Sunday, June 30, 2013

SCUBA and snorkeling

It's been a strange summer for weather. The trade winds have been howling like it's wintertime. Seriously, the winds have been like January and February when the kitesurfers come out. The local kitesurfers are loving it!

All that wind has kept the North Shore pretty churned up. It's only been in the last week that we've really been able to snorkel and dive here on the north side. We finally got to got to the outside at
Shacks for the first time in months!

We're making the most of the opportunity.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Mega-moon (not)

My kinda half-hearted attempt to photograph this week's "mega-moon" wasn't very successful. I did a much better job capturing this full-moon-like brain coral while snorkeling on our reef.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Super low tides

I'm guessing it's because of it is the summer solstice and the "super full moon" this week. Whatever the reason(s), we are having super super low tides. Coral heads that are never visible are sticking up out of the water. 

These beachrock formations are usually at least partially covered with water. Compare the photo above, taken at low tide yesterday with this one, taken ten days ago.

This is the same beachrock formation it "normally" appears. 

I have KAPped this stretch of beach many times in our years here, partly to capture just such changes in the beach. The sand fills in and washes out different areas of the beach. For example, sometimes the tide pool is just behind (to the left of) that dominant beachrock in the center foreground. Now, as you can see, sand has filled that in and the pool has "moved" west beyond the next rock. 

The sand moves a lot at other beaches as well. Right now, one of our favorite dive sites, Natural, and one of our favorite snorkel sites, Wishing Well, have lots of sand pushed into the beach. We like that. It makes getting in and out easy. When the sand washes out, the exposed rocks are much trickier to navigate, especially in full SCUBA gear.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


Sunset tonight was absolutely stunning!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Fathers' Day (and my birthday)

Yesterday we celebrated Fathers' Day and my birthday by hosting the first-ever Ola Lola's Cigar Lounge.

Working with our friend Wilo from the Cigar Chalet we had a fine selection of hand-rolled Puerto Rican cigars to go with a special selection of craft beers and artisanal rum, bourbon and tequila.

Of course there was cake and a bit of celebration. If anyone is wondering, I started my 63rd trip around the sun - I turned 62.

Thanks to everyone who came out and joined us. It was a lot of fun. Special thanks to Wilo from Cigar Chalet, our own Pepe who helped set up the event, Pepe and Albert who did their absolute best to keep me from working on my birthday, and of course to mi querida, mi dushi, mi amor, Elane, first just for being here and second for always making my life a party.

Friday, June 14, 2013

More KAP

After more tweaking I think I finally have my KAP rig tuned the way I want it. I took in out yesterday afternoon. to try it out.

The wind was really blowing hard and gusty so the kite and the camera were bouncing quite a bit. The rig itself actually worked well. I'm also still learning the new camera, what it "sees," angle of view, etc. I only got a few photos I was happy with out of this session.

Now that the rig is working again, there are more places I want to KAP other than just here on the beach at Shacks and Bajuras. However, one of the things I'm trying to do here on "our" beach is document the shifting sands. The beach moves all the time, sometimes filling in one part of the tide pool, sometimes revealing other parts. It is an endless and fascinating process, something I keep trying to capture. That's part of why I go back to our beach over and over.

That, and the fact that it is so convenient.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Flowers in our garden

Summer is always a quieter time at Ola Lola's.

It's been a weird summer so far. It seems business is a bit slower than past summer, not just at Ola Lola's but everywhere. There really hasn't been any summer surf but it's been very windy, like January/February-when-the-kite-surfers-are-here kind of windy. In fact a few kiters have come back for a week or a long weekend just to catch some of the wind.

All this wind has the ocean pretty choppy, especially here on the north side. Around the corner at Crashboat, Natural, Rompeolas, etc., the afternoon rains make visibility iffy. So diving
has been spotty so far this summer. There are a couple of new places we want to dive - Playa Pastillo and the Wall at Rincon - but we're waiting for it to settle down and hopefully clear up a bit.

All that said, it's still beautiful. And Ola Lola's is a garden bar. Here are a few treats from our garden.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Check back

If you looked at the last two posts, Monday adventure part 2 especially, and they seemed incomplete, it's because they were incomplete. Either by my error or through something in the blogger software, both were published before I was ready. Take a moment to check back and read the completed versions.

Thanks! And thanks for reading!

Desecheo dive


I have been jonesing for a Desecheo dive. I finally got a fix on Sunday.

Desecheo is a small, uninhabited island about 14 miles off the west coast of Puerto Rico. There are several things that make diving Desecheo different from our usual dives.

First, obviously, it is a boat dive - you need a boat to get there. All of our local dives are shore dives where we just drive to a site and walk in right from the shore.

Then there is the water itself. On the boat ride out you can tell when you cross from the Atlantic into the Caribbean. It is almost as if someone drew a line in the ocean. The water turns from green to blue, a deep deep sapphire blue.

And the visibility: 

On an okay day at Desecheo the visibility is 70 or 80 feet. On a good day it's over a hundred feet.It was okay on Sunday.

Finally, there is the sea life. Because the entire island and the surrounding waters are a protected wildlife area, the reef and the fish are healthy. There are more fish and especially bigger fish. Since they can't be caught or speared, they live to grow to their full size. Since people can't just drive to the island, the reefs don't get trampled on. 

As boat dives go, Desecheo is a good one for me. Mostly of the anchorages are on the lee (protected) side of the island. I get seasick and sitting around on a corkscrewing boat getting ready for the first dive or between dives in just miserable for me. I love having the boat anchored in lee of the island.

There are a number of different dive sites around the island and Sunday we got to dive a couple of sites I've not been to before. The last area, close to the island, was through channels and canyons in the coral reef. At one point, swimming into one of the canyons, we swam over the wreckage of a Navy PT boat. I didn't even know there was a wreck out there!

Every so often I just have to do a Desecheo dive. I hope the next one will be sooner rather than later.

The rest of the photos are up on our Flickr page if you'd like to have a look.