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February 2007

Cacti on Coffin IslandLivin the Dream has been in Puerto Rico since late January and we have traveled less miles because we are taking time to enjoy the island and the Spanish Virgin islands nearby.  After a few relaxing days in Boquerón on the Western coast, we rounded Cabo Rojo to explore the southern coast.  We anchored off Cayo Aurora (Gilligan’s Island ) with one other boat and enjoyed some snorkeling on the reef.

After a short stop in Ponce for fuel and provisioning at Santiago’s, we anchored off Caja de Muertos (Coffin Island) with our friends on Kardia where we hiked to the lighthouse and snorkeled off the reef on the far eastern shore. The southern coast of Puerto Rico is very dry.  There are large cacti and desert plants everywhere.  There were several wild fires while we traveled the southern coast.  From the Salinas anchorage, we could see the flames from the wild fires and we had ash on the deck of the boat for a few days.

Cacti on Caja de Muertos

On the east coast of Puerto Rico, we enjoyed the peaceful anchorage of Palominos and beautiful little Palominitos.  There is little activity on these islands during the week, but local boats fill the beaches to capacity on the weekends.  We have noticed that locals get out and enjoy their island and the surrounding areas on weekends.  There are many local boats that enjoy the smaller islands and popular tourists sites are very crowded on weekends.

Our fishing luck has not been very good on this trip so John was excited to catch two fish off the Eastern coast of Puerto Rico.  We shared our spanish mackerel catch with our friends from Sea Loco while we were anchored in Palominos.

Palimentos IslandSpanish Mackerl

Beautiful Palominitos Island

 

 

Spanish mackerel catch


John, Eric, and Pete on Livin the Dream

John, Eric, & PeteVolleyball friends Pete and Eric came to visit Livin the Dream in the middle of the month.  After arriving in San Juan by plane, they took the ferry boat to join us in Vieques.  We snorkeled and relaxed on the boat for a few days.  The highlight of their visit was a trip to bioluminescent Mosquito Bay.  Mosquito Bay has a small opening to the ocean, but is a large protected bay.  The microscopic dinoflagelette organisms collect and multiply in the mangrove bay, but cannot escape to the ocean because the waves pile into the small opening.  The result is a very high concentration of these tiny underwater lightening bugs that will light up whenever they are disturbed.  We picked a new (no) moon night for our experience.  The tour provided kayaks that we paddled out to the center of the bay.  We waited until dark and jumped in the water.  Any underwater movement caused a bright white light around your feet, arms and body.  It was very cool.  We had fun swimming, turning underwater flips and blowing bubbles to see how much light we could generate.  As we paddled back to shore, we could trace the movement of underwater fish by watching for the bright light they produced as they swam and jumped.

With Pete and Eric we also dove on a couple of reefs, relaxed on the boat, and enjoyed some great Puerto Rican restaurants.  After a few days on the boat we toured El Yunque, the tropical rain forest.  The dense tropical growth with large tree ferns and bamboo was beautiful and a stark contrast to the very dry southern coast of Puerto Rico where wild fires are a problem.  It was fun for us to share our life on Livin the Dream with two good friends, but their visit was too short.

Reef off ViequesRain forest

 

 

 

 

 

Snorkeling on Vieques reef

El Yunque rain forest

Indian monolithLater in the month, we enjoyed another two day trip in the Puerto Rico interior with Linda and Steve from Seaman’s Elixir.  We drove through the mountain ranges of central Puerto Rico where we saw more rain forests and experienced the view in the clouds from Cero de Punta, the highest peak in Puerto Rico (4,390 feet).  We spent the night in the mountain town of Adjuntas and continued the following day to the Caguana Indian Ceremonial Center used by the Taino Indians.  The site dates back to 1200 AD and includes a large ball court and 11 smaller courts where the game of batey was played between teams.  The courts are lined with monolith rocks with the original drawings and inscriptions still visible.

Before we returned to the Puerto del Rey marina, we also visited the world’s largest radio telescope at the Arecibo Observatory.  If you saw the James Bond movie “Golden Eye”, you saw the big dish with the secondary reflector suspended by cables over the primary dish.  In the movie, it was a huge death ray ready to destroy the world, but in real life, it collects information from deep space while also searching for extraterrestrial life.  It is a huge and impressive site.

The big island of Puerto Rico has all the amenities of the U.S.  We took advantage of Wal-Mart, Kmart, Advance Auto Parts, Sears, and Home Depot to stock up on a few items we cannot find on the smaller islands and countries we are visiting.  We have had good luck with maintenance items in February (not many things have been required.)  In addition to our normal maintenance items (oil changes, etc.) John had to construct a new shaft key for the toilet, and we have had our refrigerator replaced by Norcold under warranty.

Taino Indian Monolith at Caguana Indian Ceremonial Center

We have loved the Spanish Virgin Islands of Palominos, Vieques, and Culebra.  There is beautiful diving on their coral reefs, beautiful beaches to visit, and the islands themselves are laid-back and relaxing.  We are on the way to the US and British Virgin Islands now and will write about them in March.