Sunday, March 25, 2012

More about Puerto Rico...

The best day for all of us on our Puerto Rican holiday was our trip to the deserted island of Icacos with East Island Excursions. This company runs several different boat trips with various adventures such as snorkeling or visiting one of the bio- luminescent bays. Our trip was a daytime snorkeling trip aboard a sailing catamaran called East Wind. 

We boarded the ship around 9:30am , and immediately the rum punch was flowing. Our host was Owen Wilson's doppelganger, crew member Levi. With four years of experience sailing with East Island, Levi took no time to gain the passengers' trust, it was obvious by his friendly personality and relaxed manner that he loves his job, and wants everyone to have a good time. Food and drink was included in this adventure, and I could feel my limbs becoming loose before the boat set out into crystal clear open water.

We anchored at Icacos for almost 2 hours and were able to comb the beach, snorkel, and fly off the water slide into the ocean. Ultimate kid and adult heaven. Perfect white sand, clear water for snorkeling, and few enough of us to never feel crowded. The crew was comprised of helpful strapping men who suited us up and taught us the pointers of seeing the best sights, all the while staying calm, friendly, and attentive to the 77 passengers on the boat. 

Our second stop was  snorkeling stop at Cayo Tortuga, a site known for sea turtles. We were not so lucky this stop, and on my one attempt to snorkel I found it difficult to make it out to see much, perhaps it was the combination of the current and the daiquiris. Liz and her son Andrew had better luck and explored the reef easily. Even without the snorkeling, lying out on the deck taking in the surroundings was far more pleasing than anything I could have imagined. My only complaint was that our five hour day was not long enough, I could have stayed a week. When we docked back in Fajardo the kids and adults agreed that our adventure with East Island Excursions was unbeatable, a perfect day for the whole family. I can't recommend these guys enough.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Hazardous fun in Culebra

Our final full day in PR was a trip to the island of Culebra. Sometimes known as the "Spanish Virgin Islands", Culebra and it's larger sister island Vieques are vacation destinations unto themselves, but can also be great for a day trip when visiting the mainland. We booked the ferry a few days in advance, and found it almost impossible to visit on the weekend, but Tuesday was no problem. The ride cost just a few dollars per person round trip, and took about 1 1/2 hours each way. We left at 9 am and were on the reputably beautiful Flamenco beach by 11, with the assistance of a tiny Puerto Rican taxi driver ($30 round trip). The ferry ride to Culebra was choppy, even in the seemingly still waters, so beware of sea sickness if you are prone to it.

Once arriving at the beach, the sand was pure white and the waters crystal blue, it was a beautiful location to end our visit to Puerto Rico. We rented snorkeling gear, and Liz headed out on her own to explore the reef that lies directly on Flamenco Beach. While admiring purple jellyfish and barracudas she was swept out a little too far and got caught up in a rip current. Thankfully a man nearby heard her cry for help and pulled my dear friend to safety, as I smiled at her from the shore, thinking her waving was in merriment at the beautiful surroundings. Dear God. Warning: when snorkeling, especially after drinking pina coladas, it is best to wear a flotation device and use the buddy system.