Sunday, September 29, 2019

I've Got A Beach... In My Back Yard!




It's difficult to conceptualize that while the weather here is so perfect, there are places back in the US with snow on the ground right now.

This perfect weather seems like even more of a gift when you compare it to the past week, during which we lived through our second "hurricane scare" of the season with tropical storm Karen.  This bay.  This beach. This sky was angry and violent mere days ago.  But today... the word "placid" comes to mind.

How can we, in good conscience, spend this day indoors???  Time to take full advantage of the fact that we literally have... a beach in our back yard!




We've carried an old inflatable kayak around on the boat since 2016.  From Puerto Rico, down through the islands of the Caribbean, fourteen months in the bays of Grenada and back here to Puerto Rico... In all of that time, we've used this kayak maybe five times!  All of the trouble it takes to inflate it, and then having to use our limited amount of fresh water on the boat to rinse the sand and salt water off of it in order to store it down below, made us reluctant to us it.  Now, we've got no excuse!


Today was sort of a trial run.  We didn't really prepare very well!  We took off with no drinking water, so we couldn't stay out too long. But we paddled easily down to the mouth of the Rio Grande de Patillas at the far east end of our beach.  Since we expeditioned down there some months ago, we've thought it would be fun to take the kayak back up the river to explore... Today we just hovered around the mouth, watching how the waves set up, picking the spot where the water was deeper.  Basically, we scoped it out for next time when we return with water!

Looking up the river
Heading back toward home, riding the swells
Paddling around out there was so cool!  The water was glassy.  Fish jumped around us with a loud plop.  The whole world was quiet and the dramatic clouds reflected on the water's surface, blurring the line between sky and water.  It even confused the camera in a lot of the shots I took!


Sky and water almost blend together

As we neared our beach, pointing the bow toward the tallest palm tree on the beach, we came upon a string of floats that marked a fisherman's net.  We diverted to go around it and saw that it led to the shore.  We could see the fishermen sitting in the shade of the palms, waiting for the fish to wander into the enclosure they set.

We approached the beach just down from the nets and I began to watch the swells as they set onto the beach.  It seemed like there were a few larger swells, then a period of very small ones.  That's when we want to try to land our kayak.  We line up, waiting for the smaller swells, then paddled furiously as the stern lifted... Perfect landing!  We dragged the kayak and left it on the beach while we split up and combed the beach for sea glass and sand dollars.

I stopped to talk to the fishermen and learned that they had been waiting since 7am when they set out the nets.  They do this often, and sometimes they get lots of fish, others not so many.  Today, we got to watch them pull in the nets.





Sadly, not too many fish in the net today!

Imagine my surprise when I turned around and saw this man put a small Pompano into his mouth while he freed the other fish from the net.  The fish flopped up and down, almost smacking him in the forehead!  He saw my face, and posed for a photo!


Pretty "salty" looking guy!  All he needs is an eye patch and a peg leg!
Seeing these fishermen bringing in their nets, reminded me of so many others we had seen throughout our travels in the Caribbean.  I experienced one of those moments when I just can't believe that we actually live here.  On an island.  In the freakin' Caribbean!!!  My heart swelled with love for this island, and for the fact that while we are no longer cruising, we still get to live like we are!

But with added perks... like a sparkling blue swimming pool to cool off in when we get hot and sweaty playing in the sea!

THREE blues today!
After floating around for a while, we cleaned our kayak off in the courtyard and counted up our treasures!

And a dozen sand QUARTERS!
We've lived here for about 8 months now, and sometimes we still can't believe it.  When I see Facebook posts of cars covered in three inches of snow, trees dusted white and people wearing jackets and coats, it just makes no sense!  Here we are where it's never winter, with a BEACH, in our back yard!

Friday, September 27, 2019

Dinner And A Beach

Doesn't look like much from the road, but go down these steps and...
If you're one of our never-miss-a-post readers, you might begin to see some repeats here, because we're developing a list of favorite places nearby that we will visit again and again.  Today, we took our friends Burt and April to a couple of those spots!  We took a drive in the mountains, pretty much a round-about way to get to our destination so that we could cover some new territory.  This island is so beautiful and she holds such wonders... I hope to find them ALL!
The view opens up to a stunning panorama!
A lovely, cool mountain breeze wipes your cares away!
Ribs, chicken, carne frita, two kinds of rice and beans, and tostones!
An early dinner at Casaj├║ was a repeat, right down to the dessert... but with new friends to share it this time! It's not just the view that brings us back here... This enormous platter for four, that can actually satisfy eight... if you save room for the BEST dessert on the island (so far).

A beautifully presented fried cheesecake, churros and whip cream topped ice cream!  YUM!!
Don't judge!  April and I DID share a few bites with the boys!
The drive here and back took us through a municipality called Las Piedras.  "The Stones".  It is obvious how the area earned the name, as we passed huge boulders balanced precariously on hillsides, enormous blocks of stone that jut skyward just inches from your car as you wind along the narrow mountain roads, and homes that incorporate the gigantic pieces into their design.


Hey, it's less space you have to mow!
Should have made this a climbing wall for the kids!
View of Faro Punta Tuna
With full and happy tummies, we wound our way back down the scenic mountainside to the shores of the Caribbean Sea.  How lucky we are to have all of this within a short distance of home.  This is our second visit to Playa Los Bohios in Manaubo.

This is a nice little beach tucked into the curving coastline just west of the Punta Tuna Lighthouse, which we visited a few days ago.



Looking west.  
Fade to black
It is one of my personal favorites because it isn't ever crowded, AND it has black sand!  There are many areas of Puerto Rico that can be compared to Hawaii, and this is one of them!

The Boys settled in with folding beach chairs and un neverita (a small cooler) full of beverages, while us girls took off for a nice post-feast beach walk!


Hey girl!  Wait for me!
The black sand fascinates me.  It is completely different from the heavier, "white" sand, which is very coarse.  The black sand is sparkly and very fine.  This beach is layered with patches of both colours.


Signs of beach erosion where the roots of palms are exposed!

April and I set off toward the eastern end of the beach, with our feet sinking deep into the wave-whipped sand.  This kind of beach is very good for exercise as your legs have to work extra hard!  Conversation made it easy work though, and soon we reached the easternmost corner, which was covered in seaweed!

I'm glad that this is all down here, and not where we've camped!
Seaweed... and PUPPIES!!!
As soon as we reached the end of the beach, a band of adorable puppies tumbled over to see us.  The momma dog came also, and it was heartbreaking to see how thin she was.  With the recent death of my Baby Angel, I am seriously fighting susceptibility to new pet acquisition, so I kept my distance.  But April's heart is not so hardened.  We got some puppy snuggles, then quickly left so as not to weaken... Unfortunately, the momma dog followed us back to our camp, where she was rewarded by April!  The leftovers she was taking home went into the momma dog's belly at lightning speed.

You can see momma dog beneath the palm...
A sand crab has tossed out the black sand that lies beneath the white layer
After a brief pause at our camp to check on the Boys, we took off the other way... This is the second time Bruce and I have visited this beach, but we haven't explored.  Today, we found out that the mouth of Rio Manaubo meets the Caribbean Sea just to the west.  How cool is this???

Rio Manaubo seems to spread out just as it meets the beach
With all of the recent rain we've had, the river was spilling into the Sea
Looks very Jungly!
The river water was VERY brown!
Many layers, bot black and white.
April and I explored the river mouth a bit.  Feeling the much cooler water with our feet as it rushed through the narrow channel to mix with the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea.  The sand bank along the river mouth exposed layer upon layer of contrasting sand.




OK, enough of this exercising/exploring stuff... Time to get down to some serious relaxing!  We retraced our steps back along the beach with our explorer needs satisfied.  Time to take our well-earned place in a beach chair with a cold beverage!  I have to admit that we don't do "nothing" often enough!

We've been so busy with boat repairs, storm threats, and who-knows-what-else!  I think it's time that we just sit and watch the waves roll in.  Burt and April are the perfect his and hers companions with which to do this!

All afternoon we sat, and watched as the waves calmed and the surface of the Sea began to flatten.  The sun dropped lower but we were shielded from the heat by the palms.  Eventually the softening of the waves registered in my mind ~ that means it's getting late!  Suddenly it was 4:30 and time to go home!  And thus ends another unique, and wonderful day in Paradise!

We love having friends around with which to share our Island Paradise!  Come to Puerto Rico and we'll put her through her paces for you!

Squeeeeee!  Black sand FEET!


Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Beachwalk ~ The Morning After TS Karen

Serene and relaxed

Each Beachwalk is unique...
We may walk this beach a thousand times...
But no two will be the same!


Surprisingly, we slept well as Tropical Storm Karen kissed the east coast of our island home in the night.  This morning we sprung from bed with joyous hearts!  Being unable to wait, we took our coffee and rushed out to see what was left of our beach.  I'm happy to report that we have TONS more sand, and just like that... our life resumes here in Paradise!  Our relief knows no bounds and we frolicked like kids... well, at least I did!  Bruce isn't much of a frolicker!



The Sweet Peas struggle to keep their heads above the new layer of sand washed WAY up onto the beach!
We said hello to our neighbours, Blackie and Santos, also taking their morning walk!



We found the elusive blue piece of sea glass!
The best part of waking up... is coffee on the beach!
When the coffee is gone, the cup becomes a collection holder!


Morning Glories rise from the layers of sand!
Yipppeeeeee! 
The air is thick with the scent of so many of these tiny palm blossoms!


Ok, so maybe Bruce DOES frolic a little!
We walked all the way down the beach to check on our palms... They survived!  Yay!






Today's waves are SO gentle... after the ferocious waves yesterday!



And the bees are back at it again.  They never missed a beat!
Our first RED piece!

Returning home along the shore, we felt the last weight of Tropical Storm Karen drain out of our bodies and run into the sea with the retreating waves.  Words can't describe our relief and happiness at being spared once again.  Our boat is fine.  Our beach is fine... in fact, it's more than fine!  My worries of erosion seem silly now when I see SO much more sand piled high by Karen.  Crossing our fingers, we hope that our 2019 storm season is drifting into historical memory...

But we have the beauty of the day, and these reminders of TS Karen to keep!