Sunday, March 20, 2011

Getting home....

What a few weeks... It has been wonderful.  We have a dream of one day being able to call a tropical island home.  Some type of employment would have to occur to make it happen.  You know how vacations are a break from reality... Well Tracy decided to see if he could indeed make a dream real and work from an Island.  The verdict... YES!!!
Tracy's Caribbean Office.

What a dream, someday? perhaps!  Wouldn't that be nice!  Of course, I'm not exactly sure what I would do, but we know the boys, (men) can work from anywhere, as long as there are computers and Internet access. We need a plan!

Getting home...

We left the island on Saturday, took the 1pm ferry.  Right on time!  Go figure, just when I'm prayin' and hopin' for a ferry break down, it works and leaves on time.....

Hey but the really great, great news is..... We Saw a Whale!!! Unbelieveable!!! Amazing!!! Incredible!!! I spent the whole time there scouring the waters around me looking for whales.  When do we see one?  About a half hour before the ferry pulls into Fahardo!  Nothing like the very last minute to possibly see a whale!!!  Turtles, and panthers and whales!  Did I tell you about the panthers?   Lots of them all over the island....  Jay read a book while we were there on the history of Culebra.  In it, there was discussion about the panthers on the island.  Kind of like the chupacabra, loch ness and big foot...  we figured there was some truth to the legend as we saw hundreds of little black panther like animals everyday.  Okay, back to the whale.  It didn't breach, but there was a blow spout and I did get a picture!

The Whale!

Jay & Tracy

It was incredibly exciting.  Everything we have seen has been beautiful  Life has been so peaceful.  Luckily we didn't have to jump right back into reality.  We're off to spend a few days with our family in Arecibo!

Our driver, Jamie (pronounced "Hi Me") met us at the ferry dock when we pulled in.  Hey, we now have a "driver" in Puerto Rico!!!  How cool is that!  If you ever go to PR, flying into San Juan and need a driver to take you to Fahardo, or your hotel, or where ever, let me know.... I'll give you Jamie's number.  Such a nice guy.  On our way to Fahardo, Jay and Jamie became fast friends.  They got to talking about when they were younger and the stands on the side of the road.  Jamie decided to stop at one so we could eat  After getting our pork, Kosti  began to wander, (like he always does) and got picked up by a couple of "hot chicks" with their own little stand.

One of Kosti's hot chicks.   
 I don't know what it is about this Russian.  He picks up women like pickin up pizza, on a regular basis!  They swoon all over him.  They taught him to cook, and then let him take over!

Kosti learns to cook!

Kosti and our driver Jamie. Kosti takes over!

The Kosti Cod!
After we left Kosti's women, (who made us promise to come back next year), we headed back to San Juan.  Jamie asked Kosti if he tried Coco Frio.  Which we all have, then he wanted to know if we tried Coco Frio with Rum.... Hmmm. never thought of that.  Jamie, being the all service excellent driver host that he is, pulled over and got Kosti a Coco Frio and Rum!  How nice.

We made it to Arecibo, taking the scenic route of course!  Spent time with Jay's Parents and then made the long trip home on Wednesday.  Eventful.....

The good news, we're home and it's Spring and I'm back with my Sadie Girl!!!!  Yay. 

I learned a lot on this trip.  I'd like to think I always learn alot with everything I do.  I'm slowly getting back into the daily routine.  Give me a few days and I'll share my enlightenment with you all!

Enjoy Spring!   It's here to stay!!!!!!             



Friday, March 11, 2011

Our Last Day here on the Island we have come to love....

Today is our last day here.  We've really become attached to this place.  Not only is it beautiful, warm, sunny, but we have grown attached to the people....  We feel like we belong.

Yesterday as we were doing laundry, two others (locals) came in to do laundry and we knew them, a third person came in and turns out we also met her a few days prior.  SMALL Island! Who knew laundry could be so social.

On our way back to the house, we went past Wiki's cousin's store.  We had stopped there a few days earlier to buy one of Wiki's CD's.  They were out but his cousin said he'd get us some by friday.   As we are driving in town, a bartender we met earlier in the trip and keep running into, starts chatting with us.  Imagine the small roads in town,  two way traffic, wide enough for one car to pass at a time.  Very slow moving, in fact slow enough to talk to the pedestrians walking by.  We pass Wiki's cousin's place, he's outside, he stops us and tells us he'll have the CD for us in the am.  This is after 2 weeks!  Kinda like Rush in the Caribbean....

In an earlier post I wrote about "Da Bar", Mike and Jenna.  They have become good friends.  We are going to miss them.  There have been a few late nights, early mornings with them.  Last night while waiting for dinner, Mike walks by.  He had just come in from the main Island, looking very tired.  (I think Tracy and Kosti and 3 am the morning he was leaving for the main Island had something to do with that  look)  He said he was tired, but would go home and rest up for our last night here, (tonight).  Mike is also a Realtor, which will come in handy.  Next year we would like to be a little closer to town, minus the long steep driveway.... then I can get a golf cart to drive!!!! Yea!!!  So tonight, we'll have to spend some quality time with him.

After more than 40 minutes waiting for dinner, they announce that they are out of gas and can't do anymore cooking.  They close the kitchen and start drinking.  My poor guys.  They are hungry, I already had my salad and calamari, a bottle of water and half of Jay's LI Ice Tea... I'm good!  At this point its about 9:45. Most places are closed, closing, or out of food.  They send us to El Batey.  A local's joint that is not in town, and stays open until 1.  They said they had food, and it was good.  So off we went.  The guys were able to eat and  I had some pretty darn good Mango and Rum drinks.....

Then off to Da Bar to spend some time with Jenna.  She's leaving this morning to go to Rincon for the weekend, so we won't see her until next year.

Tomorrow we are hopefully heading to Arecibo to see Mom and Dad.... How I love saying that.  No one could ask for better in-laws.  If I could hand pick my in-laws, I would have picked them!  Hopefully (or not), there will be a ferry and it will run.  They have been using a cargo ferry, loaned from Vieques, as their ferrys are not running.  We'll see....

If I didn't miss my Sadie Girl so much and my Little Muchkins.... I would be thrilled if the ferry broke down and there was no way off the Island.... imagine that...

We'll have no internet access in Arecibo, so I'm not sure when I'll be able to get back on... If the wind blows correctly tonight, maybe I'll post some pics from our last day!                  

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Day 12 or was it 13? I'm not sure.. but does it really matter.....

Internet access is sporadic here.  It depends on how the wind is blowing.  The past few mornings we didn't have access.  We do right now, so I am going to take advantage and catch up.

Vacations have a purpose, to relax, rejuvenate and to give respite to the hectic pace, crazy worries and stresses of life..  Yesterday (day 12 or 13) we realized this is a successful vacation.   It came to us as we were sitting on the beautiful beach, Playa Tamarindo, on a lost island in the Caribbean discussing how truly beautiful the plumage of the chickens and  the rosters we were watching was.  They were all around.  The four of us found these birds to be remarkable.  The hilarity of the situation hit when Tracy proclaimed that he has been to the NYS Fair and hasn't see any as beautiful there, we were seriously discussing the beauty of chickens that were on the beach with us.  Here are the beautiful birds...

The Birds on Playa Tamarindo

The biggest upset to our day was when a jeep pulled up and 2 people got out.  Now with 7 people on the beach, counting the 4 of us,  it started to feel a bit crowded.  I think we have successfully escaped reality......

A few days earlier, Kosti and I found glass beach.  We are not going to give you the location, because apparently no one knows about it and we want it to stay a secret.  In fact we may call it "secret beach". We've been asking where to find sea glass and have been told there really aren't any good places.  When we were there, no one else was on the beach, and the glass there is better than the glass at Glass Beach on Vieques.... and the glass is good there!

The day before yesterday, we went down to Dewey, had breakfast, (egg & cheese sandwich), and then headed down to our Secret Beach... Picked up lots of beautiful glass. After picking up all the treasures we could possibly want, we headed out to Playa Melones.  Another beautiful beach.....

The really interesting thing about this beautiful beach, as well as a number of others we have spent time on, is that at each location there are signs informing you that it is a "Wildlife Preserve" and you are not to disturb anything.  The last thing the sign points out is, if you are snorkeling and see something like this...

 Stay away, it's an undetonated bomb.  Haven't seen any of those creatures yet!

After our beautiful day on Playa Melones, we decided to spent time exploring roads we have not yet been on. Consider the following: This is a very hilly island.  The roads are for two way traffic. They are only wide enough to fit one car at a time.   Tracy is fearless.  He is driving.

As always we saw some interesting sights.  An 18 wheeler tractor trailer box turned into a house on the side of the road (a cliff actually).  Million dollar homes. Beautiful expansive views of the island, the beaches and the Caribbean.  Then it happens...The road ends,  we have no where to go.  We can't go forward.  We can't turn around.   One side of the road is a higher hill, the other a cliff. I warned Tracy if he planned on backing up down this hilly single lane cliff road, I was getting out and walking....
He did it....started to back up, so....

They thought it was funny....
He made it to a point where he could turn around.  My heart is still pumping,  if I were prone to heart attacks, that would have been the time.

Right now, I want to share with you all that Kosti, as he is figuring out what to make for us for breakfast, pointed out the contents of our freezer...
Our breakfast choices, Rum, Scotch, ice or Ice Cream Cones..

The boys have gone with cereal.... Tracy is working on his next BIG IDEA, and I'm gonna go have my coffee sitting and enjoying the view, the birds, the boys, and the sun

There are other things that have gone on here that have not been included in this blog.  We thought it would be more fun for us to tell you in person! And somethings we may never tell you!  So ask us when you see us!

I miss my pupper, but watched a little dog on the beach dig up a crab and then run into the water trying to catch it!             Until the next time the wind blows the right way!    

Monday, March 7, 2011

The beginning of our second week!

Wow, how time flies.  Only one more week here and then off to Arecibo for a few days.

Yesterday we went over to Culebritta, as you saw from the pictures I posted last night.  It was a beautiful day.  Lots and lots of sun.  We went with Brad, I think I got his name wrong in an earlier post.  Anyway.  Brad lives here 9 months of the year, then goes to Alaska for the summer to fish for 2 months, then he transports yachts from Florida to St. Martin, I think he said.  Very interesting guy.  On our way over to Culebritta, which is a 20 minute boat ride, he said if we saw a whale, we'd go over to see it up close.... boy was I searching for whales... unfortunately there were none to be seen.  Oh well. People have seen whales here since we've been here, maybe there is still time.

Culebritta is beautiful.  Jay didn't make it on this trip, the day before at Zoni, he got the bright idea of oiling up to even out his tan.  People don't learn!!!!!!!!  I haven't switched to oil yet, and I'm pretty dark right now.  I'll probably go to oil tomorrow.  There is a science to this tanning stuff!

As we pulled into shore a cruise ship also pulled in.  We were hoping they were just passing through, but they dropped anchor and sent dingies full of people ashore.  Our next hope was that it was Mark and Maurya's boat, as Tracy and Jay are certain they were sailing out of San Juan.  Then Tracy decided the only thing better then it being Mark and Maurya's boat, would be if it were a gay cruise.

It was neither.  It was a group out of Oslo.  They didn't stay very long, long enough to get a dozen dingies full of passengers to shore, have them walk to the other side to swim and then load them up and leave.

Brad, our guide had to leave us for a while to pick up another crew.  He showed us the way to the light house.  The oldest one in the Caribbean.  It's not in working condition.    He also directed us to Turtuga Beach and told us some spots to go to where there were little "pools' kind of like spas or "baths".    The boys went to the lighthouse, as it was high on a hill and I didn't want to repeat my  Mt. Fuji and Tracy adventure at this time.  I decided to stay on the beach. It was like the beach you see them take "the Bachelor" and one of the last three woman to when they get close to the finally.   It was just breath taking.  When the boys came back, we decided to take the hike over to Turtuga.  I figured I'd lead the way.  It was a single isle if you will, trail.  I felt like I was back at Haccamo as the Nature Head Counselor.  I thought if I kept Tracy behind me, he wouldn't walk at his usual fast pace and leave me in the dust.  He couldn't pass me.  I could tell he was kind a frustrated, but was very kind about having to slow down to my pace.  Tracy lives a fast life.  Right now he's reading Keith Richards Biography.  Hope it doesn't give him any ideas....

When we arrived at Turtuga, it was breath taking.  We weren't sure if it was the right beach or not.  It reminded me of Caracus Beach on Vieques.  Brad said there were turtles here and that the "baths" were over to the right.  It didn't look like the kind of beach where snorkeling would be good, or where there would be turtles.  Brad was suppose to come around to the beach by boat and introduce us to his turtle friends, "Ike and Tina Turtle".    We decided to head to the "baths" to take a look.   As we got halfway to the pools, I had visions of climbing Mt. Fuji with Tracy and Ashley. (guess it was not to be avoided) At one point halfway up Fuji, I decided I would rather die then continue.  It was pure hell on earth.  Or so I thought then.  Ya know, climbing up lava rocks, thousands of feet in the sky, with Tracy!  For as much as this man smokes and as hard as he plays, it does not slow him down.  On Fuji, he was always way ahead of Ashley and me and when he realized we were struggling, he would stop and wait for us to catch up.

Getting to the baths, may not have been a vertical incline,  but, it was rocky and looked to me to be similar lava looking, sharp, pointy rocks as on Fuji.  The difference here is it was 100 degrees at least in the sun with no shade in sight and going in the water was just as rocky.  I decided that this was really hell on earth!!!!!!!  Hot beating sun, a beautiful beach you couldn't get to because of the rocks, walking on jagged lava rocks and Tracy so far ahead of me, then realizing if I slipped I'd and hit my head, he wouldn't know it, and I could die and he would feel terrible.... So he would slow down and either wait or come back to find me.  He finally decided to try to stay at my pace.  Which is almost just as bad, cause I can tell he is bored, or frustrated, but he was being kind and caring, and not evil Dr Phil!  I love Tracy.

We made it to the "baths"... quite a let down.... oh well.  Back to hell on earth part 2!  I did not waste any time, I wanted to get it over with.  When we made it to the beautiful sandy part of the beach, we decided to swim for a while, while waiting for Brad.  We still weren't convinced we were on the right beach.

The cove, beach , bay, whatever was beautiful.  There were a bunch of boats there enjoying the sun and weather and a few cocktails.  Tracy's keen observation skills noticed that there was a particularly large yacht that had a police escort.  We decided it was either the governor or Ricky Martin.  The Yacht's name was "Pure".  So I'm gonna do some research on it, and see if I can find out who it was.
When Brad did  come over on his boat, he started feeding Ike and Tina.  sure enough there were turtles in the  water there.  Absolutely beautiful  He has been feeding them so much, that they will let you swim up to them and pet their shells.

No whales on the way back, although we thought we saw a blow spout.  Couldn't find the whale it was connected to, so perhaps it was just wishful seeing.  It was a great day!  Long day in the sun.  The boys were fried and decided no sun today for them.  Jay has also decided to stay out of the sun for another day.  Looks like it's me and the "deeping pool" today!  It's beautiful, and warm and there is a nice breeze out there.... gonna go now.  I love it when you can walk around in a bathing suit in March!

I miss my pooper, but I have taken every opportunity to pet every dog I see!


Sunday, March 6, 2011

Pictures I can't resist putting up tonight!

Ike & Tina Turtles

What a way to spend a Sunday!

The view from the lighthouse.

Tracy's Back!!!!!!!

Yay!!!!!!!!!!!  He made it back to us to continue our adventures.  While he was gone we did explore the Western tip of the island. The roads were treacherous... I almost had a heart attack on them, kind a scary!  But I made it.  The beaches were beautiful, a little more rocky.  We found a little cove, we think private (the ropes closing it off gave it away) that led to a peaceful, beautiful bay.  The water there was bath water warm.

I have finished book 4, wow exciting, right!

Tracy's trip was fast, long and lots of flying.  He made it back to us yesterday at about 9:30am.  After a little snooze, we headed out to Zoni Beach.  (Maurya, "our favorite").  Zoni is by far my favorite.  I was able to use my floatie, which until yesterday only made it into the "deeping pool".  Once you passed the rocky part, it was smooth floating!  Very nice!   I had these HUGE fish swimming with me....

They looked bigger when they were swimming next to me!

Last night we went out to Mamasitta's for dinner and to listen to Wiki play.  It was fun.  We ran into Jane and George.  We have been doing a really good job using water wisely.  We were worried!  We have only used about 300 gallons so far.  The average family in the US uses about 100 gallons a day per person.   No,  we're not stinking, but we are being very conservative!  We're learning a lot of ways to conserve water.  Kind of an adventure with water.

Anyway, today we are off to Culebritta Island.  Can't wait!  More pics...

Zoni Beaxh!

We came upon Leatherback nesting grounds... you should see their trails in the sand.
These things are huge!

Local Beach Art

I sure hope someone is walking my Sadie Girl!  I miss her so.....  Check back tomorrow, there is sure to be adventure stories from Culebritta!  


Friday, March 4, 2011

Thursday pics!

Some of Kosti's underwater pics...


No clue?

Tracy is in Jersey Today...

So, Tracy left us for a few days to head back up north for a meeting.  Bummer for him.  Let's see... yesterday as you saw was Turtle Thursday.  Very cool!  So the day before was Wednesday...  Pretty good that I still remember the days of the week, isn't it?!  

By Wednesday morning, we were all exhausted.   (Couldn't be that the boys stayed up all night to watch Wednesday dawn!)  So we did nothing.  I am on my 4th book.  Boring 86 degree days in the shade.
I did discover that if I get in my floatie in the "deeping pool" and shut my eyes and float, I feel like I am in a real pool!  So much fun.. (Although you don't go anywhere, just stay in the same place.)

I still haven't gotten used to our driveway.... now with Tracy gone, Kosti has taken over the driving.  I make him turn the car around at the top of the driveway before I"ll get in.  Poor Kosti, I'm being such a terribly annoying backseat driver.  

Jay and I did go on a date, to "Susie's" for dinner.  Food was great.   I've decided that you can't go out to eat and be starving, or really hungry.  While the food has been great everywhere.... the scenery beautiful, the people sooo very nice and friendly...... service is on Island Time.  

Yesterday we spent on Tomarando Beach again....  no rain this time...
Today is laundry day   Jay is going to do laundry while Kosti and I go Boutique shopping.  
We did meet MJ from "Island Woman's Culebra's" blog.  Now I have to see if we made it into her blog???  (one of my goals for the trip).  She has a little shop/cart that hours read, "somedays open, some days not".

The weather has calmed down a bit. It's not quite as windy up here at Brisas as when we first arrived.  Now it really is a really nice cooling breeze in the sun!

I miss my pooper needless to say.  The boys just got up,  gotta go have my coffee now.


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Lazy crazy daze....

What is there to say?  Heaven...

Tracy & Jay at "da bar"

The only gas station on the Island.
Don't get jealous.. that would be 96 cents per liter.
...and they're out of gas today...

Straight from the Beach.
Mr & Mrs Cruz

Papi & Kosti

Tracy & I midway through the night... still not home yet to clean up from a day at the Beach....

Tracy & Kosti's Great Big Adventure...

A few things to know about this Island.  First, it was a place the US Navy practiced their bombing skills up until 1975.  That is when they cleared out of here.  (the Navy, not necessarily the bombs).  Second, there is a strictly enforced law here, everyone must wear shirts unless you are actually on a beach.

Now to the boys great big adventure....  We went back to Tamarindo Beach yesterday for the boys to snorkel.  The day before they went to the center and to the left.  We have been told the snorkeling to the right (referring to the pictures posted yesterday) is spectacular.  We got to the beach set up our little "home base" and off they went.  They (Tracy & Kosti, aka "the boys")  decided to walk 3/4's of the way around. There they left their shoes and snorkel gear covers to begin their adventure.  I'm not sure what time it was, as we have lost all track of that concept.  Jay and I watched them enter the water, (we like to keep an eye on them to make sure they are safe).  We were able to track them for a while.  Eventually we couldn't spot them anywhere.  At that point Jay suggested we come up with some type of radar homing device so we would know where they are at all times in the water.  It started to rain a little, drizzle, they need it here, not bad, still paradise.  Anyhow, after hours and hours later what seemed like forever, Kosti comes running from where our car is parked, behind us, not from where they entered the water.  He didn't stop to talk, just ran, grabbed something and ran back towards where the vehicles park.  Jay and I were a little worried as we didn't see Tracy anywhere.  Within a few minutes they returned to us.  By this time the drizzle has turned to out and out rain.  I built a little kids fort with our towels using tree branches to try to stay dry.  Why?  I don't know, it was fun?

The adventure.... they began snorkeling, following turtles and such and after a few hours of just swimming and not paying attention to where they were, they ended up around the peninsula at another beach altogether that you can't drive to, but have to hike to.  At this point they were to tired to try to swim back so they figured they would try to walk.  They began into the woods.  (Maurya, think the woods or machetti man?).  Here they are in trunks, (well Kosti's is more like a speedo with 1 inch legs... don't go ewwww, he has the body for it and youth) no shoes, shirts etc and only their snorkel gear with them.
They eventually come to a gate they can slip through, they squeeze through it to get to the other side and realized the sign said, "danger, do not enter, undetonated bomb  area".  Can you see the headline? "American and  Russian Detonate bombs on Caribbean Island"
They made it through (thank you God) the bomb area without causing harm to themselves or the Island, only to find themselves at Flamenco Beach.  A good distance from where Jay and I are.  They came out to the area where you have to wear shirts and were immediately told so.  They had to explain themselves and then beg a taxi driver to trust them and bring them over to where we're at Tamarindo so they could get their money and pay the fare.  The taxi's here are actually the size of the "special school buses" and carry a load of passengers each trip.  When the driver finally said yes, and they sat down, the other passengers on the bus took up a collection to pay their fare.  For those of us who know Tracy, isn't that the funniest thing?  They politely thanked everyone and explained they really do have money to pay at Tamarindo.  Hence Kosti running and Tracy being held as collateral.  And  so the rain continued.  They really need it here, they haven't had rain since August and that's the Island's main source of fresh water.  When we get home and you see Tracy, you really need to ask him about the adventure.  He tells it much better, I just gave a quick overview.  It really is funny hearing him tell it!
The boys were starving from their long swim and hike so on the way home we decided to stop at KoKoMos to eat.  So now I need to clear up a mistake I made in a previous post.  KoKoMo's is the hotel above "The Sandbar", "da bar" which houses the restaurant, "Juanita Bananas" next door to the bakery.  All which Mike owns.  Mike is still on the main Island, but Jenna was there and it was like old home night.  Met lots of people. People who live on the Island, people who were on vacation, or  visiting for a day and people who were just waiting for the ferry to take them back to the main Island.  We met an older couple, Janet, and I can't remember her husband's name.  She's in her late 70's and he's 87.  Cute little couple.  Retired  now.  Janet and I chatted for quite a while.  Turns out she is from NYC and used to teach at a Community College,  guess what she taught?  You got it!  Developmental studies.  What are the chances?  I am sure if we searched there would be less than 6 degrees of separation between us.  It was a good night all in all.  And somehow the 11pm ordinance of all bars have to close by 11pm has not effected us.
The sun is high right now... and we're ready for a new day!  I miss my Sadie Girl very very much!!!!!!!!!! But I love my Jay Cruz more!!!!!!!!!


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Photo's today....

Our morning coffee spot on our deck.  

Enjoying the "deeping pool".  Kosti wants me to point out that I made him get in the "deeping pool".  He was enjoying so, that I did eventually join him.

Tamarindo Beach.  Turtle sightings.  If you look real closely, you can see the boys snorkeling in the distance. (not really, use your imagination).

Views from the top of "Hendershott Hill"

The Aero Port!  That is the whole runway that Tracy will be flying out on this Thursday!

From the top of Hendershott Hill, Vieques in the very very distance!