Thursday, 21 May 2009

Puerto Rico, Isla Del Encanto

Porch tiles at the home of Victor and Ruthie, Vieques.

Puerto Rico, its islands, Vieques and Culebra, and its people enchanted us from the start with charm, beauty, history, and most of all, a joie de vivre.  No argument, the US territory of Puerto Rico is the Island of Enchantment!  Fun times were had with Sunny and Blake, Slow Mocean doing some buddy-boating and crossed paths many times with friends on Spectra, Night Hawk and Astarte.

I had a lot of difficulty choosing images to share so as soon as I can I'll update the albums to include more of Puerto Rico.  It's been a challenge in the last few weeks to find strong wifi connections as well as time to spend on the blog so while we have the chance we will do our best to bring it up to date.  

Thanks for your comments and emails.  We love to know you are traveling with us through the blog.  Our friend Barry has joined us so we might just get him to post a thing or two as a guest writer!

For now, here's a look back at Puerto Rico, Vieques and Culebra......

Drive by shooting with Joe, M/V Spectra at the wheel of the rental car.  Those are tree ferns.  We whirled around the bends, 13 per minute, climbing up to San Sebastian from Ponce.  Houses literally cling to the edges of the cliffs and the vegetation is lush.

Dinner aboard M/V Spectra. Mel, Joe, Daisie, Robert, Trish and David (yes ladies, he's single!)

Big, orange starfish, commonly seen in the waters around the islands.

The tarpon are protected in Ponce Harbour.  $1 buys a bag of sardines to feed them.  Pelicans and seagulls compete for sardines but leave the tarpon alone.

La Barkita, on a corner in Salinas, PR serves great empanidillas (meat filled pastries).

Barbara, S/V Astarte and Robert enjoy a drink at an Irish bar on the outskirts of San Juan.  Yep, those Irish bars are everywhere.

We tagged along with Mike and Barbara from Astarte when they had to go up to San Juan to get their dinghy outboard repaired.  Thankfully there's a happy ending to their outboard worries.  The outboard dealer is also the Harley Davidson dealer so we enjoyed checking out the Harleys and got to walk through the workshop (laboratory clean!).

The colors of Puerto Rico are generally bright and intense.  A drive around Vieques was a real treat, courtesy of new friends of Sonny and Blake, Victor and Ruthie.

A sad sight along the road beside the sugar cane field in Salinas.

We enjoy exploring the mangroves.  There's always lots of aquatic life to see.

There's fabulous snorkeling right off the beach at Rosario.  There's no escaping the military history or presence throughout Puerto Rico.  The sign educates about protecting the coral as well as warns about unexploded ordinances.  

Flamenco Beach, Culebra was once off limits when used by the military.

In a strange way, the activities and management by the military of much of Puerto Rico for so many years has prevented over-development, keeping the area naturally beautiful.

One of those days.

Blake, Robert and Sunny take the ferry from Vieques to Fajardo, about 16 miles and a great deal at $3 each.

Girls day out in Boqueron, Mel, Trish, Jenna, Sunny.

Slow Mocean at anchor.

The beautiful ketch Night Hawk built by owners Ray and Genna, sailing in Puerto Rico.

La Paguerra boat houses, colorful and playful.

Bacalao, a Spanish dish of dry salt cod.  Yolanda's in La Paguerra serves this delicious dish!

Jorge Acevedo, painter and drummer in his Culebra Studio.

Jorge Acevedo's studio looks like it sits at street level.  In fact, it rests in the trees.  His backyard drops away quickly to the mangroves where hummingbirds and land crabs live.  

This tank was left in the sand when the military ceased their activities on Flamenco Beach.  Jorge had painted the tank in bright colors, now faded, and it became something of a symbol.  He told us about an organization called Coralations which was founded to promote and protect the land and sea environment of Culebra.

Destination Unknown Journals is a site I just discovered.  The author shares some pictures and info about Culebra.

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