, as well as the information building and swimming pool have all been repaired and are maintained in top condition.  Kids of all ages were splashing and having a blast while set-up was underway for several parties.  Gotta love these party people!  George told us that yes, this beach area had been closed up until a couple of weeks ago, but now it has reopened to the public.  The cabanas in the area further to the east where we came in have not yet been repaired, but the beach is open.  I think we've found our bike-ride paradise!

Of course he is measuring the swimming distance in his mind...
We finished our little chat with George and loosened our bikes from the rack so that we could get to that bike ride.  It was already pushing noon and getting pretty warm, but we have come this far, we can't go back home without at least a short ride... Beginning with a buzz by the Punta Figuras Lighthouse for a closer look.

The Lighthouse on Punta Figuras
We wound our way out of the recreational area and took off in the direction of Punta Guilarte

Livin' large in the shade of palms!
As I mentioned, it was getting hot, so when I saw a shady spot near the beach, I led Bruce right to it.  We took a water break sitting in the sand, just watching the waves roll in.

Looking east to Punta Guilarte - which is the far end of our beach!
Looking west to Punta Figuras
After our rest, we backtracked to the car.  That's enough for today folks...  Load these bikes up and let's go for a PIZZA!  But first, while we're meandering and exploring our new surroundings, let's not pass this by this place again without stopping!  We pulled the car into the lot where this fascinating old sugar mill stands silent over the surrounding swamp.  Antiguo Molina de Viento is one of many reminders of the day when sugar cane was a major business on the island.

We climbed up into the ruins and found a hive of activity... BEES!  Inside the tower made of coral and other stones, you could see what looked like rectangular holes where wooden beams must once have fit to form floors.  Inside these cavities is the perfect place for bees to make their honeycombs and we could even see them in a couple of places.  My photos didn't turn out great, but you get the idea.
See the empty cavities where the beams once fit?
Nice skylight effect!
Bad photo, but this is honeycomb!
Looking up at the root growing down into the tower.  You can see the buzzing bees if you look closely!

What a fun day!  It seems that our old motto:  "If you wanna have fun you've gotta get off of that boat!" proves just as true for land life!

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

BeachWalk ~ Expedition To The Point

OK, maybe it wasn't SO early...
We finally made it to the far Western point of our Bay!  Early this morning, the beach called my name.  Every time we go out, I keep thinking that we will just walk for exercise.  Fast pace, no stopping, no foolin' around with shells or sea glass or flowers or any of that other stuff that seems to always catch my attention and make a short walk into a half day affair.  It happened again today.

This little guy was not afraid!  He let me get very close.  And no, he wasn't dead!

There's always a Sweet Pea...
And a Morning Glory...

By the time we reached our normal stopping point, the two leaning palms, we had a handful of sea glass and other various treasures.  The winds were down and the waves were very calm today, so we decided to continue on an expedition to see what there is beyond this spot.  The far western point of our bay was still an unknown to us.  Today that would end!

Bruce explored another little rivulet while I poked through the flotsam on the beach

I picked up a palm branch that had three "flowers" left on it.  This is going with me!
There are SO many leaning palms down this way!  I hope they don't all fall in!!!
The water at further west is always more calm and clear.  Today it was a kiddie pool!
They totally look like flowers!

So we made it to this uncharted territory and found it completely deserted. The palm tree growth line stops and the sandy point spreads on with a ring of dried seaweed marking its shores.  The water is protected from waves by some shallow reef and we wondered if a snorkelling expedition in in our future...

Around the point into the next bay there are lots of trash cans and some cabanas.  We aren't sure if it's a park or a private camp.  Must investigate on the Google when we get home!

We stripped off our coverups and dipped our bottoms into the wonderfully cool water.  Gentle waves about two inches high lapped our bodies and once again we are struck with the magnitude of our good fortune.  All of this could be is OURS!

We are ignored by a pelican
I think I might be collecting sand in my swimsuit... but it's the price you pay for paradise!
Eventually we started the walk back.  Birds entertained us as they bobbed around in the seaweed and on the shore.
This guy wasn't too friendly and eventually flew far ahead and out of our reach.

The sun is a bit higher now, but it's still cool with a light breeze!  Perfect!
I found a NEW flower!

Someone tell me what kind of flower this is!
We saw a couple of people collecting coconuts and one runner back at the park around the point, but not another soul... This beach is perfection and it brings us such peace each time we walk these shores.  

There is beauty-in-small-things aplenty and I am stockpiling it all here to review in my old age.  

Exploring to the far reaches of our beach was fun today.  Each time we do the walk, what once seemed far becomes less so.  Collecting sea glass, rocks and special shells makes the time pass as in a dream.  
Three tiny sand dollars and three special coloured sea glass pieces.  The one on the left is a first!
Two special rocks... one is a sailboat and the other is a Piton
Today's grand haul!