This has been a great week! So much for our sailing adventure. Looks like we’re Puerto Rican locals now. OK, so there’s lots of room for improvement with our Spanish speaking but we are getting better and its fun. Uncle Joey joined us last week. We took the entire day to visit Old San Juan, a true gem of a city. Tight streets with old facades in various states of restoration and decay. Balconies reminiscent of New Orleans and Charleston, incredible food and more of the friendliest people we have met yet. We let the kids loose on the enormous lawn out front of the iconic El Morro fort. As they ran up and down the hill underneath the multitude of kites flying the kids were immersed in a rich and bloody history whether they knew it or not. The first tower of the fort was completed in the 1540’s and signs on the lawn detailed battles and skirmishes that had taken place under our feet where hundreds of Dutch and Spanish soldiers had fallen. Inside the fort has been meticulously restored and maintained. We explored the towers, famous sentry posts and down deep to the original fort and the water defenses. The views are spectacular of the ocean, metro San Juan and the harbor. The children mauled the gift shop leaving with history books, Quinn’s real brass cannon replica and Gherty’s Spanish coins as souvenirs. A typical tourist adventure but a special day for us.
Uncle Joey came hobbling out of the airport after dark with the countenance of someone desperately in need of a vacation. 6 deep into the Kia for an hour and a half ride back to Isabela. So Joe could have some space of his own we’ve stuffed one of the twin beds into the guest room with the queen and all 3 kids are piled like puppies at night arguing happily and reading like mad.
In the last week I can confidently say we have dug deep into the North and West sides of PR. Since the Rio Camuy Cavernas we have spent a day at a multi tiered waterfall and rope swing climbing, cliff jumping, swinging, boulder hopping and swimming in clean cool water with crowds of locals that would be overwhelming and contentious were they not Puerto Ricans happy to share their wonders with their blindingly white (when our shirts are off) newcomers. I’ve nicknamed Quinn “Blancito” which translates loosely to “little whitey” since he is very easy to spot shirtless in a crowd down here. He’s not sure if he thinks that is funny or not.
A great day at the famous northwest coast surfing town of Rincon got us in touch with Joe’s old friend and surf competition rival from the New Jersey days 30 years a go Mitch Leonard. Mitch is a chef at a beautiful beachfront inn and restaurant and a long time local. Joe said he nearly went pro in his heyday. Mitch enthusiastically made our whole family lunch and then took us on a tour of all of the famous surf spots along the coast, introduced us to the locals and accepted a few rounds of drinks in return. Joey leaves tomorrow so Mitch has offered to host us again today in Rincon so he can give our kids private surfing lessons! Not bad. Needless to say Gherty and Quinn are properly stoked. We’ll see about Che – not his first instinct to go surfing – we’ll bring a book as backup but I really hope he’ll give it a shot.
We’ve checked out the towns of Aguadilla, Mayaguez, Cabo Rojo and Puerto Real. We beached it up at Montones and Jobos Beach. All in all I’d say we’re getting the hang of this. I bought a hat and even grew a moustache (for a day). I shaved it off and when the children noticed it was gone I told them they had misbehaved so badly that my moustache fell off….after briefly looking for it in my lap they informed me that I was joking.
Joey leaves tomorrow so we’ll spend another day in San Juan. Then it’s a few more days in Isablea and off to the East (este) coast. MG is nearly half way here. I am enjoying PR immensely but am also getting very antsy to see my boat and our next stops look to be amazing.
Big waves and wind here yesterday as INVEST97, a potential LO and forecasted possible hurricane passed to our south. “The prudent mariner abides” and “tis the season” are quotes that continue to ring true more and more. If you’re going to be stuck, and I would not classify this as stuck, what a way to go.
Stay tuned. Much love.