|A rare, genuine smile for the camera. Must be boatlife!
|Watching the procession of fishermen going to work has become routine as well.
It's so easy to slip right back into cruising life. We spent so many years sleeping while rocking gently at anchor, and waking up to the sunrise and watching local fishermen go about their business. It's a life lived close to nature, and with very few luxuries. We have been reminded of the things we lived without, and it renews our appreciation of the amenities we now almost take for granted as CLODS.
|Huge roots of a fallen tree on Playa Brambadero
|Jodi's photo of Faro Los Morrillos
Driving out on the narrow strip of marshy land between the salt flats and the Caribbean sea, I was once again amazed at how different this place can be, even though I've been here a dozen times or more. There had been some rain, making the drive a little muddy. Thanks again to our AWD Honda! We stopped briefly at the salt museum, which was closed, as was the observation tower. I waited while our friends got out and went over to take a look at the salt mountain, then we moved on over to the salt plans.
Today, the sections were empty, with the exception of one that was in the process of being refilled with salt water pumped from the sea. We walked out to get a closer look. Gary went over to speak to a worker who was working in some sort of machine. Must have been all in Spanish, because when Gary returned to report, the only thing he caught was "45 days". We figured that was the number of days it takes to evaporate the pans so that the salt can be harvested.
|Jodi and Gary checking it out!
|The pump pouring new salt water into the evaporation pan.
|This pan was about half again as full last time we were here, as were all of the others as well.
I absolutely can not resist these jiggling, poofing bubbles! I can't watch that without giggling! The empty pans still had some salt on the bottom in the lower areas, but I am completely amazed that they can get all of the salt off of the structures and most from the ground. Simply amazing! Hopefully some day, we will come when all of that is going on!!
|Gary talking to the worker.
|Some salt remains. Wonder if we could skate on it!
Walking back to the car, I noticed that the muddy dirt beneath our feet was sparkling like diamonds with the salt saturation. Simply amazing!
We made the short drive up to the parking area for Faro Los Morillos, then began the hike up in the mid-day sun. It is already warmer than it was during our last visit, but the stiff breeze kept us cool enough. I'm pretty sure this is the windiest we've ever experienced here.
|Gary and Jodi
|I feel the tug on my heart when I see boats at sea. You can barely see the two in this photo!
Funny how new eyes bring a new perspective. In all of the times we've been here, we have never continued on past the lighthouse to peer over the cliff at Playa Sucia! It's another view from the dramatic cliffs, and the wind drove the sea into the rocks far below with a violent surge! It was completely wild up there, and it made my heart beat a little faster.
|I follow Jodi's lead through the waving grasses.
|The wind tried to blast us off this sheer cliff path! Hold onto your hat!
|These rocks have recently fallen
We continued walking on down the coast path, until we reached the small chain of sandy beaches north of the natural bridge cove. I had hoped we would be able to go down onto the sand and hunt for caves today, but the seas were huge, crashing up onto the sand, making it impossible to attempt further exploration.
|Jodi and Gary went a bit further on the path. It actually goes quite a bit more. Next time.
Further inquiries have brought me to believe this MIGHT be the "Birdcatcher Tree", or the Pisonia horneae, but it is almost certainly one of the Pisonia trees, and I think the locals call it Corcho!
They look fluffy, but the salt is very firmly packed. I would imagine that moisture and rain sort of weld the salt together, but at the bottom, you can still scoop up hand-fulls of salt crystals like so much warm and salty snow!
What a fun day! Looking at the time, it was getting later in the afternoon, lunchtime really, but today we had not brought lunches! I consulted Google and decided that we could make the nearly hour drive to get some of the BEST Empanadillas on the island! And I would show them one more favorite beach where we could have our little picnic.
|Somewhere on the way we passed THIS!
This little "locals" spot is called El Barbarazo, and we waited patiently while the lady made us all FRESH Emanadillas! We had beef, chicken, and my favorite, CRAB! So full of delicious crab meat! The short drive to the beach was torture as the smells tantalized our noses.
We enjoyed our picnic, took a quick spin on the beach, but no sea glass today. And that, ladies and gents, concludes our island tour!
Luckily, I didn't have to! Once again, we settled into a quiet evening in the cockpit watching the intermittent rainfall that began at just the right time. Jodi didn't need to make us any dinner after those late-day Empanadillas, but she put out a bunch of snack foods that we all grazed upon. We were all ready for an early night.
The next morning, we woke up to greet the sunrise from away. I took Jodi for one more grocery run, and then we said our goodbyes as the anchorage began to fill up. By the time we arrived at home, Jodi said there were six more boats in the anchorage! Well, I guess they'll have plenty of people to fill their days while they wait for a weather window to leave Puerto Rico.
Thanks SO MUCH to you both, for allowing us to stay with you on the beautiful Country Dancer, and to experience again, the cruising lifestyle. We can't wait for you to come back and continue exploring our Island home!