Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Sea sickness and Monkeys....

"Que pasa amigo! How are you doing? So happy to see you!" were the words that flowed gracefully from Captain Frank's lips as he greeted us with big hugs and kisses at his mooring area in the coastal town of Naguabo. The most beautiful of salty souls, Captain Frank can turn a smile out of anyone and he lights up the town with laughter and small talk the minute he pulls up in his old Jeep stuffed with nautical supplies. Out of the piles of rope and boating gear appeared his cousin Junior, who was a stark contrast to Frank's robustness. Junior hobbled along on a cane with Frank's assistance and was seated on the sea wall where the four of us carried conversation for over an hour. We laughed about each other's crazy stories and all of the fun trips we had taken in life. I told my aunt and Junior about some of my previous outings with the crazy captain that had them laughing in stitches! Frank suggested we go for a ride and proceeded to kayak out to his boat and bring it back to the docking area for the rest of us to board.

We were soon plying the gentle waters of the harbor and slowly but surely we were going to get out to sea a bit and make our way to Cayo Santiago. The boat passed the last little isthmus of land that ended the harbor and "whack", the waves started coming at us. The waves weren't by an means dangerous, but I could see the look in my aunt's eyes as we continued out. She popped a few dramamine and kept smiling and talking through the slightly rocky seas. I was in heaven. Nothing makes me feel better than a beautiful blue sea.

When we got close enough to the island, we moored the boat in a little cove that gave us protection from the bigger seas. The protection did not stop the boat from moving to and fro and we had killed the engine and left our fate to the mercy of the ocean. I, being the boy that I always will be, grabbed a snorkel mask and jumped in for a look. The water was perfect in temperature, but the continuous waves were kicking up considerable amounts of sand and creating pretty murky water. I dove down for a few starfish to pose on the boat for pictures, but that was much of the extent of my snorkeling for the day.

As I climbed back into the boat I saw the three of them taking pictures of the monkeys on Cayo Santiago. These rhesus monkey's are isolated on this 39 acre island and have been since 1939 when a team of scientists from Columbia University and University of Puerto Rico introduced them for research. They are studied heavily for their behavior which is believed to be the closest to humans of all primates. Guess what the little bastards did? Within a few months they formed three monarchial tribes that etched out territory and started warring for food and resources! Very close to humans indeed.

After pulling our mooring, we started back to sea opting out of diving the wreck and seeing other parts of the island due to my aunt's "queasiness". Well, queasiness turned into violent puking pretty quickly and we all tried our best to keep our composure for my aunt as she lost her breakfast into a myriad of bags. She kept a smile on her face through the whole ordeal, but it wiped her out physically by the time we got back to port. The dramamine kicking in, she was looking rather sleepy and I knew we should be getting home soon. I steered us safely through the grasslands and beautiful beaches of the east side of the island as we made our way home to the rain forest.

A hearty dose of Chappelle Show Season 2 on DVD got us laughing into the night and feeling much better indeed. I stayed up a little later jamming some music and thinking about all of the people I miss at home. Hope you are having a great night!

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