Sunday, December 20, 2009

On Westward and New Beginnings....

Grab your hats and travel West with me my dear friends! Our trip this weekend did us well. We returned home this evening with lifted spirits and found our little house nice and clean with beds freshly made and floors swept and mopped. We are all cleanly shaven and enjoying the sounds of the Coqui frogs whistling about! The hot showers were great, but we missed our home a bit.

Yesterday I got up in the morning and took a long stroll on Playa Jobos. The surf was raging and there were but a few lucky go-getters up for the challenge at the break of day. I was feeling light on my feet and trekked quite a ways on the soft sand. There were crabs popping in and out of holes, and also a fair amount of trash on the western most part of the beach. I got the good with the bad. It seems our human element is prevalent everywhere.... even in paradise.

When I got back to the house, Sam was waiting with clippers in hand. It was shaving time. I had promised them that I would jump on the bandwagon to celebrate our new healthy way of eating. We started with a mohawk, which would have looked really cool if it hadn't been too much to the right. I enjoyed it for a few minutes and then was dragged back to the chair by Sam who insisted we finish the job. I had horrible memories of the last time I shaved my head playing in my head! I was seventeen at the time and I had let my brother Ben shave it while we were home one afternoon. I remember my friend Becky coming over and saying, "Oh my God Jer! Please tell me you have a hat!" I have a big head, and at the time I had a smaller body, so I looked like a watermelon walking in the sun. It didn't help that my brother shaved an arrow into my head as well! Now that my body has grown in a bit.... I look like a big, bad biker or perhaps the wrestler Bam Bam Biggalo without the tattoos!

Bald and beautiful, we three cruised to Aguadilla and straight to Crashboat Beach. This beach has it all! Great sand, beautiful clear water, and a long pier that used to dock ships. It was awesome for swimming and also had some interesting snorkeling in the depths. We enjoyed the warm water and sunshine for a few hours in the morning and then shot down the west coast for Cabo Rojo. Everywhere we stopped for food and supplies we got funny looks. We must have seemed like three Aryan brothers and seeing as Sam and Alwin are from the motherland, I can't blame anyone for the extra glances.

We enjoyed the ride through the lush grasslands, which remind one of what South Africa must look like. Big swaying grass in the foreground and gorgeous mountains towering behind. Almost all of the roads we drove were small and curvy and it was such a relaxing contrast to the heavy traffic up here closer to San Juan.

5.3 million potholes later, we completed the dirt road to Cabo Rojo and it's famed light house and hidden white sand beach. I kept assuring them that it was only a rental car, and we'd laugh until the next pothole nearly broke our necks! Alwin was clicking away on his camera as we ventured through the boggy salt swamps and dry forest. A short hike got us up to the light house, which overlooks some of the most amazing sea cliffs you have ever seen. They are red in color and very craggy from all of the wind and ocean erosion. And the ocean below is a splendid sight. You can see for miles and miles into the south western Caribbean Sea, clear skies above, and grass and rock at your footsteps; it's like stepping back into time. Then you make your way around to the beautiful white sand beach that sits in a half moon bay below. I think this might be heaven... mine at least.

I hiked alone, while Sam and Alwin took pictures up top. They eventually met me about half way down the beach where Sam and I headed directly for the water. It was windy and had a nice three foot shore break. We body surfed for a good two hours while Alwin took pictures and played with crabs. This was living. There were a small number of people on the beach enjoying the same, but you had a great sense of isolation in this wild place. It was magnificent. We packed up just before sunset and took the backroads to La Parguera where we were to spend the night.

I lied. I totally lied about La Parguera. It seems that I just wasn't there on the right weekend. The place had livened back up to what I had remembered with live music, restaurants, street vendors and the like. We took the bioluminescent bay tour with a small boat operator and had a great time. There were only seven of us on the boat, so the operator gave us the option of swimming. Splash! Before we knew which way was up, Sam was in the water. Then Alwin joined. The organisms react to movement and glow a sapphire blue. It is quite magical. I have swam the one in Vieques, which is probably the best in the world, so I didn't go in this night. However, it was awesome all the same for me. I loved being out on the water with a sliver of a moon hanging low in the sky and all the stars shining in their glory. I daydreamed about the old days and how scared the sailors must have been of the glowing water! It was amazing.

We spent the night at Gladys Guest house, which wasn't as nice as our previous night, but still very inexpensive at $65 US a night. It was our last night in AC for a while!

We woke up this morning and stopped at a roadside vendor for our daily breakfast of fresh fruit! Ahhh... the new eating is going great, except that we had to eat McDonald's salad today which totally sucks! We spent the morning cruising through the Guanica dry forest and even got to see a manatee from afar on a cliff side lookout. Sam was happy about that, but disappointed that he couldn't join in for a swim! We got our swimming in at Gilligan's Island, a mangrove cay just a half mile off of the southern side of the island.

Gilligan's is a great place to relax for the day! There is a ferry that operates from the lone restaurant in the area and drops people at the island. It is a pack in, pack out reserve so most of the travelers bring coolers full of food and drinks for the day! The island has a few channels flowing through it that are maybe 12 to 15 feet wide by 5 or 6 feet deep. You can don your snorkel gear and float through the river like channels viewing all sorts of great fish! I saw angel fish, guppies, jacks, puffers, barracuda, flounder and a host of others that I couldn't even identify. They dart in and out of the mangrove limbs...all but the barracuda. who are nearly fearless. I followed a two and a half foot long monster for about 15 minutes, then he followed me. We played cat and mouse with each other, but I was careful not to turn my back to him. They have very sharp teeth and are curious as all hell.

After a few hours of fun and frolic we ventured on to Coamo to visit the hot springs. We were however turned around because the place is still under reconstruction. I'm hoping that it will be finished soon, because this is one of my favorite features on the island.

A beautiful drive through the central mountains and we were home in a few hours time. I feel refreshed, healthy, and ready to enjoy another day! I hope you are all well and enjoying yourselves whatever you may be doing! Until next time! J.

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