Sunday, August 8, 2010


San Juan, Puerto Rico
sunny, with brief passing showers
high of 87, low of 79


After a week of work it was finally Friday and time to enjoy ourselves.  On Friday night David took us to the Caribbean shore of Ponce, PR.  We found a nice marina, boardwalk and pier.  There were dozens of little cafe bars.  One even had a book exchange for cruisers.  Now I really felt Caribbean.
On August 6, at 5:30 PM, I finally put my feet in Caribbean waters, near Ponce, PR. I had previously only touched the Atlantic waters of the island


On Saturday we travelled to the southwest corner of the island, to the village of La Parguera, population 1,200.  It's about 2 hours from San Juan, crossing the mountain ranges.

We rented a 15' skiff to explore the mangrove islands and swim in the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean.

I must admit, I was a little apprehensive about taking this dinghy off shore but it turned out to be not only safe but very fun.

Expanding the view with the Captain and Crew

My friend, Jose, strategically places our anchor in the 5' deep water near the mangroves.

This area is very popular for boats large and small.

The clarity of the water here is unlike any I had previously seen.  We swam and drank beer.  We ate chicken we had bought at a roadside pollo cabon.  There were swimming channels through the mangrove trees where Jose showed us to dunk our heads and view thousands of minnow baitfish schools.  When we would extend our hand toward them, you realize how many there were as the entire see seemed to part around your hand.  Jose showed us a tree swing in the mangroves that had been there since he was a child.  We swam out to the edge of the bay, where the off shore reefs displayed beautiful waves crashing violently a few hundred feet away from us.  After gazing into the distance and dreaming of even more distant shores, I followed Jose's lead as we floated weightlessly and let the current carry us back through the mangrove channel where the boats were tied.

This trip deepened my desire to spend my retirement years exploring the Caribbean and the West Indies.

On Sunday, as my friend and host David travelled to a family reunion, I was picked up by my friend, Willie.  He took me to the mountains of Guavate, an area famous for pig roasting restaurants.  We found dozens of outdoor open air cafes and bars, known as Lechoneras.  Willie, a PR native with local knowledge, knew the best one to dine at.  We waited in a line for 45 minutes to order and it was worth the wait.  Roast pork, rice, sausage and roasted sweet potatoes filled our bellys, like the pigs themselves.

We had a beer and listened to some live music for a bit.  There were miles of these places on the mountains, along with street vendors peddling everything from shoes to housewares, bananas to bread fruit.

Upon returning to our home base in San Juan, some 5 hours had passed.

I spoke with my wife, Kathy, back in Port Charlotte.  She had been getting massive amounts of rain.  I checked the NWS radar and found a low pressure system was crossing the Florida peninsula, from the Atlantic to the Gulf.  Forecasters wrote if the system could stay together long enough to organize over the warm Gulf waters, it had potential to become a named storm.  Elsewhere, TS Colin reformed near Burmuda but remains no real threat with its 40 MPH winds.  Further east in the Atlantic, 1100 miles east of the Leeward Islands, a tropical wave of showers is organizing rapidly.  It has high potential to become a tropical cyclone in the next 48 hours.  The next name on the list is Danielle.

Monday morning I fly back to the mainland and continue working the rest of the week in Miami Dade and Palm Beach Counties.

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