Friday, July 31, 2020

After The Storm ~ Beachwalk


A little crab watches me watching him from the safety of his hideout

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

Eager to get back out to the beach to see what we might find today, we suited up as early as we could muster, considering that I'm still hobbling on crutches!  But this gives me a purpose in my physical therapy.  And the Sea Therapy for my mind is an added bonus!

We hoped to find mountains of sea glass, and maybe some other sort of treasure washed up onto the beach by the stormy waves.  What we found was a lot of sand covering the rocky hiding places where we normally find sea glass... and a LOT of seaweed!  Throw in a little bit of manmade jetsam and our beach pretty much looked like some lazy teenager's bedroom floor!

Bruce wearing his Jibaro hat!

Bruce forged ahead while I gingerly picked my way through the carpet of seaweed drying in huge piles.  It's tricky because in many places, what looks like solid sand is a layer covering a mat of seaweed.  If I step too confidently on it, I sink down 3 or 4 inches, which causes me a good bit of pain.  So my progress was very slow and arduous.  

My recovery has been very frustrating in that I'm just not used to my body failing to respond as I would like.  The strength in my hip, knee, ankle and foot is just not there, and it feels very awkward to try to walk normally and it just won't work.  So, I hobble along, trying not to fall on my face, while sweat pours and my heart rate soars!  I'm am amazed to check my heart rate on the FitBit after I'm done and see how high it can go with so little actual work!  But, every day I'm getting a little more stamina and seeing an improvement in strength.

We found a good bit of sea glass, but not as much as I had expected.  I did find a hack though.  If I just stand on these rock piles, the waves will bring pieces to my feet if I'm patient.  All I have to do is wait, then bend and pick them up.  It's also very Zen, standing there.  Still. Feeling the warm breeze on my face, and listening to the roar of the bay, and the clattering sound the rocks make with the retreat of each tumbling wave.

Of course I amuse myself with whatever we find on the beach...

Thursday, July 30, 2020

The Big Blob That Is "Nine"

I don't get how they're calling these storms by other names these days.  First it's Invest something... and now this year, they've come up with a new twist.  This one is now called "Nine".  That's it.  Just 9.

Storm 9 is unusual because it is still very early in the season.  It began to form off the coast of Africa at the end of July, which IS officially part of hurricane season, but we don't see much action until later in the summer.  

So this is how our second hurricane season as Puerto Rican residents begins.  We stay glued to the TV and internet, waiting for each scrap of information that comes out so that we can know how much to worry! And then we go out to the beach to see what is going on out there, until we can't.  

When this storm first began being reported, it looked as if it would be a direct hit on us.  Thankfully, it changed its trajectory enough to pass south of our island, leaving us on the "dirty" side, but we need the rain to fill our reservoirs so that recent water rationing could cease.  Silver lining!

Now never let it be said that I would wish a storm upon us, or anyone for that matter, but I do get a little bit of thrill from stormy weather, and with the pandemic quarantine in force, it gives us something else to think about! For a couple of days, we could focus on THIS, instead of THAT!  I know! TWISTED!!

Looks pretty benign right now!

Our first look at the beach was kind of like normal, only more cloudy.  On Radar, we could see that the first storm bands were just about reaching Puerto Rico, but we weren't forecast to get much until after 2pm.  But, with nothing much else to do, storm watch was our entertainment for the day.  I have to say that with each passing report, we were increasingly relieved that this would not be a bad storm for us. 

After the rain began mid morning, we decided to forego the beach walk, and opted to just peer out at our courtyard from the safety of our patio.  The winds were picking up as we could see the tall palms were beginning to look more tortured.  Inside our courtyard, normally completely protected from the wind, we were seeing some stronger gusts from the NNW.  This is not our usual wind direction, so it was definitely the storm bands swirling around us. The rains never got very heavy, and were intermittent as the bands brushed us. 

So far so good.  We actually kind of got bored with this for a while.  The winds we were promised in the afternoon were really not much more than a normal windy day, but they alternated with periods of breathless calm.  The low rumble of thunder lured us back out to the beach again in the afternoon between rainy patches.

Well, this is surely anti-climactic!  But THAT'S OK!  Beats the alternative!  We have ordered new storm shutters.  Began the process back in January... but with the wait for approval from our HOA to do the roll-down type, and then the slowdown of everything due to the COVID19 pandemic, here we are, beginning storm season with no useable shutters!  At this point, we were told we could expect installation at the end of July... NOW... but it is all backed up.  So we wait.  

We spent our evening as we normally do during the pandemic... watching mindless television and flipping through Facebook, with the odd weather check just for good measure.  We could hear the rain falling outside, just a little harder now, but still intermittent.  We went to bed and slept soundly, hearing nothing until morning.  

When we woke up, we could hear the rain pattering against our bedroom window. Our condos are built of concrete and they are super solid!  We could hear absolutely no wind, and the only reason we heard the rain was because it was actually hitting our windows.  Outside, the trees were a little more tortured with gusty winds, perhaps a bit more strong than yesterday.

Island dwellers are used to having the power disrupted every time it rains, so seeing our microwave and stove clocks blinking when Bruce went down to make coffee was no surprise. What was a surprise was that we actually DID have power!  Thankful for that, we were willing to accept that the cable and internet was gone.  But quick, make that coffee before the power goes out for good!  

After the wind and rain died down (and after we had our coffee...) we scrambled to take advantage of a lull.  Bruce wiggled into an old shortie wet suit, while I opted to dust off the musty, dusty semi-waterproof coat I used to wear back in the days before we left Corpus Christi to go cruising.  Of course there was a discussion about whether or not Bruce would actually be using that boogie board, and the consensus was that it was only for a photo op...

By the time we got out to the beach, the rain was already beginning to fall again.  Maybe it had never really stopped, but whatever, we could wait no longer!  What we found was similar to last year's storm watch.  There was a new layer of sand washed up during the night, but still a trough between our palm forest and the water's edge that forms a moat.  From time to time, an especially rambunctious set of waves would wash over the hump and deposit another couple of inches of water into the moat!

This is what I have to deal with.  We talked about it.  He assured me that he had no intention of going into the water.  Sometimes I think he lies. 

So this morning, our beach was a little more exciting than yesterday!  The waters in our Bay were churned up and driving waves far up onto our beach.  There was a high water mark of seaweed left by the high tide sometime in the night. The roar of the Caribbean Sea was loud, but still, the winds and rain were intermittent.  

A "palm bouquet" left in our path by gusty winds
An energetic wave washes far up onto the beach

We've got a MOAT!

Your intrepid reporters!

The seaweed marks the high water level 

Well folks, this is as much excitement as there is going to be from Tropical Storm Isaias!  Sometime during the night, the storm took an odd little jog to the west, before continuing on to the northwest.  This adjustment kept the storm far enough offshore that we never got any high winds.  

We did, however, get some destructive rainfall in some parts of the island.  Throughout the day, we continued to see reports of roads washed out, and neighborhoods with more than a foot of brown, soupy water inside their houses, and cars floating down small streams, now engorged by the heavy rains. 

Our Puerto Rican people just can't get a break! But, they will persevere, like they've done so many times before.  And this strength makes us proud to live among them!

We spent the rest of the day watching the quiet rain, and reports from around the island. We are thankful that our home was mostly spared by this first storm threat of the 2020 season.  We hope that our storm shutters will be installed before our next threat!  Stay tuned!  We're just getting started!

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Beach Walks Bla Bla Bla...


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

Let's face it folks.  With the COVID19 shutdowns, there just isn't really much more to life than our walks on the beach.  I know that these don't make very interesting reading for you, but when I take these walks, and find something to take pics of, I store them here.  

These are the few photos I took from two different days. Bear with me, some day things HAVE to get back to normal... right?

From the other side, this driftwood looks kind of like an elephant!


Is Everything!

The next day out, we made a little rock cairn for my best sea glass pieces

After our walks, we always sit on the beach path to rest.  Critters come to see us!

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Getting Back To Beach Walks

Right out of the gate I found seagrape flowers!
I guess this is my third beach walk since breaking my foot. I have to say that this day was the best indication, by far, that I'm going to get over this thing.  Yes, it still hurts.  Yes I still walk unnaturally.  But it doesn't hurt quite as bad, and I was able to stay out there for about an hour and a half, with a break... but without feeling like I was going to keel over!!

The draw is twofold.  Sure, I'm in it for the exercise and physical therapy aspect of retraining myself to walk on uneven ground.  But the allure of collecting mass quantities of sea glass is the stronger motivation of the two!  The good thing about that is that it makes the more tiresome chore of relearning to walk seem like... well, a walk on the beach!

Throw in the bonus of having things to photograph again, and my heart is singing SO loudly right now that I'm almost giddy!!  And so, I share with you, our latest beach walk. 

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

I'm still using the two crutches on the beach.  The uneven ground offers me lots of opportunity to fall, and my right leg is still very shaky and weak, so I'm not quite to full weight bearing status yet.  I also decided that my waterproof hiking boots are the best thing to use o the beach.  I'm so glad that I have them!  They provide support for my VERY weak ankles, and keep my tender metatarsals from taking more stress than they can handle right now, 

Does that look like a happy face?  Well the joy of being out here AND finding sea glass is the reason!

The last time we came out here, I kind of overdid it a little.  So this time I brought my water, made sure I had some energy from a good breakfast, and planned for a mid-walk sit down!  I perched my butt right in the middle of a rock pile where sea glass pieces literally washed up at my feet!

This is it.  This is all I want!

My tireless companion!

Today's treasures!

I can not tell you how happy this walk made us today.  It's the first time since April 23rd (the day I broke my foot) that I've actually felt on the mend.  My energy is low, but I can feel almost daily progress.  Sure, some days seem like a step backwards, but mostly those are due to my own actions as I tend to try too much.  But it's getting better.  AND I can come out to this magical beach where I feel so very attuned to our island paradise.  Maybe these beach walk posts aren't so interesting to my readers, and for that I apologize.  But hopefully the photos will give you something to smile about, just as they do me! 

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Anniversary Breakfast Run

Elan, our CS36t on Corpus Christi Bay
Our lives have, for many years, been awesome enough that it's been difficult to figure out what to do to make a special day... special.  When you're living the dream and traveling all the time, the things you do every day are the things you would consider doing to celebrate!  Now that we're living a more normal life on land, the question of what to do to celebrate our 16th Wedding Anniversary became a thing again! 

It was fun looking back over some special moments in our lives together.  I found these to post on Facebook...

Bruce and I met while sailing on Corpus Christi Bay.  That was a huge part of our lives, and it led to marriage, and then on to cruising!

This was 30 minutes prior to our wedding ceremony.  It remains a special memory for us. 
A tender moment in the stunning waters of the Bahamas our first time there. Dos Libras in the background.
Fastforward to our buying a home here on Puerto Rico!  This is ours every day!!!
So this morning, in celebration of 16 years of marriage (somehow we don't get official credit for the other 4 1/2 years as a couple), we decided to go back to the simple pleasure of something that we used to do back in our years before cruising.  Sometimes in the morning, we would decide to jump out of bed and dash to the nearest donut shop for some pastries to-go.  We would then drive to one of several favorite waterfront spots to sit and have our breakfast picnic. 

Back then we would stare out at the beauty of the Gulf of Mexico, or Corpus Christi Bay, and we would dream of how our cruising life would be.  Now we gaze at the waters of the ACTUAL CARIBBEAN SEA... and remember how cruising life has brought us to this place in time.  Thinking back to that moment 30 minutes before saying our wedding vows, we could not have imagined that this is where we would end up. 

I know that the life we have yet to live will not always be wonderful... but I'm doing my best to keep it fun, adventurous, and spontaneous.  The simple pleasure of having breakfast on a sandy beach has done a lot to buoy our lagging spirits that increased preventative measures against the spread of the COVID19 virus have brought upon us.  Getting out and taking this for ourselves was clandestine and a little naughty, but we encountered no other people, so we felt pretty safe taking this day to celebrate ourselves!

Just the drive along the coast road was a treat!
We settled on the ridge and had our delicious breakfast sandwiches

We saved some room for yummy pastries that my Most Wonderful Husband presented to me thusly
Not the best photo, but with my crutches, I couldn't work the timed shot...  Bruce barely made it back in time!
The ever-present lurking iguana!
We had our delicious breakfast... what a treat to have decadent pastries on the beach!  We decided that reviving this tradition was a great idea, and we'll be doing this a LOT more often.

The wind was still, but a light breeze sprung up, probably brought on by nearby passing showers. Sitting in the shade of the tall palms, we were pretty cool.  But as the sun continued to climb, we became warmly exposed.  Bruce moved our little camp out to the shade of the nearly fallen palm closer to the tide line.  Here, we just sat and watched the waves roll in, and the ever-changing colors of the water as the clouds passed, giving us alternating sun and shadow.

I think this beats a rocking chair on some Texas Hill Country porch!
Sitting here, enjoying this million-dollar-view, we count ourselves most fortunate.  Just getting out of the house on our own for a change is liberating to the soul.  Now that my foot is on the mend and I can drive myself, we can take these refreshing little jaunts without having to inconvenience our friends. 

Thinking about the past 16 years (20 1/2 if truth be told) we can call it a success, even if we never have another special moment after today.  But, I can't help but hope that we have many, MANY more such moments in our future!