It had been something of a rough week emotionally, so Britton and I thought some Vitamin Sea might be just what the doctor ordered. Which beach should we explore? There are so many beaches in Rincón, but we often go to the same ones all the time which normally are the north beaches near our house. So instead, we chose to go down south near Corcega and Almendros Beach.
Britton enjoying the warm Caribbean waters
I have seen the Millan Boat from afar before, but I have never gone and explored it. From what I understand it was built in the mid 20th century by Mr. Emiliano “Millan” Altiery as an homage to the fishermen profession.
Bote Millan from a distance
Wow! Up close it looks a lot like a boat!
Another cool place to take photos
And look snazzy whilst drinking our morning coffee
Up on top it really did feel like a boat!
Right nearby I noticed a cool swing! Being the adventurer that I am, I had to take a ride! Swinging on a coconut palm while the waves crashed next to a small river outlet reminds me how much my life seems like a dream and this is the carnival scene.
Swinging to the sea!
Over the river
After swimming a bit more we began to get hungry. We packed up our beach chairs and headed down the road in the Millennium Falcon, our nickname for the warp-speeding Mustang. We picked up a pollo asa’o sandwich, chatted with a friend and then blasted off to find a little deserted beach in Añasco.
The Mill Falcon on a new planet
Exploring paths unknown
Deep in the jungle
All in all, I’d say it helped us perk up a bit to remember what a beautiful place and time we get to live.
When we are out and about we often see things that we call “Island Scenes,” you know, scenes that you would never see if you didn’t live on a tropical island. Palm trees, especially coconut palms, to me are one of the quintessentially tropical markers. And as we were walking down a beach one day we came upon two men who were harvesting coconuts from tall 50 foot swaying palm trees. One of them climbed up using his spikes and the other one caught the heavy bundle of coconuts that descended from a rope.
Hola from on high!
These coconuts are mainly used for their coconut water, but of course can be used for any number of preparations from coconut oil, toasted coconut, coconut milk, even piña coladas! This is a great service for the beaches because a coconut that falls from that height could easily kill an unwitting person below. Win/win! Here’s a video of them at their work:
We hung out for a while nearby with a friend and enjoyed the sunset. I tried my monkey best to climb a coconut palm, but without the spikes I couldn’t get too far
My coconut tree climb is not nearly as impressive!
Horse riding and a pack of dogs on the beach
Classic sunset shot
We also watched another traditional method of living off the land and water when we saw a man setting up the fishing net at the edge of the sea as the tiny ripples lapped softly against the sand. I’m not exactly sure what he was fishing for, perhaps sardines as we often see them when we enter the water. This is the kind of economic activity that has been going on for hundreds of years and that you probably won’t hear much about on the news or through the government: a direct connection to nature and your livelihood.
Boat at sunset
A ceiling fan and a clock on a bamboo pole. Is this where island time came from? haha
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.
Close up of an Elkhorn coral
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.