Category Archives: Beach

Holy Mackerel! Makaira Fishing Trip in Rincon

Posted by Cassie

Kirk Fish 2
Kirk and a bonita fish

We went out to Art Walk last Thursday and ran into our friend Kirk. He said he was planning on going out on a fishing charter and had a few extra spots. Would we like to go? Ummm, yah! Britton has been out fishing with Makaira one other time, but I had never been.

Since we had made drunk plans, we weren’t sure if Kirk would remember that he had invited us. When we arrived at 6am in the Rincon Marina he wasn’t there, but the fishing boat was waiting for him and us and shortly thereafter he arrived.

Rincon Sunrise
Rincon Sunrise

It was a beautiful morning. I rarely wake up in time to see the sunrise, but I have to say they are nearly as spectacular as the sunsets here. If you are morning person, sunrises in PR are gorgeous!

Cassie fishing boat

A chilly winter morning (~70 degrees haha)

I was a little nervous that I would get sea sick, but I remembered what I have learned about sea-sickness and that is mainly to keep your eye on land or at least the horizon and never look down for long.

Britton Randy
Britton and Randy

We trolled with lures for about an hour and this boat can move! It was really fun having the wind blowing through my hair, jumping the waves and occasionally getting sprayed with water. However, we never got a bite on any of the lines. Trolling is for the really big fish like swordfish or sailfish.

Cassie boat 2
Sun and sea!

So we cruised on back near the shore on the southern side of Rincon and Anasco and could see the devastation from the hurricane on that side. It was different to see it from the sea as opposed to land. You can really appreciate the fury of Maria there.

Hurricane Damage
Whole buildings collapsed into the sea

Near the shore the shipmate Josy worked his magic with the nets and pulled in quite a few sardines that we would then use as live bait.

Josy tossing net Josy Toss
Josy’s got mad skills!

Dumping the fish into the holding tank

Now we were ready to do some fishing! Pepe and Josy helped to bait all the poles and threw out a few of the sardines to draw up some fish (as well as to attract the sea gulls).

Cassie Fishing
Richie and me fishing

I broke my rule of looking down when the fishing line would get wrapped up a little around the rod, and I began to feel a little queasy. I asked Britton to take over my pole and only about 10 minutes later he was reeling one in! It was awesome! A large king mackerel! Holy mackerel!

Britton Holy Mackeral
Britton’s mackerel

Soon thereafter Kirk and Richie both pulled in some fish.

Richie Fish
Richie and his fish

Pepe and Kirk
Pepe (the great captain!) and Kirk with another mackerel

Josy filleted the mackerel for us. They say that although the bonita is a type of tuna, it’s better as cat food than as human food…so we didn’t take that back.

Josy fillet
Josy prepared the fish there on the boat

Although I didn’t personally reel in a fish, I had a wonderful time and was stoked that I didn’t get sick at all! I must be getting my sea legs! I always enjoy seeing the Rincon peninsula from the sea because it just so beautiful!

Sardine Silly cassieHey I did catch a fish! haha
Cassie Kirk Fishing
Me and Kirk on a majestic tropical morning

Kirk still doesn’t have power at his place, not even a generator so he encouraged us to take all the fish we could since he has no refrigeration. We made plans to meet up with our friend Dawn who said she would cook up the mackerel that evening.

Fish DinnerWe enjoyed the best, freshest fish dinner with friends!

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Happy New Year (and Good Riddance 2017)

Posted by Cassie

2018 B C

Wow! 2017 is finally gone. It was an exciting and thrilling year with quite the rollercoaster ride. I don’t think I would want to do another 2017, but I certainly have learned a lot through it. We are setting new intentions and looking toward the future. We wish you all a happy new year 2018 as well.

Queen of the elves
Christmas season may be over, but it doesn’t always look like it

Cassie rock en donde crecen las palmas
Taking hikes in January in a bathing suit never gets old

C B Cofresi
We stopped by Villa Cofresi on New Year’s Eve

Beach days

Choco couchAnd more fun on the road

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Dominican Yolas

Posted by Cassie

An interesting part of living in Puerto Rico is that we are front and center of Caribbean geopolitics. A recent case in point was when we came upon a yola near Sandy Beach in Rincón. A yola is a small boat usually from the Dominican Republic that is used primarily to transport fleeing people who immigrate (illegally) to Puerto Rico and then potentially to the mainland US. Sometimes they are Haitians who have fled to DR and then from DR they come to PR. It is sort of a follow-the-money game where people leave the poorer country for the richer; much as many Puerto Ricans are leaving the island to the US proper for better job opportunities.

With a yola on the beach

These are fairly common sights, but this was the first time I saw one recently vacated. There was still clothing strewn about and the remnants of a small fire, probably the people who were waiting for them to arrive. They paint the boat blue and throw a blue tarp over top in order to blend in with the ocean and not be spotted. Sometimes people come over without any plan at all and just run through the jungle looking for water to drink and clothing to wear.

puerto-rico, Dominican Republic
Eastern DR to West PR is less than 100 miles, but through pretty rough seas

I can only imagine the feeling of desperation there must be for someone to make the decision to leave everything they know and take a treacherous 2-3 day journey on a boat like this with nothing certain awaiting them! It reminded me of when we saw the stranded people out on Desecheo that didn’t quite make it to Rincón.

Yola cut
The motor was removed shortly after arriving and the side of the boat was cut (by police presumably) so that it would be harder to re-use

This was a successful journey for these Dominicans. It’s not always the case that all of them end up alive at the end of the trip.

Puerto Ricans call the whole country of the Dominican Republic Santo Domingo, not just the capital. And in terms of relations of Puerto Ricans with people from Santo Domingo, there is a tolerance, but also a sort of feeling of superiority due to the citizenship status and also wealth. While Puerto Rico is not rich by US standards, in comparison to a poor undocumented yola newcomer, any Boricua has it far better by most measures.

Here is a short video about the yola that washed up on shore.


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Our First Cruise: Last Stop St Maarten

Posted by Cassie

Pretty Port of St Maarten
Checking out the port of St Maarten from atop the ship

After another full day at sea in which we found a variety of activities on the ship including dancing in the night club until about 3am on the top deck of the ship, we arrived on the Dutch side of St Maarten. The first thing I noted about St Maarten was that it had the prettiest, most picturesque port (at least on one side) of all the other islands we visited. Unlike the dry ABC islands, we were back to a lusher part of the Caribbean, nearly home to green and beautiful Puerto Rico.

Group of friends
Our group at the dock

We decided that for our last day we should make it a group outing with our whole dining table friends.

Pretty landscapes
Pretty St Maarten from our water taxi

This was our shortest day in port. They wanted us back on the ship by 3:30pm, leaving around 4pm! That didn’t leave us with much time to explore, so we all decided that a nice dip in the ocean, a few beers and a little stroll around the downtown would be plenty for us.

Flags of St Maarten

My main impression of St Maarten was that it was the most influenced by the cruise industry and tourism of all the islands. This meant that we were harassed and bothered to buy things by the vendors all down the line of shops. The taxi drivers over and over were asking us if we needed a ride, and even when we bought their umbrella/beer special on the beach, women constantly came up to us and asked if wanted to buy some of their knickknacks, get our hair braided or a massage. It was probably the most annoying stop for me, and what I had worried the rest of the trip might be like.

Lady on the beach
One of about 10 women who came up to us every 5 minutes to try to sell us stuff

Perhaps if we had gone a little further to the French side of the island or really any distance at all from the ship, this wouldn’t have been such an issue. We heard that there is a cool beach that overlooks the airport and also that the French side of the island has nude beaches and that the Dutch side has gambling. Choose your delight…

St Maarten church
Street scene in St Maarten

Main strip of St Maarten
A hot and sunny day in St. Maarten

The best thing about all the competition for tourist money was that everything was very cheap compared with the other islands. We got a bucket of 6 bottled beers on ice for $10 and they were advertising T-shirts 5 for $20.

White sands watching jet ski
Watching our friend Jason on the jet ski

C Lounging Cassie
St Maarten had the whitest sand beaches I had seen yet

Britton and Cassie sea
And the water was so clear you didn’t need a snorkel to look through it

After our short and mainly pleasant stay in St Maarten, it was time to load up on the boat and pack our things. Of all the islands, I felt that I would like to visit St Maarten/Martin again. Lucky for us, it is pretty close to Puerto Rico.

C St Maarten Cassie
Goodbye for now, St Maarten!

That night on the ship we packed up our bags and watched a farewell show from the bay window of our room and then watched St Maarten and the rest of our first cruise fade away on the horizon.

Promenade goodbye show
A tiki spectacle right from our room

Cassie smooth sailing
St Maarten fades away into memory

Britton on a boat
A beautiful end to our first cruise

Puerto Rico
6am in the port yard Puerto Rico

The next morning bright and early we arrived in the port of Puerto Rico and by noon we were back on the farm reflecting of our fabulous days and dreaming of the lobster, shrimp cocktails, escargot and crème brulee of nights before. It was a wonderful trip and helped us to also remember how fortunate we are to live on one of the more beautiful islands of the Caribbean.

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