Saturday, January 19, 2013

Puerto Rico Day 6: 1/9/13

Dave woke up in the middle of the night with excessive itching from sand fly bites. He used the tonic out of desperation and it actually worked.

We had a lazy morning. Then we headed out to the front of Susie’s Restaurant where we were supposed to meet up with the folks who were going to take us snorkeling. We had no other instructions and neither of our phones worked so we couldn’t clarify who was supposed to meet us there, if the 10:30 time was still correct, and what the boat the Raz-ma-Taz looked like. We ended up finding two guys on a boat – Todd and Captain Taz. We were just going to snorkel, but Todd tried mightily to convince us to try scuba diving. We shrugged our shoulders and said, Why not? We were on the boat with another gal who was getting her scuba certification. We first headed out and got gas from one of the island’s two gas stations. They had a really long hose that was able to reach to the boat. We motored through an expanse of beautiful blue with threatening rainclouds.

The whitewash from the engine spread out like a whale’s tail.

We stopped near Cayo Luis Pena (a small island). Captain Taz gave us a quick lesson with these funny placards and a 10-question quiz at the end. We put on wetsuits and flippers and Todd strapped on the scuba vest with the compressed air.

After a quick in-water lesson, we headed down. Being underwater is pretty amazing. There were underwater plants and coral that waved to current, not wind. Purple vase-like sponges. Other wide ottoman-like sponges with complicated symmetric Mayan-type patterns and branch-like sponges lining the coral. Large meshy-leaves waved in the water. The fish were largely unafraid. There were white fish with yellow tails, flat fish with a single spot that looked like an eye, fish with textured scales that looked like tile, little bright electric blue fish, tiny electric yellow fish nibbling at the coral. We saw a sting-ray hiding in the sand; Todd touched it and it went flapping away like a bird, except it was in the water. We saw a little crab that looked like a giant daddy-long legs. Mabel wouldn’t touch it.

Lunch was simple but delicious. White bread, mayo, mustard, cheese, and ham? Oreos, BBQ potato chips, and slices of pear. Todd gave me a slice of bread; Mabel threw bits into the ocean and watched the yellow-tailed fish swarm over each other to eat it. They also loved the BBQ chips, too.

We went by Carlos Rosario Beach. Dave got a little sea sick so Captain Taz let him drive the boat for a bit. We went on a second expedition. Pretty amazing stuff. We saw an enormous lobster hiding in a dark corner. When we emerged, we were rewarded with some tamarind-mango liquor made by someone Todd knew. It was good, potent stuff.

The ride back to the habor was uneventful. Dave was no longer seasick.

Dave slept the afternoon away while Mabel played in the water at Flamenco Beach until it got cold. Dinner at Dinghy Dock – a refreshing contrast to the solitude of El Caobo and dinner in the apartment.

It was really hopping. The food was billed as tapas but would be more accurately described as pub fare (not that there’s anything wrong with that): artichoke dip, ribs, jalepeno poppers, coconut shrimp. The evening was spent reading books until we fell asleep with the lights on.

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