We are in the midst of moving over to the cabin!! (More on that soon!) Yay! But it has been a stressful period too. So we have been trying to take some time out to reset at the beach as well.
One of our very favorite water activities here in Puerto Rico and Rincón specifically is snorkeling. It is inexpensive -all you need is a snorkeling mask and some fins. I often go out without fins because it is less of a hassle, but if I were to go out for a long session I would wear them as they help tremendously in propulsion underwater. It’s fairly easy to learn how to do too. Pretty much as long as you can swim in the ocean, you can snorkel. It takes a little bit to get your bearings, but once you’ve done it a few times it’s super simple. And it’s also something you can do basically all year round. It is sort of like the yin to the yang of surfing. They are both an ode to the sea, but in different ways.
Surfing needs waves. Snorkeling needs flat waters. Surfing is floating just above the waterline, snorkeling is just below it. Surfing needs plenty of space to move, snorkeling can be done just floating in one area if desired. Surfing is about focused power and snorkeling is about focused gentleness. Surfing is mainly about the action, snorkeling is mainly about the observation. Surfing is fast and snorkeling is slow. To me, that we have both world class surfing and snorkeling in Rincón is a perfect expression of these two complementary sides of life.
Our favorite place to snorkel is at the Tres Palmas Reserve that is right off Steps Beach. It’s a little of a challenge for some people to enter because it doesn’t have a sandy bottom, but once in, a magical underwater world opens up. It has one of the best Elkhorn coral formations in the world! And with that comes lots of fish and sea turtles too! This has been a long process of conservation and it has really paid off. It is just bustling with life as you can see in the above video. We float around completely immersed in this other world almost like spacemen with minimal gravity on another planet. And then we enjoy learning about and identifying the various strange life forms we see.
We have snorkeled some other places in Rincón, but Tres Palmas is by far the best. Over in Corcega or Almendros the waters are super clear with long sandy beaches, but there’s not nearly as many fish. The Marina can have some good snorkeling as it’s directly connected to Tres, but there are too many boats going in and out and that scares the fish away. At the balneario, there are sandy bottoms so it’s easy to enter, but pretty much only little fish like sardines.
On the other side of the point at Sandy Beach we have seen sea snakes (or maybe eels?) and a few other cool things, but it often has too many waves to have good clarity for regular snorkeling. Overall, though I always enjoy snorkeling pretty much anywhere because by simply putting on a small piece of transparent plastic we suddenly have a little window into a part of the world that is rarely visible. It’s pretty incredible and I am so grateful to live in a place with this wondrous space just under our noses.
The dream begins like this: We snorkel.
Snorkel. This sounds like an absurd word and it is! Absolutely and fantastically! The word that fits the absurdity of the action. Snorkel. We put on a viewing device over our eyes and nose and a breathing device tube that goes from our mouth just to the surface of the water as well as propulsion device fins that turn us into half merfolk. Once the transformation is complete, we are suddenly free to float about under water breathing normally and sometimes even kick and duck under to fully immerse in this wet weightlessness.
And what an experience! As I popped up bobbing for a moment and looked back at the tropical coastline trimmed with tall swaying coconut palms, vibrant blue skies and golden sand as the water joyfully bounced along, I just couldn’t believe how incredibly amazing this was. And that was outside the underwater realm!
Underneath, we followed schools of fish that were the colors of iridescence itself. We saw the proud orange elkhorn coral and the round brain coral. The light refracted from the sea’s surface so that shadows were lines of wiggling light on the sea floor. We saw a sneaky long-nosed fish and then we saw the most gorgeous creature: a sea turtle. We followed him along for a long time as he swam through the fish gliding along and occasionally popping up out of the water for a gulp of air. He didn’t seem to mind at all.
As we leave this underwater wonderland and shake the saltiness off as we taste it on our lips, we are greeted by these most glorious trees: the red flamboyan. The impressive rouge tinge imprints its name as it truly is: flamboyant!
And as the dream continues, there are these gorgeous horses everywhere. Even regal horses towed along in their carriage instead of towing the carriage itself. It is quite possible these are unicorns on their way to coronation (or is is cornonation?).
Then out of nowhere we find a fruit that looks mighty evil with spikes and an odd testicular shape but which are actually surprisingly sweet in a strange sort of way!
And just as it seems the dreamworld is about to end, the sky shatters into a million shades of pink and purple before finally turning into a black velvet blanket speckled with diamond light and closes to the whistling noises of tiny tree frogs.
Is this a dream directed by Wes Anderson? Or maybe it is a scene cut from the Wizard of Oz when Dorothy leaves the grey hues of Kansas for the Technicolor of Oz. As we doze off to the visions that sleep bring us each night I sometimes wonder which is truly the dream.
Our good friends Matt and Jamie are on la isla for a big adventure of their own and so we have taken a break from our usual activities around the yard to show them a slice of life here.
It’s nice not having to work or ask for time off when friends or family come to town; we can simply stop whatever we normally do and hang out.
We decided to go out to La Cambija for dinner one evening. The first time we went to La Cambija I was curious what it was. I didn’t know what that word meant in Spanish and I even looked it up online and didn’t see anything. So, of course the next time we were there I asked them at the restaurant.
It refers to the strange looking tower across the street from the restaurant. Apparently this road (Calle La Cambija) was at one point in history an old railway and La Cambija was a water tank for the steam engines that passed through with the sugar cane! Anyhow, we got our history lesson and also some very delicious fresh fish from this place.
The menu prices vary depending on the fish catches but everything we have had has been good there. Britton really likes the dorado burrito with tostones, and I like the ceviche or fish tacos. Drink prices are pretty reasonable, however, they have started a new policy where they will not serve you a glass of water! You must order bottled water, even though tap water in Puerto Rico is perfectly fine to drink (unlike Mexico). So bring your own bottle of water and ask for a cup of ice or something if you want to get around this strange phenomenon that is happening at many of the touristy places.
Later we went out for some drinks and entertainment at the Rincón Beer Company and saw the local up-and-coming band, The Disfunction.
It also happened to be Mother’s Day and there was a big event going on in the plaza in front of the Catholic church to celebrate. They were bringing up different mothers and putting them into a throne-like chair and reading about what a great mother each one had been. I liked this event because I wish I could put my mom in this chair and tell her how much I love her too (love ya Mom)! It was pretty cool. Mother’s Day here is treated like a major holiday and most businesses like grocery stores were closed!
We also went snorkeling with our friends from the Balneario to the Marina and Marine Reserve area. Britton and I snorkeled side by side and followed a long school of blue and yellow fish. It was very beautiful. We need to get a water proof case for our camera so that I can take some pictures of the fish. Britton has been doing a little snorkeling on his own lately when I am at yoga and he said he had a huge sea turtle following him around as he floated!
It’s nice to take a break from landscaping and playing with turkeys and chickens to show friends what an awesome place this is. It takes us back to when we saw it for the first time on our honeymoon and were hooked ever since.